COVID-19

The global spread of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.  

The OMB’s mission of protecting Oregonians and ensuring access to care is even more critical during this public health emergency.  We are working hard to be part of the solution in this time of great need. The following COVID-19 information is provided on this webpage to assist Oregon Medical Board licensees.

Increasing Physician/PA Workforce

Preserving PPE and Prohibition on Non-Urgent Procedures

Inappropriate Hydroxychloroquine Prescribing

COVID-19 Emergency Response Opportunities

Malpractice Coverage

Oregon COVID-19 Webinar Series

Telemedicine, Billing, and HIPAA

Public Health Reporting

Physician Assistant 8-Hour On-Site Supervision

Respiratory Therapist Licensure

Medical Office Closures

Continuing Education Requirements

AMA: Ethical Obligations of Physicians

Additional Resources


Increasing Physician/PA Workforce

The Oregon Medical Board has taken emergency action to increase the physician/PA workforce in Oregon.  These provisions were adopted in a temporary rule, which is effective now.  Review the rule language here: OAR 847-010-0068. 

Three efforts to increase our physician and PA workforce:

  1. Emeritus and Locum Tenens physicians and PAs – current administrative restrictions are lifted during this emergency.

    1. ​Emeritus licensees are no longer restricted to volunteer practice only.  During this emergency, they may receive payment for their medical care.  

    2. Locum Tenens licensees are no longer limited to 240 days/biennium of practice in Oregon.  During this emergency, they may practice indefinitely in our state.  

  2.  Administrative Medicine/Inactive/Lapsed/Retired physicians and PAs – a new expedited reactivation process is in place during this emergency.

    1. To qualify, a licensee must have been in active clinical practice within the previous three years and must have been in good standing at the time the Oregon license status became Administrative Medicine, Inactive, Lapsed, or Retired.

    2. To apply, submit the Emergency Reactivation Application and supplemental materials.

  3. Out-of-state physicians and PAs coming into Oregon.

    1. To qualify, an out-of-state physician or PA must be actively licensed and in good standing in another state.

    2. To apply, submit the Emergency Authorization Application and supplemental materials. 

Note: ​Any restrictions or requirements placed on a licensee through a Board Order or Agreement remain in effect during the emergency.


Preserving PPE & Prohibition on Elective and Non-Urgent Procedures

On March 18, Governor Kate Brown directed all Oregon hospitals, outpatient clinics, and health care providers, including veterinarians and dentists, to cease all non-emergency procedures in order to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) such as surgical masks, gowns, and gloves for health care workers treating COVID-19 patients. This measure also reduces unnecessary​ instances of close contact. Review the Governor's Executive Order No. 20-10.

Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Elective and Non-Urgent Health Care Procedures: In accordance with Executive Order No. 20-10, elective and non-urgent procedures can be rescheduled for no earlier than June 15, 2020. This decision was not made lightly, and the Governor recognizes the implications for the health care systems and the financial repercussions. However, this action is necessary given anticipated surges in health care need due to COVID-19, and the importance of preserving scarce PPE and other health care resources such as hospital beds and ventilators for situations in which it is most needed. Click here for the full details of the interim guidance.

Can you donate PPE?  With the current shortage of PPE, medical professionals, dentists, veterinarians, contractors, electricians, and other professionals and businesses are asked to donate PPE to support Oregon's supply during this critical need.  Please contact the Oregon PPE coordinator at 971-900-9952 to arrange donations.

Please note the OMB is unable to provide guidance regarding this order. Please direct all questions to the OHA at  COVID.19@dhsoha.state.or.us.


COVID-19 Emergency Response Volunteer Opportunities

The State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon (SERV-OR) is calling for licensed health care professionals to sign up, train, and deploy in support of the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

For more information, visit the OMB’s Volunteer for Public Emergencies​ page. To register with SERV-OR, click here​. If you have questions or need technical assistance, contact SERV.OR@dhsoha.state.or.us.


Inappropriate Hydroxychloroquine Prescribing

The Board has received reports from pharmacies regarding physicians inappropriately prescribing hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). The Board does not approve of inappropriate or false prescribing, especially in times of crisis.

On March 25, the Board of Pharmacy filed the following temporary emergency rule:

  • 855-007-0085​: Prescriptions for Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
    This temporary emergency rule prohibits the dispensing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for presumptive treatment or prevention of COVID-19 infection to preserve supplies for treatment of malaria, inflammatory conditions, and documented COVID-19 infection in hospitalized patients.

Further, the Medical Board and the Board of Pharmacy provide the following reminders of some of the risks related to administering unproven therapies:

  • Creating the risk of adverse effects and additional harm.
  • Creating shortages of therapies for patients who have legitimate medical need for the drug's intended purpose and use.
  • Confounding the interpretation of efficacy (particularly when randomized controlled studies are necessary and are currently underway).
  • Providing false hope to patients or a false sense of security.


Malpractice Coverage

The Oregon Medical Board is unable to advise licensees on which type of malpractice insurance coverage to carry during this time. Please contact an insurance provider for questions about malpractice insurance coverage. 

The Liability Limitation for Volunteer Services Program is provided by Oregon law to limit the liability for health practitioners who provide services without compensation. The program is not a substitute for insurance coverage; rather Oregon law (ORS 676.340-676.345) limits the liability for health practitioners who meet the requirements of the program and have registered with the Board. Program requirements and patient notice forms are available on the Liability Limitation Program​ page.


Oregon COVID-19 Webinar Series

The Oregon ECHO Network, the OHA, and County Public Health Officials are hosting a series of weekly interactive virtual sessions about the COVID-19 virus and the Oregon health care community’s response. 

In these sessions, a panel of specialists, including public health experts, clinicians, and epidemiologists, will provide the latest information on the best practices in clinical management, clinical practice safety, testing, and the community public health response, as well as share up-to-date knowledge and answer questions. Clinicians will also have an opportunity to present their own COVID-19 cases for discussion and recommendations.

Sessions will take place on Thursdays from 12 – 1:30 p.m. All Oregon clinicians are encouraged to register here. You may also register at connect.oregonechonetwork.org or by emailing the Oregon ECHO Network at oen@ohsu.edu.

To connect, visit: zoom.us/j/575366462


Telemedicine Information

Physicians and PAs with an active status license to practice medicine in Oregon may provide care via telemedicine to their Oregon patients. Out-of-state physicians with a telemedicine license may provide remote care to their Oregon patients*. For more information regarding telemedicine rules and licensure qualifications in Oregon, please visit our website.

Billing

  • If you have questions or concerns about billing for telemedicine appointments, visit the Department of Financial Regulation’s (DFR) Coronavirus Insurance Information Page, available here. Please note that the Board is not able to assist with insurance billing issues – all inquiries will be directed to the DFR.
  • The Oregon Health Authority has announced the following temporary administrative rule changes for Medical Assistance Program reimbursement:
    • OAR 410-130-0610: Amends telemedicine rule to align with updated practice guidelines and reduce barriers for evaluation and management of care by telemedicine during an infectious disease outbreak
    • OAR 410-141-3830: Updates to the prioritized list of covered health services to improve access to telehealth
    • You can also view all recent temporary rulemaking notices here​.
  • For the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, or until otherwise directed by the directors of the Department of Consumer and Business Services and the Oregon Health Authority, the state of Oregon expects health plans of all types to provide increased access to health care services through telehealth delivery platforms and to encourage patients to use telehealth delivery options to limit the amount of in-person health care they seek. This includes commercial health plans regulated by DCBS and Medicaid health plans regulated by OHA. Click here​ for full details. 
  • The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new guidelines authorizing Medicare payment for telehealth services regardless of the patient's location (at a facility or in their home).
  • The accompanying fact sheet includes information on which providers may provide telehealth services during the public health emergency (see Question #6). 

HIPAA Compliance

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it will not impose penalties for noncompliance with HIPAA regulatory requirements if health care providers provided telehealth in good faith during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.
  • The OMB is unable to provide guidance on how to set up a telemedicine practice. You may wish to consult your technology staff or your legal counsel to ensure you are in compliance with federal regulations.​

Policy Changes and Temporary Rulemaking

Prescribing Opioids via Telehealth

Per new clarification from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), health care professionals can now prescribe a controlled substance to a patient using telehealth technology without first conducting an in-person evaluation if the following conditions are met:

  • ​The prescription is issued for a legitimate medical purpose by a practitioner acting in the usual course of their professional practice.
  • The telemedicine communication is conducted using an audio-visual, real-time, two-way interactive communication system.
  • The practitioner is acting in accordance with applicable Federal and State law.
For more details and information, click here. 

*Note: Out-of-state Licensees who hold an active license at telemedicine status have the same duties and responsibilities and are subject to the same penalties and sanctions as any other licensed physician in Oregon. Physicians with telemedicine status in Oregon may not act as a dispensing physician, treat a patient for intractable pain, act as a supervising physician of a licensed physician assistant or an Oregon-certified First Responder or Emergency Medical Technician.


Public Health Reporting

OHA has adopted temporary rules to add a definition of COVID-19, add COVID-19 to the list of diseases reportable to public health authorities within 24 hours, and exclusions for COVID-19 at schools, children's facilities, food service facilities, and health care facilities. Please see OHA’s Emergency Rule: COVID-19 webpage for additional information.​

Please visit OHA's COVID-19 web page — healthoregon.org/coronavirus — for more information and updates. Click here for OHA's COVID-19 Health Care Partner Resources page.

Licensees with COVID-19 exposure questions or concerns should contact the OHA Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section at 971-673-1111.


Physician Assistant 8-Hour On-Site Supervision

The OMB is waiving the requirement for 8 hours of on-site supervision of physician assistants for the months in which Oregon is under a declared state of emergency. Supervising physicians do not need to submit a letter requesting the waiver during this emergency.


Respiratory Therapists Licensed in Other States

Since the declaration of a state of emergency, OHA's Health Licensing Office has received inquiries regarding out-of-state respiratory therapists mobilizing to Oregon to assist with the COVID-19 outbreak.

In accordance with ORS 676.568(1)(o) and OAR 331-030-0025 the Office has authority to issue authorizations to individuals authorized to practice respiratory therapy in another state if the Governor of Oregon declares a state of emergency.

Respiratory therapists from out-of-state who have been requested to provide respiratory therapist services in Oregon due to the Governor declared state of emergency must send specific information to HLO. 

Click here​ for more information.


Medical Office Closures

​The OMB is unable to provide guidance to licensees regarding office closures. Please closely and carefully monitor the situation and make an informed decision on behalf of your patients, your staff, and yourself. Visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus for the latest updates and guidance​.

Continuing Education Requirements

The Oregon Medical Board will continue monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on our licensee's ability to complete continuing education courses. Please review additional continuing education information here.

AMA: Ethical Obligation of Physicians

From OMB Medical Director Dr. David Farris: Do OMB licensees have an ethical obligation to be involved in the COVID-19 pandemic? The American Medical Association says yes. Click here​ to read why.

Additional Resources

Free UpToDate COVID-19 Content:



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