Florida Public Health Review

Publication Date



While streamlining emergency powers might offer some advantages, recent events demonstrate how Florida’s Department of Health worked collaboratively to address the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As Florida began experiencing a need for increased health care capacity, Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) officials reviewed health care practitioners’ licensing and regulatory framework to identify mitigation strategies to boost staffing of front-line responders where needed. Florida officials responded quickly to the spread of COVID-19 and adopted health care workforce strategies that were grouped into three categories: (1) those involving licensed practitioners, (2) those involving soon-to-be licensed practitioners, and (3) those involving an expansion of practitioners’ authority. While Florida’s “two declaration” process for addressing emergencies may appear complex, in reality the Florida Department of Health, including the regulatory boards, was able to respond promptly and employ a number of health care workforce strategies to address health care capacity needs.