IDHW: Crisis standards of care expanded to all of Idaho

Coronavirus-confirmed healthcare workers can return to work without being testing negative
Posted at 8:30 AM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 14:49:55-04

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) announced Thursday it has activated crisis standards of care statewide. IDHW says it is activated statewide because of the "massive increase" of COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization in all areas of Idaho has exhausted existing resources.

St. Luke's Health System requested that crisis standards of care be activated and DHW director Dave Jeppesen convened the CSC Activation Advisory Committee virtually on September 15. The committee recommended that it be activated statewide, according to a news release.

Related: Crisis Standards of Care activated in North Idaho

Although it is activated statewide, hospitals will implement as needed and according to their own policies. Not all hospitals will move to that standard of care, if they are managing under their current circumstances, they can continue to do so according to IDHW.

“Our hospitals and healthcare systems need our help. The best way to end crisis standards of care is for more people to get vaccinated. It dramatically reduces your chances of having to go to the hospital if you do get sick from COVID-19. In addition, please wear a mask indoors in public and outdoors when it’s crowded to help slow the spread” said DHW Director Jeppesen. “The situation is dire – we don’t have enough resources to adequately treat the patients in our hospitals, whether you are there for COVID-19 or a heart attack or because of a car accident.”

IDHW says the process to initiate crisis standards of care started when resources were limited to the point of affecting medical care. The committee reviewed all the measures that were taken to provide care for the increased number of COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization.

The committee determined the ability of all Idaho hospitals and healthcare systems to deliver the usual standard of care has been "severely affected by the extraordinary influx of patients, and all contingency measures have been exhausted."

Gov. Brad Little made the following statement about the activation of CSC:

Idaho has reached a historic point. There are too many patients with COVID-19 in need of care in our state, and it is limiting healthcare access for everyone in need of all types of medical care. The vast majority of those in our state contracting and spreading COVID-19, hospitalized with COVID-19, and dying of COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

We have taken many steps to alleviate the pressure on our healthcare system due to the influx of patients with COVID-19, but the activation of statewide Crisis Standards of Care signals the need for more Idahoans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to choose to receive the vaccine. The vaccine is our primary defense in ending the pandemic and ensuring our students have a productive in-person school year.

We will continue to support our hospitals by adding staff and by making monoclonal antibody treatments available – which are effective in reducing COVID-19 hospitalizations but should not be considered an alternative to the safe and effective vaccine. Idahoans, please come together to protect yourselves and our communities, and to thank our heroes in healthcare.

Together, and only together, will we get through this very challenging time in our state’s history.

Crisis Standards of Care are guidelines that help healthcare providers and systems decide how to deliver the best care possible. Crisis standards of care are guidelines that help healthcare providers and systems decide how to deliver the best care possible under the extraordinary circumstances of an overwhelming disaster or public health emergency.

The guidelines may be used when there are not enough resources to provide the usual standard of care to those who need it. The goal is to extend care to as many patients as possible and save as many lives as possible, according to the release.

Efforts will continue to alleviate the resource constraints in the state caused by the massive increase in the number of COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization. The crisis standards of care will remain in effect until there are sufficient resources to provide the usual standard of care to all patients.

Idaho still has one of the lowest vaccination rates across the country. According to IDHW, since May of this year, 91% of the COVID-19 hospitalizations have been among the unvaccinated.

Click here to learn more about CSC and see an FAQ.