COVID surge pushes New Mexico hospitals one step closer to rationing care | KOB 4

COVID surge pushes New Mexico hospitals one step closer to rationing care

Ryan Laughlin
Updated: December 06, 2020 10:13 PM
Created: December 06, 2020 09:14 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order Friday that set the stage to declare crisis care standards at any place where patients are being treated for COVID-19.

The order implements “contingency care” to try and create more space in New Mexico hospitals, but it still may not be enough. 

"Essentially everyone is at 110 to 120 percent. At Presbyterian, we're at surge level two, at Pres Hospital, which means that we've done everything we can to expand, short of Crisis Standards of care, and we are out of ICU beds, currently,” said Dr. Jason Mitchell, chief medical officer of Presbyterian. 

Dr. Mitchell said his staff is trying to avoid the scenario where they have to start rationing care and medical equipment. 

"So if someone's in hospital, and we don't have enough, how do we ration? It's something we don't want to get to, and it's something, with the current numbers, we may possibly get to over the next couple weeks,” he said.

Crisis care, as outlined by the executive order, will allow the state’s medical advisory team to come up with a plan to decide who gets health care and how. 

If the newly-appointed State Health Secretary Tracie Collins decides it’s needed, the crisis care plan will be rolled out to the state’s hospitals. 

On Sunday, the Department of Health reported that 323 ICU beds are occupied statewide. Hospitals are about 120 beds away from reaching the crisis levels. 

KOB 4 reached out to the governor’s office to find out if Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham will declare Crisis Care standards in the near future, but a spokesperson never responded. 

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