Indiana Government Actions on COVID-19 – Updated 3/30/2020
HeplerBroom understands how staying abreast of the latest developments related to COVID-19 is important to your business and planning for the future. We have assembled some of Indiana’s additional executive, legislative, and regulatory actions related to COVID-19 that may affect you and summarized them below.
- On March 26, 2020, Governor Holcomb signed a new executive order for further provisions for helping citizens of Indiana during COVID-19. These provisions, in an effort to further the state’s assistance, are directed to different government agencies. To access the executive order in its entirety, or for further information, visit https://www.in.gov/gov/files/EO_20-12_Further_Directives_Helping_Hoosiers.pdf.
- First, the executive order states that the Department of Workforce Development (“DWD”) is to suspend the statutory requirement of a one-week waiting period before paying unemployment benefits. This suspension will allow the many citizens who are now out of work because of COVID-19 to immediately file for unemployment benefits and hopefully lessen the impact.
- Second, the Indiana State Department of Health (“ISDH”) is to waive statutory provisions restricting the release of communicable disease information. By allowing ISDH to release this information, it can quickly be submitted to the Indiana Network for Patient Care to allow further research on COVID-19.
- Third, the executive order directs multiple changes to the Family and Social Services Administration (“FSSA”). For example, the order waives the time and sibling requirements for home-based child care providers to allow increased care to be provided to school age children. With a number of schools closed and many parents still expected to work, this waiver will open more child care facilities. The order further waives other provisions, or gives additional authorization, related to the Medicaid program, meal services, supported living, and state-mandated educational assessments.
- Fourth, the executive order directs the Professional Licensing Agency (“PLA”) to make many changes regarding codes related to pharmacists. For example, PLA is directed to suspend the requirement of a 1:6 ratio of pharmacist to pharmacy technicians and authorize a ratio of 1:8. This change will allow additional help in the data entry of prescription medicine and insurance processing needed for COVID-19 patients. The order also suspends the requirements of direct supervision of a pharmacist over a pharmacy technician for the limited purpose of allowing a technician to work remotely for data entry, insurance processing, and other non-dispensing tasks. The order further allows for a one-time 90-day emergency refill for opioids and permits prescribing opioids via telemedicine, but only for patients with specific conditions.
- Finally, the order directs changes to the Department of Local Government Finance (“DLGF”). First, the order calls for a suspension of the deadline for establishing a fire protection territory. Second, the order calls for a suspension of the deadline for submitting property tax exemption applications. Third, the order calls for a suspension of the deadline for establishing or re-establishing a cumulative fund. These changes show a recognition for social distancing and an entity’s ability to meet certain deadlines.
A public emergency such as the one we are experiencing with COVID-19 is unlike anything any of us has ever experienced. In an effort to continue to keep citizens safe, Indiana has also worked to keep many businesses and services running. Like many, HeplerBroom attorneys are diligently working from their homes to keep both clients and the community at large updated as to executive, legislative, and regulatory actions in the midst of COVID-19.