Private and public hospitals in the ACT are discussing how to split up their resources when and if the number of Covid-19 cases rises dramatically.
One possibility is that serious cases of illness from the virus will be dealt with in the public system while the private side concentrates on other urgent non-COVID-19 cases.
Calvary private and public hospitals, for example, are on the same site. How they divide their resources is being discussed.
Health officials on both the private and public side discounted the idea that ACT private hospitals would pull out if they couldn't make money.
The discussions come as some private health care providers elsewhere in Australia have indicated they may have to lose staff and shutter facilities after the federal government's ban on non-essential medical procedures.
The chief executive of the Calvary organisation nationally, Martin Bowles, told The Canberra Times: "It is essential for the public and private sectors to work hand in hand to combat this issue.
"Clearly arrangements will need to be in place to ensure beds and resources are available when required."
Calvary private hospital was working to adapt to the prospect of mass serious illness of a nature not dealt with before.
In other parts of the world, including China, Italy and the UK, there has been a big increase in beds available, either by speed-building hospitals or converting huge buildings like exhibition centres into places for treatment.
What is not clear in Canberra is what the financial arrangement between the public and private sector would be. Calvary Hospital is a not-for-profit organisation unlike some of the other private health providers in Australia - but it still aims to make a surplus to reinvest.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith, said the territory had a relatively small number of private hospitals.
Its health system was integrated between the two. She said public and private were coordinating, with the Chief Executive of Canberra Health Services in charge.
"Bernadette McDonald is in charge of that territory-wide coordination of hospital and clinical response to COVID-19 and working closely with Calvary who runs Calvary Public and John James and Calvary Private as well as National Capital Private Hospital and smaller private hospitals in the ACT," the minister said.
Health officials were trying to work out the ACT's capacity for dealing with a mass influx of patients - how many beds, doctors, nurses and other staff and facilities they actually have - compared with the possible emergency demand.
One difficulty is that the staff and facilities at both public and private hospitals may have skills quite different from those likely to be needed in the epidemic. Work was being done to adapt.
"That work is going well with private hospitals in the ACT," the Health Minister said.
The possibility of closures mooted in other parts of Australia "doesn't appear the case in the ACT".
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you're looking to stay up to date on COVID-19, you can also sign up for our twice-daily digest here. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.