Houston, Texas (Reuters) – A big infusion is needed for Texas’ hospital system, which has the nation’s third-largest hospital bed population, a senior U.S. health official said on Friday.
U.S., U.K. and European governments have pledged $3 billion in additional emergency funding for the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital System, which covers a third of the state’s population.
The $3bn will be used to buy up to 2,000 new beds and provide more support for emergency departments and ambulances, the U.N. health agency said in a statement.
The federal Emergency Management Agency has also approved a $1.1 billion emergency loan to cover operating costs for the state.
The emergency funding will come from a $4.5 billion stimulus package approved in December.
It was the largest stimulus package ever approved by Congress.
But the emergency funding won’t help the hospitals cover the $2.7 billion shortfall in payments due to hospitals in states that were hit by the global financial crisis.
The funding will go to hospitals that are already solvent, but the funds won’t cover the full cost of the crisis, said Dr. William Schaffner, chief executive of the hospital system’s private insurance carrier, HCA.
The Texas Medical Association and other hospitals have already requested emergency funding, saying they don’t have enough cash.HCA has also requested a waiver to keep operating expenses at current levels and has asked for the U and U.Y. governments to approve another $1 billion in emergency funding.
The federal government will give the state $1bn for the first year, the hospital association said in its statement.
Hospital leaders say the emergency funds are necessary to keep costs down and cover rising operating expenses.
Texas is among the worst hit by global financial turmoil.
The number of U.s and Uyys insured in the United States fell to its lowest level since the financial crisis, with some states experiencing the worst financial fallout, with insurers dropping coverage.
Hospitals in Texas have also seen steep declines in patients and emergency room visits as the state has struggled to respond to the epidemic.
The Texas Medical Board has said it expects more than 1,000 deaths to occur in Texas over the next year due to the outbreak.