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Coronavirus: Gov. Greg Abbott waives fees for increasing hospital bed capacity

The governor also announced a survey on capacity needs for hospital networks so state agencies can determine where resources are needed.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a temporary waiver for hospitals to increase unused bed capacity without applications or fees.

Abbott said it was a precautionary measure to ensure Texas hospitals have adequate care capacity for patients as a coronavirus outbreak spreads.

The announcement came in a call with hospital CEOs and representatives addressing the supply, staffing and bed capacities of hospitals, according to a release from the governor’s office.

On the call, the governor also announced a survey on capacity needs for hospital networks so state agencies can determine where resources are needed.

“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 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.”

RELATED: 5 million Texans lack health insurance. Here's how that complicates the coronavirus response.

The suspension allows facilities to use unlicensed 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 said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide Texas with an initial 15,000 testing kits throughout the state this week, to be disbursed to public and private testing facilities. Abbott estimates 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
  • CHRISTUS Health
  • UTMB
  • Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital
  • Texas Health Resources

As of Tuesday evening, there were 110 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Texas and one death.

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