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April 2020

New Mexico COVID-19 Update: Personal Protective Equipment Restrictions and Access and Staffing Certain Canadian Nurses

April 7, 2020

As of April 3, 2020, New Mexico reported a total of 495 COVID-19 cases, 41 hospitalizations, and 10 deaths.

In the last 10 days, New Mexico has taken various steps to ration and improve access to personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as provide health care providers with additional nursing staffing options.

On March 24, 2020, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) issued an order temporarily regulating the sale and distribution of PPE due to shortages caused by COVID-19. For purposes of the order, PPE includes gloves, medical masks, goggles, a face shield, or other eye protection used by health care providers, respirators (N95 or FFP2 standard or equivalent), and aprons used by health care providers. Pursuant to the order, no health care provider or wholesale medical supplier in New Mexico may reduce its inventory of PPE by selling, allocating, or otherwise distributing it, either within New Mexico or outside of New Mexico, without prior approval from the NMDOH. Limited over-the-counter sales to individuals are permitted. Each healthcare provider and wholesale medical supplier in New Mexico must report its PPE inventory to NMDOH. Any person who willfully violates the order may be subject to civil administrative penalties, including fines of up to $5,000 per violation, in additional to other civil or criminal penalties.

Related to the reporting requirements in the order, NMDOH has established a Provider Portal which allows providers to list their screening locations, report on shortages of PPE and daily screenings.

Shortly thereafter, on March 27, 2020, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued Executive Order 2020-14. It orders the Department of Finance and Administration to disburse emergency and disaster relief funds in an amount not to exceed $20,000,000 to the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) for such disaster relief purposes as the purchase PPE, testing supplies, and other related materials. The order does not specify how providers can access PPE purchased with these funds. Gordon & Rees recommends that providers use the Provider Portal to report PPE shortages to NMDOH.

In COVID-19 staffing update news, on April 2, 2020, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham issued Executive Order 2020-020. It permits the NMDOH to allow Canadian nursing professionals who are licensed and in good standing to work in any New Mexico healthcare facility during the pendency of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor directed NMDOH to develop a method and process to assess the qualifications of nursing professionals. Authorizations must be in writing and are valid for six months from the date of issue. Canadian nursing professionals who receive written authorization from NMDOH shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for practicing without a license during the period of authorization.

Links to additional resources appear below:

State of New Mexico COVID-19 Updates: 
https://www.newmexico.gov/latest-updates/

Executive Orders Signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham:
https://www.governor.state.nm.us/about-the-governor/executive-orders/

New Mexico Department of Health COVID-19 Site:
https://cv.nmhealth.org/

Visit our COVID-19 Hub for ongoing updates.

COVID-19 Task Force

Lillian L. Alves
Peggy E. Kozal
Thomas B. Quinn



COVID-19 Task Force
Health Care