Alabama declares State of Emergency to 'cut red tape' for front line medical staff amid COVID surge
Updated: Oct 28, 2021
Early this morning, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a limited, narrowly-focused state of emergency in an effort to "support Alabama’s front line heroes" and "cut red tape" amidst the state's recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
According to the governor's office, the proclamation will "allow [Alabama's] health care community greater flexibility to offer care for patients coming through their doors."
The proclamation spans six pages and rolls back many of the personnel-related requirements that are normally standard operating procedures at many hospitals and medical clinics. For instance, under the governor's proclamation, medical professionals can be easily reassigned according to demand. Under normal circumstances, organizations and facilities that provide healthcare must observe strict guidelines regarding the assignment of caregiving staff members. The state of emergency proclamation also empowers Alabama's medical regulatory agencies to loosen restrictions for out-of-state physicians who may need to work in-state.
Governor Ivey also issued the following statement:
“I am really proud that over the last month, Alabama has seen more than a 100% increase — the highest in the country — in COVID-19 vaccines being administered. We owe those who have gotten the vaccine a tremendous debt of gratitude. No doubt, this will soon move us in the right direction, but at the current time, we also need to offer our front line heroes — who are unfortunately treating a new wave of patients in Alabama’s hospitals — a helping hand as they put it all on the line to take care of our people.
“That is exactly what we are doing in issuing this limited, narrowly-focused state of emergency. I want to be abundantly clear: there will be absolutely no statewide mandates, closures or the like. This state of emergency is strategically targeted at removing bureaucracy and cutting red tape wherever we can to allow our doctors, nurses and hospital staff to treat patients that come through their doors.
“Let me be crystal clear: Alabama remains open for business. Alabamians do not need government telling us what to do or how to do it. Unlike last year when we were hoping for a miracle, our greatest weapon against covid-19 today is the vaccine, so, if you can, roll up your sleeve and get the shot.” – Governor Kay Ivey
From the Governor's Office
For your background:
This emergency proclamation is aimed at easing burdens on health care providers and making government more responsive.
Easing burdens on healthcare providers: The proclamation will relax regulatory burdens to allow expanded capacity in healthcare facilities, additional liability protections, increased authority for frontline health care personnel and easier shipment of emergency equipment and supplies.
Making government more responsive: The proclamation will enable government, at all levels, to adapt to the COVID-19 surge. For example, one provision will allow expedited purchases of emergency-related equipment, while another will allow governmental bodies to meet remotely, subject to transparency rules.
The limited, narrowly-focused state of emergency is effective immediately and is not accompanied by a public health order. The proclamation, in full, is attached below.