Arizona hospitals want more power to decide who gets care as COVID-19 overwhelms facilities, staff

A ward for coronavirus patients in Brooklyn this week.
/Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

By Brahm Resik | 12 News

Arizona hospitals on Friday asked the state Department of Health Services to formally activate crisis standards of care, rarely used guidelines that would give health care providers more freedom to decide who should be treated for the coronavirus and how they should be treated.

The 14-page crisis standards for treating COVID-19 patients are a guide for dealing with scarce resources: 

Hospitals could allocate resources to patients with the best chance of survival or the longest projected lifespan. 

Decisions would be guided by a points scale and a color-coded triage chart to determine a patient’s priority for care. 

No one would be denied care “based on stereotypes, assumptions about any person’s quality of life, or judgment about a person’s ‘worth’ based on the presence or absence of disabilities.”

The standards stress that “all efforts must be made to determine a patient’s goals of care and treatment preferences.”

Health care companies could also seek liability protection to allow them to make those triage decisions. 

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