April 20, 2020
On Thursday, the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) notified the State Emergency Operations Center that hospitals may need to implement crisis standards of care pursuant to their disaster response plans. IDPH then issued “Guidelines on Emergency Preparedness for Hospitals During COVID-19”. As IDPH noted, given the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals must be ready to deploy crisis standards of care as they move towards a highly critical stage in their operations.
The guidance is largely based on the prior work of the State’s Crisis Standard of Care Workgroup, which was established in 2014 to develop a statewide crisis of care plan in response to the Institute of Medicine’s “Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations: A Letter Report (2009).” The ethics subcommittee of this workgroup focused on the ethical framework for delivery of health care in crisis situations and produced a whitepaper entitled, “Ethical Guidance for Crisis Standards of Care in Illinois”. The whitepaper has been a crucial tool to assist health care entities in developing ethically sound policies. In addition, the IDPH’s ESF-8 Plan: Catastrophic Incident Response Annex (ESF-8 CIR Annex) provides facility-specific “Crisis Care and Resource Allocation Tactics” to provide health care providers with resource allocation strategies that may be implemented during catastrophic incidents.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic will hit regions of the state in different phases, each hospital, in consultation with their local health department, regional hospital coordinating center, IDPH, and their regional health care coalition, is best equipped to assess whether and when crisis standards of care are required in their own institution.
See IHA’s detailed summary of the IDPH Guidelines.