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State hopes emergency order will help fill need for more medical personnel

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BATON ROUGE - Doctors in Louisiana are feeling the shortage of medical personnel needed during the global pandemic. Now, the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners is taking action.

There is an increasing desperation for health care workers at hospitals across Louisiana.

More than 5,200 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state Tuesday afternoon.
With a heightened need for help with these patients, the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners is stepping in to help relieve the problem. 

"This is an emergency rule that modifies our existing rules to accommodate some of the changes that the board felt were necessary to provide physicians in a time of crisis," said Doctor Vincent Culotta, executive director of the Louisiana State Board. 

Dr. Culotta says the temporary amendments to the rules for obtaining a state medical license is a step closer to getting physicians the help they need. 

"We felt that this would be another way to add physicians at a time when communities, especially in rural Louisiana, need help."

Tuesday, Governor John Bel Edwards suspended licensure laws, rules, and regulations for health care workers in and out of state, allowing more doctors to assist with COVID-19 patients at hospitals. 

Doctor Culotta says though Louisiana is one step closer to expanding their capacity at hospitals, the challenge doesn't stop there. 

"We need equipment, we need supplies, we need physicians, we need nurses we need respiratory therapists... We need all kinds of people to help out in this critical time. We need everybody in the hospital environment to help us because hospitals are being stretched to the breaking point."

Dr. Culotta says the declaration of emergency rules took affect this week, and will be in place through the duration of the coronavirus crisis."

You can find more details on the declaration here:
https://www.doa.la.gov/osr/EMR/2020/2004EMR024.pdf

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