22 March 2020 – Hospital capacity increased, medical supply chains protected, elective surgeries postponed

Type of Intervention: Executive Order
Sectors Involved: Health, Supply Chains
Intervention Categories: Social and physical distancing measures; Adapting or closing offices, businesses, institutions, and operations; Finance policy and financial aid; Financial aid to health services
Level of Jurisdiction: Texas
Lead People/Agency: Gregg Abbott

Overview: Gregg Abbott issued an executive order increasing hospital capacity, announces supply chain strike force for COVID-19 Response, specifically focused on expanding hospital bed capacity, and directed all licensed health care professionals and facilities to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or preserve the life of a patient
Full details here: https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-issues-executive-order-increasing-hospital-capacity-announces-supply-chain-strike-force-for-covid-19-response

Type of Justification: Advice of EXTERNAL expert advisor or advisory committee
Evidence/Justification: A shortage of hospital capacity or personal protective equipment would hinder
efforts to cope with the COVID-19 disaster; and hospital capacity and personal protective equipment are being depleted by surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient, contrary to recommendations from the President’s Coronavirus Task Force, the CDC, the U.S. Surgeon General, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and S, various hospital licensing requirements would stand in the way of implementing increased occupancy in the event of surge needs for hospital capacity due to COVLD-19; and the “governor is responsible for meeting… the dangers to the state and people presented by disasters” under Section 418.011 of the Texas Government Code, and the legislature has given the governor broad authority to fulfill that responsibility; and under Section 418.0 12, the “governor may issue executive orders… hav[ing] the force and effect of law;” and under Section 418.0 16(a), the “governor may suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or the orders or rules of a state agency if strict compliance with the provisions, orders, or rules would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with a disaster.”