Governor Ducey Issues Executive Order To Ensure Hospital Preparedness

News Release

March 26, 2020

PHOENIX⁠ — Governor Doug Ducey today issued an Executive Order ensuring Arizona hospitals increase capacity to prepare for a potential influx of patients due to COVID-19. The order requires hospitals to increase the amount of hospital bed capacity in the state, take steps to optimize staffing levels and maximize critical resources. 

“Arizona is working day and night to ensure our hospitals are prepared while implementing measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible,” said Governor Ducey. “Building additional capacity now, ahead of any increased demand is the responsible thing to do. I’m grateful to all the doctors, nurses, EMTs and administrative staff who are working around the clock to serve Arizonans. We’re going to continue working 24/7 to make sure they have the resources and medical supplies needed to do their jobs.” 

“As public health officials, we have a responsibility to prepare for the worst-case scenario to plan for a pandemic,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “In Arizona, we are fortunate to have time to prepare, and we have a responsibility to bring additional hospital beds online, find needed supplies and identify critical equipment, including ventilators. We’re focused on working to make sure hospitals across the state build their capacity.”

Today’s Executive Order requires hospitals to activate their facility emergency plans that were developed with guidance and funding from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) in anticipation of a public health emergency. The order also requires hospitals to:

  • Implement processes to re-route non-critical patients to other providers;

  • Institute plans to optimize staffing levels;

  • Increase bed capacity by 50 percent by April 24, with half of that increase implemented by April 10. 

  • Report to ADHS the number of current licensed medical-surgical beds, ICU beds and the amount of increases required under this order.

In addition, the order:

  • Requires pediatric hospitals to accept patients up to 21 years of age. 

  • Requires Medicaid insurance plans to cover services provided through the expanded capacity and mandates insurers reimburse hospitals provided at rates equal to what would be provided without the expanded capacity.

Today’s order follows a series of steps Arizona has implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect public health, build healthcare capacity, and provide relief to families, businesses and individuals.Yesterday, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order requiring health care insurance companies to expand telemedicine coverage for all services that would normally be covered for an in-person visit,  ensuring that Arizonans who may be sick, under quarantine, or in high-risk populations, can access care from their homes.

For a full list of actions, visit

View the Executive Order HERE.