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Ducey Order Protects Patients Transferred Between Hospitals

Published: Friday, May 29, 2020 - 6:24pm

Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order Thursday that requires Arizona hospitals to participate in a statewide program that transfers patients when medically necessary.

The program, called the “Arizona Surge Line,” has been in place since mid-April. 

It provides a centralized database of hospital bed availability in Arizona to ensure adequate space at hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

Over 400 patients have been transferred in Arizona using the program to date.

Ducey’s latest executive order requires hospitals to participate by accepting or transferring patients as directed, with the caveat that those directions will only come when a patient transfer is clinically appropriate and the hospital’s resources allow for it.

The program has been used in places like Yuma to ensure hospitals aren’t overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

Hospitals must also keep the Arizona Department of Health Services apprised of their bed and ventilator capacity, according to the order.

The order also requires health insurance providers to treat the hospitals that patients are transferred to as in-network.

That means a patient won’t be charged out-of-network costs if the state transfers them to a hospital that’s not traditionally covered by their insurance policy.

“It's protecting the patients, should they need to be transferred, from any financial burden,” said Chris Minnick, a spokesman for the Department of Health Services.