Health Leaders: Arizona Will Face Triage Conditions Within 'Days Or Weeks'

Published: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 4:56pm
Updated: Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 7:37am
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Leaders of five major medical systems Wednesday warned that, unless coronavirus spread in the state is brought under control, hospitals will have to institute Crisis Standards of Care within "days or weeks."

"I can tell you, as a clinician, no provider ever wants to implement something like this," said Dr. Alyssa Chapital, hospital medical director for Mayo Clinic.

Leaders from Banner, Dignity, HonorHealth, Mayo Clinic and Valleywise said staff shortages will soon force hospitals to adopt crisis standards, which in the most dire cases can involve deciding who receives care.

“There will come a point at which healthcare needs in our community will surpass hospital resources if we continue to experience uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 here in Arizona,” said Chapital.

The group said stopgaps like traveling nurses, recertified retirees and reassigned staffers — some repurposed to deliver vaccinations — cannot substitute for more mitigation measures, stronger enforcement and greater personal commitment to safety. 

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