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Baker Signs New Orders To Bolster Medical Staff Ahead Of COVID-19 Case Surge

Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday signed three executive orders intended to expand the state's health care capacity as it prepares for a coming surge in COVID-19 cases.

One will make it easier for foreign-educated doctors to get licensed in Massachusetts, another will allow nursing school graduates and those in their final semester to practice, while directly supervised, before they receive their license, and the third mandates that insurers must cover all medically required costs of COVID-19 treatment, with no charge to patients, in out-of-network hospitals.

Baker said field hospitals at the DCU Center in Worcester and at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center may be considered out-of-network facilities.

Partners HealthCare will lead the clinical care efforts at the South Boston field hospital, dubbed Boston Hope, Baker said during his daily briefing. It will begin accepting patients Friday and eventually provide 500 beds on the medical side and 500 for homeless populations.

Baker said the state received word last night that it will receive an additional 100 ventilators, along with "a wonderful donation from Boston Children's Hospital of five ventilators."

"Obviously, we continue to be focused on the pursuit of ventilators through other means and other channels as well," he said.

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