Governor Bill Lee said Wednesday that Unified Command Group has made significant gains in Tennessee’s efforts to secure personal protective equipment for health care workers and critical personnel across the state. More than 18,000,000 PPE items totaling over $45 million have been acquired.
Each of Tennessee’s 95 counties has received a shipment of PPE from Unified Command, with the vast majority of supplies continuing to be delivered to rural areas with Unified Command reporting 80-90 percent of supplies, he said.
Governor Lee said Tennessee has also reached a critical threshold with the creation of face shields through 3D printing efforts at higher education institutions – 10,000 face shields have been produced thus far with more on the way.
He also said that Unified Command has worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure Tennessee has thousands of additional hospital beds available should our health care institutions become overwhelmed by a surge in hospitalizations.
These back up plans are actively being assessed in major cities in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers and hospitals.
The state is also placing an urgent call to health care workers who are currently displaced or furloughed. Unified Command is launching a website for those individuals to sign up and be a part of our surge planning. Health care workers of all levels are encouraged to engage, it was stated.
Also, TennCare has received approval for a 1135 waiver request to address any potential strain on Tennessee’s health care safety net and care for the uninsured.
With this waiver, Tennessee will gain several flexibilities targeted toward providers and designed to ensure sufficient health care services are available through this pandemic. Many of these flexibilities will be implemented immediately, with others implemented if and when needed.
For more information on TennCare actions related to COVID-19 go here. For more information on the approval of the 1135 waiver go here.