In order to increase hospital capacity to treat an expected continuing influx of coronavirus patients, Ohio officials divided the state into eight geographic regions wherein hospitals – which typically compete with one another – will be required to work together to determine which medical facilities will be used to treat coronavirus patients and which ones will be reserved for other types of necessary care.
What isn't known at this point is how insurance coverage will work within this regional system. State officials have not yet indicated what the plan will be for Ohioans who have to get treated at a regional facility that is outside their insurance network.
During DeWine’s coronavirus briefing on Saturday, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton said state officials are working to figure out these kind of details.
“I’ve heard horrifying stories of people showing up places without insurance and being turned away around this country," Acton said. “We can’t do that. This is an emergency. We take everyone, figure out the back end later. This isn’t about billables.”
The regional plan was announced Friday during Ohio Governor Mike DeWine's daily press conference. He announced this developing plan as a means to increase the state's hospital capacity to prepare for a potential peak of 10,000 coronavirus cases a day in mid-May.
Though DeWine and Acton said hospitals across the state have been planning to double the state's hospital capacity, the new figures will require it to possibly triple.
"We have a long way to go. That's the stark reality," DeWine said.
The governor said he's called for action plans from those eight designated regions by noon on Monday.