What is Crisis Standards of Care and how will it affect you?

Hospital Hallway
Posted at 4:29 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 10:03:24-04

IDAHO — Gov. Brad Little activated the National Guard again Tuesday as Idaho hospitals are nearing full capacity. The help of hundreds of new medical personnel for Idaho hospitals is what Little calls a “last-ditch effort” to avoid the state activating Crisis Standards of Care.

If Crisis Standards of Care is activated, it would be the first time in the state’s history. We heard the term has been used a lot over the last few weeks — but what exactly does Crisis Standards of Care mean?

There's an almost 50-page document outlining what the activation of Crisis Standards of Care means if activated but probably the most important thing you should know is this:

“The Idaho Crisis Standards of Care plan will be implemented when a disaster event overwhelms usual health and medical capabilities and capacities, resulting in an inability of the healthcare system to provide the standard levels of care to patients.”

“Let's say the Treasure Valley hospitals are on Crisis Standards of Care. What that means is there aren’t enough resources for everybody,” Former St. Luke’s Health System CEO Dr. David Pate said There's not enough beds, staff, ventilators whatever it might be.”

Outlined in the Crisis Standards of Care plan, it states medical staff must “use objective inclusion criteria to evaluate patients needing higher or lower levels of care.” Dr. Pate says this would be devastating for everyone.

“Let's assume you and I both get COVID and we’re both having respiratory failure. We both show up at the emergency room. There are no more ICU beds or there's one ICU bed,” Pate said. “What they will do they’ll score you to determine what’s the likelihood that Nicole is going to survive and then they are going to score me. What's the likelihood you're going to survive? I can already tell you, you’ve got a better chance than I do. You’ll score better which means you’ll get the bed.”

Dr. Pate
Dr. David Pate and Nicole Camarda during a Zoom interview about COVID.

This isn't just related to COVID-19 patients. If you get in a car accident, have a heart attack, stroke, whatever it may be — you’ll still be scored like everyone else because there are only so many resources available.

“It doesn’t mean they just kick me to the curb and I die, it just means, I'll be in a hallway or they’ll be doing what they can for me. I just won’t get all of the services,” Pate said. “Imagine you being there and them saying I'm sorry we can't do this for your family member. It's horrible. As doctors we don’t decide who lives and dies, we try to help everyone.”