In the last few weeks you’ve likely heard the alarming phrase “Crisis Standards of Care,” and you may be wondering how it could impact your care.
Washington’s Current Situation:
- As of today (September 16, 2021), Washington has not declared “Crisis Standards of Care.”
- While other states have declared “Crisis Standards” and begun to deny care to some patients, Washington state hospitals continue to manage the patient load it has by working cooperatively.
Pullman Regional Hospital’s Current Situation:
- Right now, Pullman Regional Hospital is doing everything possible to assure that everyone receives necessary care:
- Collaboration with REDI Healthcare Coalition, providing preparedness coordination across all hospitals in Eastern Washington.
- Daily communication with regional hospitals on bed capacity.
- Twice daily internal Situational Reports discussing staffing, bed capacity, and level of medical supplies.
- Continued internal efforts with specific plans for different scenarios; including operating at capacity and above capacity.
- Pullman Regional Hospital is a Disaster Medical Coordination Center (DMCC), a regional leader in Emergency Management.
How are “Crisis Standards of Care” Implemented?
- Crisis standards are declared by a state or local health order and under the Governor’s Non-Urgent Procedures Proclamation health care coalitions play a role in determining whether there should be a move to crisis standards.
- Washington hospitals have committed that no one hospital will be allowed to slide into crisis alone. Hospitals are level-loading patients to avoid this. If the entire system is overwhelmed, the state will be involved in declaring state-wide crisis standards.
What is “Crisis Standards of Care”?
- “Crisis standards of care” means that there is not enough space, supplies or staff to give necessary care to every patient in the state. In this stage, the statewide health care system is overwhelmed, and decisions need to be made about who gets the resources that are available. That means some patients would not get the life-saving care they need.
- When the state declares crisis standards of care, providers must shift away from maximizing the care of each patient to maximizing care for the most. This may mean some people do not get the life-saving care that they need.
- Everyone wants every patient to have access to all necessary care. But when there are too many patients, we want hospitals to help as many people as possible. These guidelines, and the processes that support them, help providers know what to do.
- Crisis standards help doctors and nurses make care decisions ethically and quickly when time is of the essence and resources are limited. By following the standards, they can focus on delivering care instead of difficult decision-making about who gets resources.
- The hospitals across the state are working together to prevent any one hospital or region of the state from going into crisis standards. Without this level of cooperation some hospitals or regions may have reached crisis standards of care much earlier in the pandemic response.
What Can You Do?
- The COVID-19 vaccine continues to be the best solution to keeping our healthcare system from getting overwhelmed with COVID-19 positive patients.
- The vaccine is available and accessible in Whitman County; a complete list of vaccine facilities can be found on Whitman County Public Health website.
- Do not delay your care. Precautions are being taken to provide a safe environment to treat and see all patients; you can have confidence in visiting our emergency department, having a procedure, staying at the hospital, and being seen at any clinic in our community.