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States Respond to COVID-19: R.I. Executive Order on Hospital Capacity, Staffing

Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee (D) released a Dec. 22 executive order addressing hospital capacity and flexibility for patient care given recent surges in COVID-19 cases and medical staff shortages.

The executive order declares:

  • all hospitals must continue to take all steps necessary to care for patients who come to hospitals during the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • hospitals may consult with nearby hospitals if they are unable to provide inpatient care;
  • obstetrical, rehabilitation, and behavioral health patients should be transferred by general hospitals to a suitable specialty hospital to the extent staffing and space allows at the receiving hospitals; and
  • a hospital and its health care workers delivering monoclonal antibody treatment, acting in good faith, are not liable for civil damages arising out of the level or manner of care received by a patient, if such care has been affected by shortages in staffing or supplies.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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