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(AUSTIN, Texas – March 20, 2020) – Texas hospitals moved quickly to tighten visitor policies, advocate for funding and personal protective equipment, address non-essential procedures and request childcare flexibilities for health care workers to ensure hospital COVID-19 preparedness. Texas hospitals are working with state leaders to continue strengthening the infrastructures in place to respond, and additional resources are needed to protect health care workers and the general public.
Hospital officials are urging the public to strictly adhere to shutdowns and social distancing rules as they continue to quickly to ramp up additional capacity, seek much-needed supplies and work to protect their frontline staff. THA applauds the state’s leadership on the orders issued Thursday to help mitigate the spread.
“Hospitals are always ready for emergencies, but COVID-19 will tax the system. That’s why it’s critical we get assistance with the resources we need,” said Ted Shaw, president and CEO of the Texas Hospital Association. “The additional production of masks, respirators and ventilators that the U.S. government is pushing for is vital. But this is just half the battle. People must aggressively follow the rules to protect themselves and our health care workforce.”
Texas hospitals are urgently focused on the health and safety of their employees, including nurses, doctors and other frontlines staff. Hospitals are seeking additional masks, swabs, gowns and medical equipment to replenish supplies. Hospitals have activated their emergency plans, are planning for significant surges in patients and are managing limited supplies of personal protective equipment.
Given the increasing pressures on the hospital system, THA continues to advocate for additional resources and flexibilities with urgency. Here are some of the key actions underway to further ensure hospital preparedness for COVID-19:
- The THA COVID-19 Taskforce convened today to address plans for non-essential services, hospital visitation policies, increased hospital coordination, and patient discharge issues.
- THA has requested and received numerous waivers to increase capacity and is tracking their status through THA’s COVID-19 resource page for hospitals.
- Texas is urgently advocating for federal funding and other resources to help hospitals and health care systems adequately respond and protect the people of Texas.
- In an effort to protect health care workers and conserve medical supplies, THA worked to tighten visitation policies and is working with the state to address the need for restrictions on non-essential procedures.
- Hospitals are closely coordinating with experts and officials from public health, nursing homes, regulatory agencies, state leadership, health care professionals and other industries to identify resources and vulnerabilities to help inform the overall response.
- Texas hospitals are coordinating critical messages to the public regarding testing, hygiene, emergency room use, blood donation and other key issues. THA has a social media toolkit on its COVID-19 resource page to reinforce key messages.
“Texas hospitals have an incredible role in the COVID-19 response,” Shaw said. “Protecting our state is central to the mission of every hospital, no matter the size, location or type. We are doing everything we can to protect health care workers and our communities.”
COVID-19 resources for Texas hospitals are available here.
Founded in 1930, the Texas Hospital Association is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state’s hospitals and health care systems. Based in Austin, THA enhances its members’ abilities to improve accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of health care for all Texans. One of the largest hospital associations in the country, THA represents 452 of the state’s non-federal general and specialty hospitals and health care systems, which employ some 400,000 health care professionals statewide. Learn more about THA at www.tha.org or follow THA on Twitter at http://twitter.com/texashospitals.