Idaho Hospitals To Ration Healthcare To Those More Likely To Survive If Hospitals Become Overwhelmed

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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The Idaho Board of Health and Welfare (IDHW) approved a temporary rule Friday that will allow hospitals to ration their potentially life-saving resources if the coronavirus or other events overwhelm the hospitals.

The new guidance will allow hospitals to enact “Crisis Standards of Care” that can be activated during a pandemic, such as the coronavirus pandemic, or catastrophic events like an earthquake which causes healthcare capabilities to become overwhelmed.

“The activation of crisis standards of care allows healthcare entities to implement crisis strategies to address scarce resource situations when the usual standard of care cannot be provided,” the guidance reads.

If enacted, critical resources like supplies and staff will be allocated to patients who are more likely to survive. While all other patients would still get as much treatment as possible, some patients could die of a typically survivable illness or injury in a worse-case scenario. (RELATED: Woman Admits To $2 Million In Fraudulent COVID-19 Checks)

In order to determine who gets treated, hospitals will use a scoring system that factors age, health of a patient’s organ systems and other factors into consideration, according to the Associated Press.

Administrator for the Idaho Division of Public Health Elke Shaw-Tulloch said hospitals and healthcare workers are hoping to prevent enacting the crisis mode, according to KTVB 7.

“There is a lot of work that is happening right now to establish a standard of care, to keep pushing to prevent us from actually having to reach that crisis standard of care.”

IDHW Director Dave Jeppesen said the crisis standards would be enacted if resources have been stretched and “all options for addressing resource limitations have been pursued,” according to the report.

“Crisis standards of care are a very last resort, and I hope we don’t have to implement them,” Jeppesen said, according to KTVB 7. “It is preventable, if people choose to follow the recommended guidelines.”

The state recorded 1,825 new cases of the virus and 33 deaths Thursday.