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Idaho deactivates crisis standards of care except for north Idaho

With the exception of north Idaho, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) has deactivated Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) in accordance with IDAPA 16.02.09 - Crisis Standards of Care For Healthcare Entities. While the number of COVID-19 patients remains high and continues to stress healthcare systems, the surge is no longer exceeding the healthcare resources available, except in north Idaho.

Crisis standards of care remains in effect in the Panhandle Health District, which encompasses Boundary, Bonner, Kootenai, Benewah, and Shoshone counties.

For the rest of the state, healthcare systems are generally using contingency operations, which means they remain stressed with an unusually high number of patients. It will be some time before healthcare systems return to full normal operations. It also will take time for the healthcare systems to work through the many delayed surgeries and other medical treatments.

DHW, along with Saint Alphonsus Health System and St, Luke's Health System, will held a media briefing about crisis standards of care in Idaho at 1 p.m. (Mountain Time) Monday, Nov. 22, via Webex.

Those who will attend the briefing from DHW include Director Dave Jeppesen, Elke Shaw-Tulloch, administrator of the Division of Public Health, and Dr. Christine Hahn, state epidemiologist. In addition, Dr. Jim Souza from St. Luke's and Dr. Patrice Burgess from Saint Alphonsus will join the briefing.

A recording of the briefing will be available later in the afternoon at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/covid-19-vaccine/

The situation at each healthcare system remains fluid and variable. Healthcare systems are still experiencing a much higher than normal number of patients and will implement their plans to return to a usual standard of operations according to their own policies. In addition, the state will continue to provide resources including healthcare personnel via FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and existing federal contracts until the situation further stabilizes.

Deactivation process

Since entering CSC, the situation across the state has been monitored daily. The process to deactivate crisis standards of care began when healthcare systems started individually reporting that they had moved to contingency operations instead of operating under CSC conditions.

Jeppesen convened the Crisis Standards of Care Activation Advisory Committee on Nov. 19 to review the situation at healthcare facilities across the state. The committee determined that, except for the Panhandle Health District, healthcare systems had moved back to contingency operations and following robust evaluation processes, several had recently determined they were able to exit operating under CSC. Those healthcare facilities emphasized that while they were able to exit CSC, their operations remained stressed since patient volumes remain high. The committee recommended to the director that crisis standards of care be deactivated in all regions except for the Panhandle Health District, where case numbers and hospitalizations remain much higher than normal. Jeppesen issued his decision this Monday, on Nov. 22, under the authority vested in him through the temporary rule.

Learn more about crisis standards of care, including an FAQ and the official declaration of deactivation, at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/idaho-resources/.

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