Hospital leaders want meeting with governor as they plan for possibility of rationing care

Dr. Melisha Cumberland is given the the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine twenty-one days after receiving the first shot from RN Valerie.

Some Arizona health systems have ‘triage officers’ on standby 

By Stephanie Innes | Arizona Republic 

Clinical leaders of five major Arizona hospital systems, who are putting plans in place in case they have to ration care, say they would like to meet with Gov. Doug Ducey to discuss their coronavirus concerns.  

They have met with Dr. Cara Christ, director of the state Department of Health Services, but not the governor, they said. 

Limited resources and growing patient need means there’s a realistic threat they will need to prioritize medical care with a triage system if COVID-19 continues to spread in Arizona at current levels, the hospital leaders say. 

The clinical leaders, who are the chief medical officers for their health systems, joined forces Wednesday to say they are doing everything they can to avoid rationing care, but that many hospitals have “triage officers” ready. 

“The most scarce resource in hospitals continues to be staff.”

Chief medical officers for Valley health systems

“As we increase the overall census, there is a possibility that we will have to activate the triage system,” said Dr. Stephanie Jackson, chief clinical value officer for Scottsdale-based HonorHealth. “That would involve each hospital identifying triage officers. Many of those triage officers are on standby today waiting for that moment when they will need to be activated.” 

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