Hogan Designates Disability Support Workers ‘Essential,’ Expands Telehealth

    Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) issued two emergency orders Wednesday that expand health care services available to Marylanders in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “The orders I have issued today help ensure that Marylanders of all ages and abilities can continue receiving essential services throughout this public health crisis,” Hogan said in a statement.

    As of Wednesday, Maryland has almost 2,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — just short of half of the cases reported in the Capital region.

    The first of the two orders allows those who work in disability support services to be classified as health care workers under the Families-First Coronavirus Response Act enacted last month.

    This designation will provide those who deliver in-home care and social services, among other duties, for disabled Marylanders with the classification of “essential,” allowing them to continue reporting for work under Hogan’s stay-at-home directive.

    The governor also issue an executive order Wednesday that will broaden telehealth remote care to include email services during the public health crisis.

    This is an expansion of a previous executive order permitting audio-only calls as an acceptable mode of telehealth in Maryland. According to a news release, these services may qualify for Medicaid reimbursement.

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    Hannah Gaskill
    Hannah Gaskill received her master’s of journalism degree in December 2019 from the University of Maryland. She previously worked on the print layout design team at The Diamondback, reported on criminal justice in Maryland for Capital News Service and served as a production assistant for The Confluence — the daily news magazine on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station. Gaskill has had bylines in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications.Before pursuing journalism, she received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016. She grew up in Ocean City.