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Attorney general proposes relaxing licensing regulations amid coronavirus pandemic


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Attorney General Eric Schmitt has announced a statewide effort to lessen regulations that could prevent health care workers from helping amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Schmitt sent a letter to various state boards and commissions Thursday requesting they reevaluate current regulations that could hold professionals back from dealing with the crisis. 

“The last thing our health care professionals should worry about as they bravely fight the spread of COVID-19 is unnecessary regulations or licensure issues,” Schmitt said in the announcement. “Inactive health care workers are sometimes blocked by regulations when attempting to help in this fight, and current health care workers shouldn’t be burdened by licensure deadlines or education coursework when they should be focused on patient care.”

The letter identified three key areas of issue: licensing and education requirements taking the focus and attention of health care workers away from the crisis at hand, preventing retired or inactive workers from assisting, and deadlines that may not be able to be met. 

The attorney general has the authority to waive prosecution on administrative issues that relate to compliance issues that are difficult or impossible to uphold in a crisis such as COVID-19. Schmitt’s initiative is adding his voice to Gov. Mike Parson’s recognition of the issue. 

This announcement comes just days after Parson signed an executive order allowing executive agencies to waive or suspend certain regulations while attempting to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. 

Additionally, a related House bill made progress in a Senate committee before the Capitol shuttered. HB 2046, sponsored by Rep. Derek Grier, would allow workers licensed in other states to apply Missouri equivalent by reciprocity, assuming the applicant had held that license for a year and was in good standing. 

More than 500 Missourians have tested positive for coronavirus this month alone. Parson has declared a state of emergency and requested a federal disaster declaration. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.