Governor Abbott Holds Video Call With State Hospitals To Discuss Care Capacities For COVID-19

March 17, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today held a call with hospital CEOs and representatives across Texas to provide an update on care capacities as COVID-19 response continues. On the call, the Governor and hospital representatives discussed the supply, staffing, and bed capacities of hospitals to ensure care providers have the support they need to assist patients. They also discussed strategies to further increase these capacities. The Governor provided an update on Texas' testing capabilities, and announced a survey on capacity needs for hospital networks so that state agencies can ensure adequate resources are continuously provided. 

The Governor also announced a temporary waiver for hospitals to increase unused bed capacity without submitting an application or associated fees. This precautionary measure will help ensure Texas hospitals across the state have adequate care capacity for patients.

"Our hospitals and medical professionals are on the front lines of providing important care  to Texans in need, and the state is working closely with networks and administrators to ensure they have the resources and capabilities to respond to COVID-19," said Governor Abbott. "By working to expand hospital bed capacity, as well as meet staffing and equipment needs, Texas is ensuring our hospitals are able to care for those who contract COVID-19, while maintaining normal health care operations. Additionally, expanding testing capabilities will help the state respond to COVID-19 in an efficient and proactive manner. We remain committed to working alongside medical professionals to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and I thank our hospital leaders and staff for their tireless work protect the health and safety of all Texans."

The following statutes have been waived:

General and Special Hospitals: 25 TAC §133.26(b)-(d)

Health and Safety Code §241.025 

Under this suspension, facilities may use unlicensed patient beds in patient treatment areas to address any potential surge capacity. Fees will not be assessed for temporary patient beds in association with the COVID-19 disaster.

The Governor also announced that Texas this week will receive an initial 15,000 testing kits from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that will be disbursed throughout the state to public and private entities providing testing. This allotment of tests is in addition to the robust testing capabilities already announced by Governor Abbott yesterday. By Friday, the state estimates that Texas will be able to perform 10,000 COVID-19 tests per week. 

CEOs and representatives from the following hospitals and hospital systems were on the call:

Tenet Healthcare Corporation

Moore County Hospital District

Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals

HCA/Methodist Healthcare System, San Antonio

Texas Hospital Association

Memorial Hermann

Baylor Scott and White Health

Children's Health 

University Medical Center El Paso

Catholic Health Initiatives Texas Division

Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance

Parkland Hospital 



Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital

Texas Health Resources