Presbyterian, UNM Health activate crisis standards of care for metro hospitals

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – UNM Health and Presbyterian have activated crisis standards of care for their Albuquerque metro hospitals.

Effective November 11, Presbyterian will be activating crisis standards of care for its main hospital, Kaseman Hospital and Rust Medical Center. Crisis standards of care will also be activated for UNMH’s main hospital and their Sandoval Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Michael Richard with UNM Health said they are currently operating at 140% normal capacity. Dr. Jason Mitchell with Presbyterian said they’re operating at 120% normal capacity.

Presbyterian has brought in 300 travel nurses, and UNM has brought in around 500 in order to staff more beds.

"We see all illness trending up," Mitchell said. "We’ve seen that for the last year. Our volumes have just been much higher with really acutely ill patients for all reasons. Whether it’s a blood infection, lung problem, heart problem, everything has been exacerbated because people delayed care."

The switch to crisis standards will allow the health systems to focus on who needs care the most – meaning longer wait times for less serious issues, and surgeries deemed "non-necessary" are being postponed.

Hospital officials said that for non-emergencies the public should make use of the state’s urgent care facilities, or consider using online care to help reduce the strain on hospitals. They’re also urging everyone to follow masking guidelines and to get vaccinated.