Statement by Texas Medical Association (TMA) President Diana L. Fite, MD, regarding Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order today expanding hospital capacity and decision to pause further reopening.
“Today’s order is an appropriate use of the governor’s authority to ensure Texas hospitals have the beds, staff, and resources that physicians need to care for our most seriously ill patients whether with COVID-19, other diseases, or significant trauma.
“Combined with Governor Abbott’s announcement that the state will take no additional steps for now to reopen the economy, with his earlier decisions giving local officials more authority, and with his continued insistence that all Texans take commonsense safety precautions, this order gives Texas additional tools to respond to this pandemic.
“It’s important to note that the governor did not reissue the same broad order he first put in place on March 22 and rescinded on April 21. This is critical because we cannot revisit a time when our patients got sicker because physicians had so few options to provide needed care.
“This order is sharper and more focused. It:
- Is aimed squarely at preserving hospital inpatient capacity;
- Applies only in those counties with significant recent increases in COVID-19 patients in the hospital; and
- Does not apply to ambulatory surgical centers or physicians’ offices, and it allows hospital surgical procedures that do not deplete hospitals’ ability to ‘cope with the COVID-19 disaster.’
“As I stated yesterday, all of us physicians, hospital administrators, all Texans need to share this simple message, over and over, with our patients, our friends, our family, the news media, and elected officials:
“Wash your hands often. Stay home if you can. Practice social distancing. And for your sake, for your neighbors’ sake, for my sake, and for your grandma’s sake, wear a mask, Texas.”
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 53,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320
Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336