COVID-19 Healthcare Update: Hospital Capacity

On April 17, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order related to hospital capacity. The Governor had, by previous Executive Order, ordered that all surgeries and procedures that were not medically necessary be postponed throughout Texas through April 21, 2020. Today’s new Executive Order continues that prohibition generally through May 8, with the exception that beginning April 22, the following procedures can be performed:

-any procedures that, if performed in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice, would not deplete the hospital capacity or the personal protective equipment needed to cope with the COVID-19 disaster; or

-any surgery or procedure performed in a licensed health care facility that has certified in writing to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that:

(1) it will reserve at least 25% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID‑19 patients; and

(2) it will not request any personal protective equipment from any public source, whether federal, state, or local, for the duration of the COVID‑19 disaster.

In another Executive Order issued today, the Governor Abbott extended the prohibition on visiting nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities except to provide critical assistance.

The Governor has also formed a task force of medical and economic experts to advise on the reopening of Texas, targeting early May. A plan for opening businesses is tentatively set to be announced on April 27.

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