Texas Governor Responds To COVID-19 Pandemic

Governor Greg Abbott has issued an Executive Order increasing hospital capacity and creating Supply Chain Strike Force for COVID-19 response.

Earlier this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an Executive Order creating a temporary Supply Chain Strike Force , which will guide collaboration between the public and private sectors to ensure healthcare facilities have the supplies and resources they need to respond to COVID-19. In addition to working with the federal government and businesses to secure necessary personal protective equipment, the team will work to ensure day-to-day resources (including food) are available for Texas’ medical personnel, first responders and those who have contracted COVID-19.

Executive Order
Texas Governor Greg Abbott

The Supply Chain Strike Force is headed up by Keith Miears, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Procurement at Dell Technologies, serving as Supply Chain Director. He is supported by former State Representative John Zerwas, MD, who assists with hospital relations and preparedness; Clint Harp, Vice President of Transmission Strategic Services for the Lower Colorado River Authority, who assists with asset research and procurement; and Elaine Mendoza, Chair of the A&M Board of Regents, who assists with statewide child care infrastructure for critical workers.

“We have seen how this virus has progressed in other states and nations, and it is vital that Texas stays ahead of the curve as the situation develops here,” said Governor Abbott. “Patient care capacity is essential during this time, which is why the state of Texas is taking action to increase hospital bed capacity, provide additional space for medical personnel to care for patients, and ensure that healthcare facilities have the supplies needed to respond to COVID-19. Along with this Executive Order, the Supply Chain Strike Force will play a crucial role in addressing these needs by helping to secure and expedite the distribution of resources across the state. These are unprecedented times, and Texas will continue to take robust action to protect our communities and support those serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.”

The Executive Order also expands hospital bed capacity in response to the COVID-19 virus. Under this order, the governor directed all licensed healthcare professionals and facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary, as determined by the patient’s physician. This does not apply to any procedure 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.

Governor Abbott also suspended certain regulations as requested by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to allow for increased occupancy of hospital rooms — meaning hospitals will be able to treat more than one patient in a patient room, thus increasing their ability to care for the growing number of COVID-19 patients.

The Executive Order will remain in effect and in full force until April 21, 2020, unless it is modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the Governor.

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