As COVID-19 worsens, Arizona is the first state to enact ‘crisis care’ standards

Crisis standards of care give hospitals more flexibility to allocate resources based on which patients are most in need. 

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

Arizona’s failure to contain COVID-19 means the state has the dubious distinction of being the first in the nation’s history to activate crisis standards of care for hospitals, according to a top administrator at the state’s largest hospital system.

In an email to Banner Health employees on Friday, chief clinical officer Dr. Marjorie Bessel explained that, at the request of Banner and other health care systems, the Arizona Department of Health Services activated crisis standards on June 29 “for the first time in the state’s history and the first time any state has done this in the country.”

Crisis standards of care give hospitals more flexibility to allocate resources based on which patients are most in need. 

“This means there is now a state-wide coordinated plan in place to provide guidance for how we should react to the challenges of the pandemic and manage resources in this health care emergency,” Bessel said in the email.

Most importantly, the standards provide hospitals a framework for deciding who to treat and who not to treat if they are not able to care for every patient.

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