An executive order signed quietly by Tennessee’s Republican governor is troubling some Americans as it greenlights the National Guard and State Guard to implement quarantines and involuntary commitment of citizens “in connection with certain health care and emergency services operations,” with the governor specifically concerned about “an increase in COVID-19 cases.”
Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order 83 on Friday “with little fanfare” according to Tennessee Stands, an influential conservative coalition.
I signed Executive Order 83 reinstating certain regulatory flexibilities for our hospitals that are responding to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
I found some of the provisions in the executive order “exceptionally concerning,” including:
“Discretion to utilize National Guard and State Guard members in connection with certain health care and emergency services operations.”
“Telephone assessments for involuntary commitment cases are permitted.”
“Temporary quarantine and isolation facilities may be constructed.”
7. Health care student staffing flexibility is permitted in inpatient psychiatric and behavioral health settings pursuant to an approved plan to relieve the capacity strain on certain staffing functions.
**8. Discretion to utilize National Guard and State Guard members in connection with certain health care and emergency services operations.
**14. Telephone assessments for involuntary commitment cases are permitted.
16. Medical laboratory directors can monitor facilities remotely.
**18. Temporary quarantine and isolation facilities may be constructed.
19. Inspection of mental health and substance abuse facilities and services are suspended.
20. Health care licensing inspections and investigations are suspended to increases resources available to fight COVID- 19 and to protect public health.
21. Inspections of health care facilities are suspended.