Swamped Arizona Hospitals To Begin Triaging Patients

Arizona Central reports:

Arizona’s state health director on Monday declared that hospitals could activate “crisis care standards” that guide the allocation of scarce resources to patients based on factors such as their likelihood for survival.

The announcement by Dr. Cara Christ, the Arizona Department of Health Services director, immediately was met with criticism by advocates for people with disabilities who say the state’s current Crisis Standards of Care could result in discriminatory denial of life-saving health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Activating crisis standards of care would, among other things, protect hospitals from legal liability for triaging patients, according to a set of guidelines that take into account a person’s likelihood of survival, the extent of their sickness and other factors.

Axios reports:

A petition from medical providers, signed by more than 1,100 people, asked state leaders to “utilize crisis care standards” because they say they are working under “a huge strain on an already stressed hospital system.”

The petition, which also calls for the stay-at-home order that expired in May to be reinstated, notes the Crisis Standards of Care Plan (CSC) is “something that most of us, when choosing our career, thought we would never be doing,” noting it was usually only implemented in extreme situations in the U.S., such as terrorist attacks.”

Arizona hospitals asked the state health department last Friday to formally activate the CSC. An Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association spokesperson told 12 News, “Moving to crisis standards of care will allow consideration of regulatory waivers as well as additional liability protections.”