Polis is considering triage crisis of care plan for Colorado hospitals

DENVER (KDVR) – Governor Jared Polis is considering a triage crisis of the care plan as hospital capacity remains a major issue in Colorado. The plan will change how hospitals decide who will be hospitalized as the pandemic continues.

The governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee on Monday approved a new triage plan. Experts say the approval of the recommendation should serve as a wake-up call on what could come.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, [our response] was very focused on fans, ”said Dr. Anuj Mehta, a Denver Health doctor and author of the latest GEEERC triage plan. “It’s not the crunch we see now. We see a hospital capacity of 90-95%. We see ICU capacity of 90-95%.”

New plan may mean more outpatient treatment

Mehta prepared the plan in collaboration with various experts. Before the pandemic, he said hospitals would be mistaken for caution for those who showed up at the emergency rooms.

“When in doubt, we bring people to the hospital [under normal circumstances]”, Mehta explained.

But that is not the case now. Mehta said that under the new plan, there will likely be patients who would have been admitted under normal situations but who could receive safe enough care as an outpatient.

“If you go to the hospital with chest pain and say, based on the scoring system, your risk of a major heart event… in 60 days is less than 1%, you may have been sent home,” he said. “Now there may be a 5% or 10% chance of a bad result.”

These patients would only be released if they could call 911 and come back if needed, the plan said. Hospital transfers and reduction or suspension of non-urgent medical and surgical treatment are also at stake under these crisis conditions.

This latest triage standard of care plan comes in the heels of a staffing plan that was activated in early November.

The committee’s recommendations now go to the Police for consideration. If Polis is on board, an executive order will be issued allowing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to activate the triage plan when necessary.

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