The Idaho Department of Health and Human Services has activated Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) for  the entire State of Idaho. You can learn more about Idaho’s CSC by clicking here. In short, Crisis Standards of Care are guidelines that help health care providers decide how to deliver the best care possible under extraordinary circumstances when it is no longer possible to provide all patients the level of care they would receive under normal circumstances. 

Crisis Standards of Care follow a continuum. Initially, they can mean patients are receiving care in a place they would not be receiving care otherwise, such as a hospital room that was not initially built for their specific need, or a classroom that has been converted to a patient care area. They can also mean that hospital staff members such as nurses are providing care to more patients than they would normally care for and monitoring vital signs less frequently than normal. Only in extreme instances will hospital care teams need to make decisions about who will or will not receive needed resources.

This can be a scary thought for patients, the community, and medical providers. The idea that we must choose between providing the highest quality of care for all or some care for all is counter-intuitive for us as healthcare providers. Here are some additional facts regarding Idaho’s Crisis Standards of Care: 

  1. Though CSC is activated for the entire state, it does not mean each hospital is at CSC.
  2. CSC provides the ability of hospitals to be more nimble in their decision making process for care assessments.
  3. CSC can provide assurance to doctors and nurses that when staffing ratios are not normal, alternative care strategies and triage processes can be implemented with confidence.
  4. CSC communicates to the public that “things are different.” And that they may receive care in non-traditional care spaces.

Here is what it means for Bingham Healthcare: 

  1. In terms of our resources, nothing has changed at Bingham Healthcare facilities between yesterday to today. YES, we still have all the PPE that is needed. Yes, staffing is strained, but it is not any different today than it was yesterday.
  2. We have not cancelled elective surgeries and procedures. Our elective surgeries and procedures will continue as scheduled. If this changes, doctors and staff will be the first to be notified and each patient who is impacted would receive a personal phone call.
  3. Neither BMH nor GCMC is “rationing care.” BMH is, however, triaging COVID-19 patients who present to the emergency department in their vehicles. Some patients may be given their vitals and told they are stable and should go home to monitor their symptoms. This is no different than what we did at various times during this pandemic.
  4. Doctors appointments and outpatient clinics are open and continue to operate normally. You should still show up for your appointments.
  5. All out-patient facility services such as laboratory, imaging, pulmonary function tests, and physical therapy continue to operate normally.
  6. BMH and GCMC have contingency plans in place for surges.