Amidst High Surges, Idaho Has Begun Rationing Its Health Care

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : September 10, 2021

A “crisis standard of care” has been activated by the public health leaders of Idaho for the northern hospitals of the state as the region has been experiencing more patients of COVID-19 than the hospitals can handle.

On Monday, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare passed the move and on Tuesday, they announced it publicly. They have warned the residents that if they need to be admitted to hospitals, they wouldn’t get the usual care.

Amidst High Surges, Idaho Has Begun Rationing Its Health Care

In recent weeks, the cases in Idaho have broken records. The state has one of the United State’s lowest vaccination rates.

Amidst High Surges, Idaho Has Begun Rationing Its Health Care

The agency has announced that there is an extreme shortage of staff members and beds available in the northern region of the state fueled by huge increases in severe COVID-19 cases.

Around ten hospitals and health care facilities have been designated. They said that they aim to reach out their care to as many patients suffering from coronavirus as possible to save lives.

This move permits hospitals and health care units to extend sparse resources like ICUs to patients who are likely to survive. Patients other than them will receive care too, but they’ll be accommodated in hospital conference rooms or classrooms.

Many states are making preparations for the same measures. David Ige, Hawaii governor, last week passed a move freeing health care workers and hospitals to ration facilities of health care if they have to.

Northern Idaho’s largest hospital, Kootenai Health, is full of havoc. Patients can be seen waiting in long queues for beds to be available in intensive care units. One nurse can be seen supervising six patients with non-critical care nurses. The chief of staff, Dr. Robert Scoggins, said that usually, they have one nurse for one bed in intensive care units.

The Coeur d’Alene on Monday started shifting their patients suffering from COVID-19 to their conference rooms nearby. Placing temporary dividers, the hospital’s classroom was converted into a ward for coronavirus patients.

Scoggins said that elective and emergency surgeries were on hold. Kootenai Health is scuffling to admit trauma patients.

The health care units of Idaho are in dread. Experts believe that Idaho can witness more than 30,000 coronavirus cases every week if this persists, by mid-September.

Dave Jeppesen, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said that their last resort is crisis standards of care. He said that it meant their state has exhausted its resources up to an extent that no required services can be provided now.

He said he was hoping to avoid this move. He said the best and the only move for people to turn this around was to take preventive measures like masking up and keeping social distance and getting vaccinated. He urged that getting vaccine shots were the only way of preventing hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

Until there are resources available to meet the needs, designations will remain effective. It includes hospital beds, staffing, and equipment or reduction in coronavirus patients, which can lead to normalcy.

On September 1, around 500 people were admitted to hospitals among which one-third were in intensive care units.

Hospitals in Idaho are struggling to meet the need as many health care workers and housekeeping have left their jobs by being drained out by the pandemic pressure and many had to be quarantined as they caught the infection.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that getting fully vaccinated with any available vaccine against the virus reduces the risk of severity and hospitalizations.

Little said that more residents of Idaho need to believe in vaccines and get vaccinated to curb the spread, reduce hospitalizations and deaths.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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