Patients to be rated for treatment if hospitals move to 'crisis' care | KOB 4

Patients to be rated for treatment if hospitals move to 'crisis' care

Tessa Mentus
Updated: December 08, 2020 05:11 PM
Created: December 08, 2020 04:44 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Dr. David Scrase, cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Human Services Department, believes hospitals should be prepared to begin offering "crisis" level care in December. 

What will crisis level of care look like?

Doctors from Presbyterian and UNM Hospital want people to know that everyone will still get care. However, doctors may have to ration who gets what treatment or therapy, based on the patient's prognosis.

The state has developed an objective two-part scoring tool to help providers rate patients, and make tough decisions.

First, a patient's vitals will be measured. 

Second, their underlying conditions will be taken into account. 

Dr. Denise Gonzales, medical director at Presbyterian, explained what "crisis" care would look like at a smaller hospital for a person with COVID-19, who had chronic kidney disease, who is on dialysis and is battling cancer, in addition to needing oxygen.

"When you score a patient like this, in this example, they end up having a score that lands in the orange level, that's the in-between level. It's not the highest priority patient who has a high likelihood of surviving, it's also not the most terrible patient who has no likelihood of surviving," Dr. Gonzales said. "But this hospital doesn't have a bed available for them. So then the next step is to contact the regional hub hospital to present this patient, and then the scoring is adjudicated so that you compare everyone already in a resource that's needed to this patient who is trying to gain entry, and if that bed is available for that patient, then they're able to be transferred up to that regional hospital and then it just gets escalated depending on what the situation is."

Medical professionals said the decisions are based on the likelihood of who will benefit most.

None of these decisions, when it comes to allocating treatment, medical equipment or therapies will be based on gender, race, job or socio-economic status. 

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