KSHB: National emergency should help hospitals care for more COVID-19 patients

President Trump's national emergency declaration Friday should improve the ability of state and local governments to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The declaration empowers the Department of Health and Human Services secretary to give hospitals and health care providers flexibility in preparing for an influx of patients and how to treat them.

"It eases a lot of the regulations in health care that restrict us from expanding our ability to care for excess patients," Dr. Marc Larsen, Operations Section Chief - Incident Management for Saint Luke's Health System said. "We are able to use or re-purpose facilities and use treatment facilities that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to use for patient care."

Trump, also, asked every hospital in the country to activate its emergency preparedness plan, which Saint Luke's already did several weeks ago.

"For a long time, we've kind of felt like we were at this alone, and I feel like today watching that press conference, finally there is going to be some assistance from the federal government to assist in our operations planning," Larsen said.

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