Oregon Issues Hospital Crisis Care Standards Amid COVID-19 Surge


The Oregon Health Authority released new interim guidelines on Jan. 6 for hospitals across the state to follow if a COVID-19 surge forces them to enact crisis standards of care.

Hospitals may activate crisis standards of care if their critical care resources are severely limited, the number of patients presenting for critical care exceeds capacity, and there is no option to transfer patients to other critical care facilities.

The guidelines direct hospitals to evaluate ICU patients’ likelihood of short-term survival without judgment about the overall quality of life or long-term survival before their current condition, using a triage priority score, which will help hospitals allocate the most limited, critical treatments to patients. All patients still are eligible for critical care beds and services regardless of their score.

If two patients scoring equally need the same limited resources, the patient already receiving the treatment takes priority unless their condition worsens. In a tie between two patients not yet being treated who have similar conditions and who need an in-demand treatment, hospitals would use a blind drawing to decide who gets the resource.

Facilities can also create their own plans but must adhere to the state’s rubric.