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COVID-19 Resources

Tomorrow’s Hospital Capacity Press Conference

Update: June 15, 2020
Gov. Abbott announced today that he and John Zerwas, MD, Chief Medical Advisor of the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas, will host a press conference at 1 p.m. CST tomorrow to address hospital capacity and the increase in hospitalizations in Texas. Gov. Abbott and Dr. Zerwas will be joined by DSHS commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, and TDEM Chief Nim Kidd. Live video coverage will be provided by KTRK-TV (ABC-Houston).

COVID-19-Related DSRIP Changes for FY 2020

Update: June 15, 2020
HHSC announced Friday proposed changes to the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program for demonstration year 9, or fiscal year 2020, in response to COVID-19. HHSC proposes a number of allowances for Categories B and C payments. Read the proposed changes to the program funding and mechanics protocol, a summary of changes and the estimated average achievement values. HHSC requests feedback on these changes be submitted to TXHealthcareTransformation@hhsc.state.tx.us by June 26.

EUAs for Hydroxychloroquine

Update: June 15, 2020
The FDA has revoked the emergency use authorizations for two coronavirus treatments amid concerns about their safety and effectiveness. The drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, have failed in several recent clinical trials, and doctors say they can cause serious heart problems.

Consolidated Testing Guidance

Update: June 15, 2020
The CDC Friday consolidated its recommendations for COVID-19 testing. It also released testing strategy options for high-density critical infrastructure workplaces, such as law enforcement, agriculture and critical manufacturing.

Federal Data Request for Remdesivir

Update: June 1, 2020
Today, the U.S. HHS issued a data request to all hospitals to further inform the next allocation of remdesivir. The data deadline is June 8. Remdesivir allocations will be based on the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, confirmed or suspected, and the total number of ICU patients with COVID-19, confirmed or suspected. This request is a follow up from earlier remdesivir data requests from HHS and can be completed through the TeleTracking platform. Hospitals should watch for email notification from the HHS TeleTracking email address. All hospitals will receive an email from TeleTracking, regardless of how they submit their routine hospital information (such as through NHSN or state reporting).

Alert: Molecular Transport Media & Cyanide Gas

Update: June 1, 2020
The CDC yesterday issued a laboratory alert related to the production of cyanide gas when molecular transport media is exposed to bleach. CDC warned labs to not use PrimeStore MTM with platforms that include a disinfecting step that uses bleach, due to this dangerous chemical reaction. As a reminder, THA last week shared an alert on this issue from the Connecticut Health Department.

Hurricane During Pandemic

Update: June 1, 2020
Today marks the start of hurricane season. FEMA has issued guidance and resources related to hurricane preparedness amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS also has issued technical health and medical guidance for care delivery during a disaster in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, including information on health care facility evacuation, sheltering in place while maintaining social distancing practices, and telehealth practices during utility loss.

Joint Commission Surveys

Update: June 1, 2020
The Joint Commission will resume regular surveys and reviews this month, according to its announcement last week. The surveys' focus will be on how organizations adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and review current practices; they will not retroactively review compliance. TJC will take extra safety precautions, including identifying and prioritizing low-risk areas. It will social distance, limit the size of group sessions, and use masks and PPE and, when appropriate, video conferencing technology. TJC had suspended surveys during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deadlines Extended for Emergency Fund Payments

Update: May 26, 2020
The U.S. HHS this weekend extended the deadline from 45 to 90 days for providers to attest to receipt of emergency fund payments and accept the terms and conditions. See AHA’s special bulletin for more information.

Remdesivir – Third Allocation to Texas

Update: May 26, 2020
DSHS this weekend received a third shipment of remdesivir and began distributing the 237 cases to 107 hospitals in 31 counties. This allotment is a powdered form, which allows for the treatment of children. Distribution is based on county-level COVID hospitalization data. Children’s hospitals were eligible this round due to the formulation, with a maximum of one case per children’s hospital. Hospitals without ICU beds were excluded from the distribution. THA continues to work with DSHS on remdesivir allocations and is hopeful DSHS will have hospital-level data to inform future distributions. We expect Gov. Abbott to issue news releases shortly announcing the latest allocations.

MCO Waivers Extended

Update: May 26, 2020
HHSC has granted a second extension for Medicaid managed care organization waivers set to expire in May to apply through June 2020. The waivers include flexibility for provider enrollment, prior authorizations, telehealth, durable medical equipment and CHIP copayments. See the full list of waiver extensions from this chart.

Texas Daily Data

Update: May 26, 2020
According to the latest DSHS data, there have been 56,560 cases and 1,536 deaths in Texas, with 229 counties reporting. There were 1,680 people hospitalized with a positive COVID-19 test result. Approximately 36,375 patients have recovered. See DSHS' COVID-19 dashboard for more, including trends by county. Texas hospitals reported yesterday that there were 17,456 hospital beds and 7,700 ventilators (classic vents and anesthesia machines with vents) available.

Additional Businesses to Reopen

Update: May 26, 2020
Gov. Abbott today announced a new proclamation expanding the services and activities that soon can reopen. Water parks, recreational sport programs for adults, driver education programs and food-court dining areas within shopping malls can begin operations with limited occupancy or regulations to protect health and safety.

Webinars

Update: May 26, 2020
  • The U.S. HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will host a COVID-19 Clinical Rounds webinar at 11 a.m. CST Thursday, May 28, focused on the emergency department, specifically recovery and planning for a second wave of illness. Registration is required.
  • The next TexasAIM OB Care and COVID-19 Response and Resources webinar is at 1 p.m. CST May 29. The webinar will include panel presentations on new literature and rural hospitals’ response to COVID-19. A recording of the webinar will be available here.

Updated Provider Relief Fund FAQs, Potential for Additional High-Impact Funding

Update: May 19, 2020
Last week, the U.S. HHS updated its FAQs related to the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund. The update includes information about the general distribution funds and how the targeted distributions for rural and high-impact areas were allocated. Providers should update their capacity and COVID-19 census data to ensure that HHS can make timely payments in the event that the provider becomes a high-impact provider. Providers can update their information through their CDC National Healthcare Safety Network account. During the initial disbursement, payments to hospitals in high-impact areas were based on serving 100 or more COVID-19 patients as of April 10.

Remdesivir Distribution

Update: May 19, 2020
DSHS is in the process of contacting hospitals about the possibility of upcoming allocations of remdesivir. Hospital/system CEOs should be on the lookout for emails and information from DSHS, as we are hearing from certain hospitals that state communications are being caught in their clutter or junk email folders. THA has confirmed there is not a waiting list or sign-up mechanism that hospitals need to trigger to receive allotments. DSHS is working through allocations based on disease burden, hospitalization and ICU data, and geographic distribution. According to media reports, Gilead has increased its donation amount to the federal government from 607,000 to 940,000 doses for distribution this summer. THA confirmed on a call today with AHA that, based on the FDA’s emergency use authorization, distribution is exclusively for the treatment of severely ill patients requiring oxygen or ventilation. Therefore the drug will be allocated to hospitals and not to doctors offices.

Recording Administration of Remdesivir in ImmTrac2

Update: May 19, 2020
Per state law, DSHS is requiring hospitals to use ImmTrac2, the state’s immunization registry, to record when a patient receives remdesivir for COVID-19. DSHS will offer a tutorial soon to help hospitals use the system. In accordance with the Texas Health & Safety Code, any antiviral medication distributed by the state in response to a declared disaster or public health emergency must be entered into ImmTrac2. Enrollment in the Texas Immunization Registry is accessible here. Questions can be emailed to DSHS here.

Website Impersonations

Update: May 19, 2020
New information is circulating about cyber security threats related to COVID-19, specifically fraudulent websites that mimic several of the key government websites we use daily for coronavirus data and updates. “Threat actors” most recently have used fake websites, associated with COVID-19 financial assistance, to steal credentials. There has been a significant increase in the creation of COVID-19-themed credential phishing website templates that mimic the brands of numerous governments including the WHO, CDC and IRS.

CMS Calls Thursday and Friday

Update: May 19, 2020
CMS continues to host calls for hospitals, health systems and providers on COVID-19. CMS will answer questions on temporary actions the agency has taken to increase hospital capacity, expand the health care workforce and promote telehealth's further adoption. The next call is from 4 - 5 p.m. CST Thursday, May 21. Dial-in: 833-614-0820; passcode: 9984433. CMS also will host a call with the FDA for physicians and clinical leaders from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. CST Friday, May 22. Dial-in: 877-251-0301; passcode: 6086125.

Additional Remdesivir Supplies

Update: May 13, 2020
Late yesterday, Texas health commissioner John Hellerstedt, M.D. sent a letter to ASPR thanking the federal government for the initial allocation of remdesivir received by the state this week. Initial supplies were distributed to 15 hospitals, and THA is advocating for more. The letter from Dr. Hellerstedt emphasizes that the state hopes to continue receiving additional product, particularly given the overall population size of Texas. Today, THA spoke with Gilead representatives to get further visibility on future distributions and will share information as it becomes available. The federal government has indicated that additional supplies will be distributed and allocated based on new weekly data that is now required to be submitted by hospitals.

Cyber Vulnerabilities of COVID-19 Research

Update: May 13, 2020
Today, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a PSA and alert that China and its proxies have been observed attempting to identify and illicitly obtain intellectual property and public health data related to vaccines, treatments and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research. The potential theft of this information jeopardizes the delivery of secure, effective, and efficient treatment options. Hospitals should understand, catalogue and risk classify what COVID-19 research is being done in their organizations, who has direct and remote access to it and how it is being protected with both physical and cyber controls. In addition, hospitals should consult this alert with the 10 most exploited cyber vulnerabilities and implement security procedures as needed.

Costs Eligible for FEMA Assistance

Update: May 13, 2020
FEMA yesterday updated its policy for determining medical care costs eligible for assistance under its Public Assistance Program. Financial assistance is available to government entities and certain private non-profit organizations during the COVID-19 emergency.

Texas Daily Data

Update: May 13, 2020
There have been 42,403 cases and 1,676 deaths in Texas, with 219 counties reporting. There are currently 1,676 people hospitalized with a positive COVID-19 test result. Approximately 23,519 patients have recovered. See DSHS' COVID-19 dashboard for more, including trends by county.

In terms of hospital capacity, there are 17,972 reported available hospital beds in Texas, nearly a 9% decrease since Monday. There are currently 7,771 available ventilators (classic vents and anesthesia machines with vents).

Remdesivir Data Request

Update: May 11, 2020
Today, the U.S. HHS announced it is requesting certain data from hospitals to help inform further distribution of its supply of remdesivir. The first data deadline is tomorrow, May 12, at 7 p.m. CST. The request is for weekly data on the number of COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized and, of those, the number requiring ICU care. HHS is asking hospitals to submit the data using its TeleTracking web portal. Read AHA’s special bulletin for more details. For portal support or data questions, hospitals can call TeleTracking Technical Support at 1-877-570-6903.

Hospital Week Resources

Update: May 11, 2020
Over the weekend, THA issued this press release to kick off National Hospital Week, May 10 - 16. THA offers these social media resources to help member hospitals promote their important work. THA’s resources include sample captions, graphics and a video for social media. THA also will share these materials on its social networks and recognize health care heroes from member hospitals. If you have a frontline staff member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in response to COVID-19, please email a short description and a photo of them for THA to feature on its social networks.

Financial Impact COVID-19 on Hospitals

Update: May 5, 2020
Today, AHA released a report that estimates the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospitals and health systems across the county. AHA estimates that hospitals nationally are losing about $50 billion a month in the fight against COVID-19. The report estimates a total financial impact of more than $200 billion in losses for hospitals and health systems over the four-month period from March 1 to June 30. The estimate includes the costs of COVID-19 hospitalizations, canceled and foregone services, purchasing needed PPE and providing additional support to hospital workers.

Governor’s Press Conference

Update: May 5, 2020
Gov. Abbott today provided an update on COVID-19 case trends in Texas and announced several reopenings. He reported that there are now more recovered patients than active cases of the virus. He also indicated that the state and federal government are working to increase testing capacity and that the federal government has a goal of testing 2% of the state’s population each month. He also noted that positive cases are declining and hospital capacity remains steady. He also announced that the state will deploy surge response teams for areas of the state that experience an outbreak of COVID-19 cases. The surge response teams will provide more PPE and testing resources to enhance health care in areas or settings that may experience a surge in cases, such as nursing homes and jails. They also will work with local governments to implement mitigation strategies to limit further spread. He also announced additional business reopenings in Texas. Cosmetology salons can reopen as early as Friday with certain restrictions. Gyms, non-essential manufacturers and office buildings can reopen on May 18 with certain restrictions.

New PPP Guidance for Public Hospitals

Update: May 4, 2020
The U.S. Small Business Administration today issued additional guidance clarifying public hospitals’ eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program. This program makes loan opportunities of up to $10 million available for organizations with fewer than 500 total employees or who meet other criteria. These loans may be forgiven if at least 75% of the loan is used for payroll costs, among other terms. See AHA’s special bulletinfor more.

Part 1 of Multipart COVID-19 Report

Update: May 4, 2020
The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota last week published the first report in a multipart series on COVID-19. The series will cover pandemic scenarios going forward, crisis communication, testing, contact tracing, surveillance, supply chains, and epidemiology issues and key areas for research. CIDRAP will release approximately one to two reports per week. The first report focuses on the future of the COVID-19 pandemic by looking at lessons learned from pandemic influenza. The report describes the pandemic and how it's acting more like past influenza pandemics than like any coronavirus has to date. Because of this, the authors believe that it may last 18 to 24 months, especially given that only 5% to 15% of the U.S. population is likely infected at this point.

Symptom-Based Strategy for Discontinuing Isolation

Update: May 4, 2020
Yesterday, the CDC posted new guidance for using a symptom-based strategy when determining whether to discontinue isolation. The guidance applies to situations in which continued testing is impractical and is based on time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery to establish the end of isolation. For the general public, people who are ill should stay in isolation for at least 10 days after the onset of illness and need to wait at least 72 hours after the resolution of symptoms before ending isolation.

Webinar: Purchasing Respirators

Update: May 4, 2020
The CDC will host a webinar at noon CST Thursday, May 7, about factors to consider when planning to purchase respirators from another country, including KN95 respirators from China. This webinar will discuss the common pitfalls of purchasing respirators internationally to help buyers make informed procurement decisions to keep their workers safe. Register here.

Webinar: Clinician Well-Being

Update: May 4, 2020
AHA and the National Academy of Medicine will host a webinar at 12:30 p.m. CST Thursday, May 7, about critical needs and emerging strategies to support the well-being of clinicians during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Register here.

Requesting Medical Volunteers

Update: April 29, 2020
Today, HHSC posted information about the specific process hospitals should use to request volunteers to combat COVID-19. The program, through the state’s main COVID-19 site, provides opportunities for health care facilities to request or offer medical volunteers during the pandemic.

Remdesivir Trial - Positive Results

Update: April 29, 2020
The drugmaker Gilead this morning announced early results from its government-sponsored trial using the antiviral remdesivir to combat COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. The company said the study showed positive results in treating coronavirus. The NIH issued a news release later in the day saying that the drug accelerated recovery from advanced COVID-19. Remdesivir is an investigational broad-spectrum antiviral treatment administered via daily infusion for 10 days. This trial is the first clinical trial launched in the United States to evaluate an experimental treatment for COVID-19.

Characteristics & Outcomes of Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19

Update: April 29, 2020
The CDC today issued a new report looking at the characteristics and clinical outcomes of adult patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Atlanta. Of the hospitalized patients, about 60% were over age 65 and 74% had underlying health conditions. Conversely, over 25% of hospitalized patients were younger and healthy. The median hospitalization was 8-9 days. About 39% of all patients were admitted to the ICU, and 30% of those patients required intubation.

U.S. House Hearing

Update: April 29, 2020
The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has announced it will have a subcommittee hearing May 6 on the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

HIT Committee Resources for Documentation Standards During Disaster

Update: April 23, 2020
The TNA/TONL HIT Task Force would like to share resources that provide guidelines describing the changing ethical framework and need for Standards of Care During Disasters and associated operating procedures.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Vanderbilt University Medical Center released clinical informatics resources that can be modified for use by other healthcare agencies. These Emergency Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) include both emergency departments and inpatient units. Copies of these resources and a short video describing their use can be accessed at https://itepcovid.com/2020/04/04/vanderbilt-nursing-informatics-covid-response-interview-with-patricia-m-sengstack-karen-hughart/

These are being provided to TONL Members on behalf of the TNA/TONL HIT Task Force.

Additional Allocations of CARES Act Funding

Update: April 22, 2020
Today, U.S. HHS announced additional funding distributions from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.
  • General allocation – HHS will disburse to hospitals and other providers $20 billion, in addition to the previous $30 billion disbursement, and will rebalance the entire $50 billion to be based on total 2018 net patient revenue rather than Medicare fee for service revenue. Payments will be disbursed weekly, beginning April 24. Providers will must attest to receipt and agree to the terms and conditions.
  • Targeted allocation – $10 billion will be allocated to hospitals in areas particularly impacted by COVID-19. Hospitals must complete the April 12 HHS data request by 11:59 a.m. PT April 23 to be eligible for these funds, though completing the request is not a guarantee of eligibility. HHS will also consider Medicare DSH payments in determining the formula for the targeted hospital allocation.
  • Rural allocation – $10 billion will be allocated to rural hospitals and health centers based on operating expenses.

HHS also announced a program to reimburse providers for treating uninsured COVID-19 patients on or after Feb. 4. Providers can request claims reimbursement through HRSA to be reimbursed at Medicare rates. See HHS’ fact sheet and website for additional information.

APRN Workforce

Update: April 22, 2020
Gov. Abbott today waived the requirement that advanced practice registered nurses must complete certain testing requirements before entering the workforce and practicing under direct physician supervision.

New Peak Modeling

Update: April 22, 2020
The University of Texas at Austin recently released a new modeling that forecasts when states across the U.S. are likely to see the peak in first-wave COVID-19 deaths. The report suggests that there is a 64% probability Texas has already seen its peak in COVID-19 deaths and a 99% probability that the U.S. has already seen its peak in COVID-19 deaths.

FAQ on Essential Surgeries, Procedures

Update: April 20, 2020
THA distributed a frequently asked questions document to help member hospitals comply with Gov. Abbott’s April 17 Executive Order related to the conditions under which hospitals may perform essential surgeries and procedures during the COVID-19 emergency. In order to provide essential surgeries and procedures, the EO requires hospitals to attest to reserve at least 25% of bed capacity for COVID-19 treatment and to not request PPE from a public source for the duration of the COVID-19 disaster. There is an alternate route that hospitals may take to provide additional procedures only. These are spelled out in the FAQ. THA is awaiting additional clarification on some of these provisions and will update the document with those responses. As a reminder, immediately following the announcement, HHSC posted this guidance for hospitals to comply with the certification requirement.

CMS Guidance on Non-Emergent Health Care

Update: April 20, 2020
CMS issued updated guidance on providing essential non-COVID-19 care to patients without symptoms of COVID-19 in regions with low and stable incidence of the virus. This is part of phase 1 in the Administration's Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. The recommendations update earlier guidance provided by CMS on limiting non-essential surgeries and medical procedures.

Webinar on COVID Testing Possibilities

Update: April 20, 2020
The National Academy of Medicine and the American Public Health Association will host a webinar on April 22 from 4 - 5:30 p.m. CST regarding the state of diagnostic and antibody testing. Experts will explore how testing data can provide a clear picture of who has been infected, who can safely return to work and how the virus is spreading. They will also discuss how to ensure equitable access to testing, particularly among minority communities, the uninsured and underinsured and people with disabilities. A recording and transcript of the webinar will be available online.

DSHS Lab Adds Capacity

Update: April 15, 2020
Earlier this week the DSHS state laboratory in Austin provided information about its work to expand capacity for COVID-19 testing using new PerkinElmer equipment. As a reminder, information on specimen collection, submission instructions and shipping guidance is available here, and pre-approval is required for DSHS testing.

CDC Webinar: Insights from Health Care Systems

Update: April 15, 2020
Friday, the CDC will host a presentation about the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care systems in the U.S., including key successes and challenges from the hospital response perspective. The webinar is from 1 to 2:00 p.m. CST April 17. More information can be found here.

Return-to-Work Guidance for Health Care Workers

Update: April 15, 2020
The CDC this week updated its return-to-work guidance for health care workers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The updated guidance now encourages using the test-based strategy to determine when health care workers may return to work, if testing capacity permits. It also adds return-to-work criteria for workers with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who are asymptomatic; they should be excluded from work for 10 days after the test.

Disbursement of Initial CARES Act Payments

Update: April 10, 2020
The U.S. HHS announced that today it will begin delivering the initial $30 billion in COVID-19 relief funding to providers from the $100 billion provider relief fund from the CARES Act. The $100 billion will support health care-related expenses or lost revenue from COVID-19 as well as cover testing and treatment for the uninsured. The initial allotment is based on hospitals’ share of 2019 Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements. We anticipate future tranches to target distributions for providers in areas hard-hit by COVID-19, rural providers and providers with lower shares of Medicare FFS reimbursement or who predominantly serve Medicaid clients. This supplemental funding will also be used to reimburse providers for COVID-19 care for uninsured Americans. See the fact sheetfor details on how payment distributions are determined.

Gov. Abbott Announcements, Childcare for Frontline Workers

Update: April 10, 2020
Gov. Abbott today gave an update on COVID-19 cases in Texas and announceda new online portal to help frontline workers find child care near their workplace. Child care subsidiesare available for essential workers. It was announced that roughly 1,000 child care slots were filled, with thousands of additional slots available for essential workers. The Governor noted that while COVID-19 cases seem to be leveling off, the state has not yet reached the peak. See the presentation slides for county-level hospitalizations and recovery trends. In addition, he also announced that the Governor’s Mansion will be lit blue on Saturday night to honor Texas’ frontline health care workers. The Governor said that he will issue a new Executive Order next week with specific strategies for reopening the state in a way that protects lives and the economy.

Short-Term Child Care at Hospitals, New Emergency Permit

Update: April 10, 2020
As a reminder, THA confirmed with HHSC that hospitals may operate a short-term child care program. THA is aware that several facilities are near the statutory end date for their temporary program and continues to work with HHSC on solutions. If your facility operates a temporary child care program, please notify THA’s Cesar Lopez so THA can work with you to ensure your program may continue.

Also, today HHSC released emergency rules creating a new, temporary emergency child care permit with requirements relating to health and safety, safe sleep for infants, background checks and others. THA members that created a temporary child care program under the current licensing exemption should review the rules to ensure compliance with all requirements to continue operation. An emergency permit issued under these provisions will be valid for 60 days and may be renewed. THA will provide the necessary application form once it’s available. Contact Cesar Lopez with questions.

Surge Capacity Planning

Update: April 10, 2020
To avoid delays during patient surges, HHSC encourages hospitals to apply now for authority to use off-site facilities for surge capacity. Hospitals must submit this form to HHSC's Health Facility Licensing Unit for approval to operate an off-site facility. The list of eligible off-site facilities and related guidance is available here. In addition, hospitals should notify HHSC’s Health Facility Licensing Unit of any on-site efforts to increase bed capacity within three days of the changes. See HHSC’s guidance on increasing on-site bed capacity here.

Emergency Use for Blood Cleaning Device

Update: April 10, 2020
The FDA today authorized emergency use of a blood purification system for COVID-19 patients whose immune systems overreact to the virus. The system is intended for adults in the ICU who are experiencing or have impending respiratory failure. It aims to reduce the risk of a “cytokine storm” in patients by filtering out the molecules from a patient’s blood. The immune overreaction can lead to severe inflammation, organ failure and death.

Request Staffing Support Through Texas.gov

Update: April 10, 2020
As a reminder, Texas hospitals can request staffing support for COVID-19 through Texas.gov. Hospitals should fill out the form at Texas.gov to enter their specific staffing needs. The state will provide hospitals with a list of those who have offered through the Texas.gov portal to provide the requested support. Hospitals will be responsible for contacting the volunteers and finalizing arrangements.

National Hospital Week

Update: April 5, 2020
National Hospital Week is coming up May 10 to 16. The American Hospital Association has some background available here, and THA will be producing Texas-specific digital messages for hospital use and for THA’s social medical channels.

NEJM Article

Update: April 5, 2020
This week, the New England Journal of Medicine posted an editorial called Ten Weeks to Crush the Curve, which offers insight into what steps should be taken to mobilize and organize against COVID-19.

Laboratory Testing Update

Yesterday, DSHS updated its online list of private and hospital labs offering (or shortly offering) COVID-19 testing.

Bed Capacity Update

Update: April 3, 2020
As of April 3, 2020 Gov. Abbott announced that more than 800 people in Texas have been hospitalized with COVID-19, a significant increase from previous counts.

Updated FAQs on Non-Urgent Procedures

Update: April 3, 2020
TMA recently distributed updated FAQs on the Texas Medical Board’s emergency rules related to non-urgent surgeries and procedures.

PPE Guidance

Update:April 3, 2020
On April 2, 2020 the FDA issued revised face mask and respirator enforcement guidance to allow for additional alternatives when approved PPE is not available. It allows for enforcement discretion and potentially paves the way for additional use of equipment from other countries.

Child Care for Front Line Workers

Update: Update March 31, 2020
Gov. Abbott issued a news release today announcing new processes to preserve and extend child care capacity for frontline workers by waiving certain Texas Workforce Commission regulations. THA continues to work with HHSC on ways to extend child care options.

Federal Funding

Update March 31, 2020
The U.S. House today passed and the President signed the third COVID-19 stimulus package -- the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, worth $2 trillion. The bill includes an estimated $117 billion in new funding for hospitals and health systems. Read AHA's summary for the key provisions.

Policy Brief - US Nursing Leadership

Update: March 30, 2020
The following message from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing was shared with Boards of Nursing late last week.

“Mindful of safety, state emergency response provisions and existing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, the proposed model recommends that nursing students be employed by the facility on a full- or part-time basis, that they work in the role of a student nurse for compensation and -- in conjunction with the student’s nursing education program -- that they receive academic credit toward meeting clinical requirements.

COVID-19 represents an unparalleled moment in time for nursing students to assist the nation in a time of crisis and learn the principles of population health and emergency management. This academic-practice model demonstrates that even in crisis, continuous innovation can occur.”

THA Staff Communication Resource

Update: March 27, 2020

THA offers the following communication strategies hospital leaders can use to ensure effective communication with hospital staff during the COVID-19 outbreak.

CDC Testing Prioritization Guidance

The CDC posted new guidance about testing that lays out four levels of prioritization, with priority one being hospitalized patients and symptomatic health care workers.


Texas hospitals are strongly encouraged to adhere to TMB’s guidance, postponing all non-urgent elective surgeries and procedures in inpatient and outpatient settings to help preserve PPE, limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect our health care workers.


DSHS Accelerates Case Reporting

DSHS announced it is updating its method of reporting COVID-19 cases in Texas. The count will now be in a dashboard format and will include all cases reported publicly by local health departments around the state. With the change, Texas is now reporting 715 cases of COVID-19.


Nursing Workforce Waivers

Gov. Abbott today waived several regulations to expand Texas’ nursing workforce, including:

  • Allowing temporary permit extensions to practice for graduate nurses and graduate vocational nurses who have yet to take the licensing exam.
  • Allowing students in their final year of nursing school to meet their clinical objectives by exceeding the 50% limit on simulated experiences.
  • Allowing nurses with inactive licenses or retired nurses to reactivate their licenses.

University of Washington Medicine COVID-19 Resources