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Banner memo: Arizona first to activate crisis care plan in the country

Posted at 9:14 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 13:42:54-04

PHOENIX — An internal memo from Banner Health details how the state of Arizona, activating its crisis care plan, is the first time any state has done this in the U.S.

The memo sent to ABC15 states that Banner, along with other health care networks requested the state to activate the Crisis Standards of Care Plan.

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“As such, earlier this week at the request of Banner and other health care systems, the Arizona Department of Health Services activated the Arizona Crisis Standards of Care Plan (CSC) at the Crisis level, for the first time in the state’s history and the first time any state has done this in the country. This means there is now a state-wide coordinated plan in place to provide guidance for how we should react to the challenges of the pandemic and manage resources in this health care emergency,” part of the memo read.

Dr. Cara Christ announced on Monday she would implement the plan after recommendations from the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee, made up of key healthcare leaders made the request.

Christ did not go into much detail in the press conference about what crisis care means, or at what level of the plan the state currently resides.

She has stated the activation ensures hospitals prepare for staffing and activating all licensed beds and all surge beds.

The memo from Banner states they are in crisis, “it’s important to understand that we are truly at a crisis level as we continue to see an increase in hospitalizations, ICU and ventilator usage, and nearing capacity levels at our hospitals.”

It went on to say that staff will see that they will be providing care differently than they would in normal operations, “as a result, you may see changes in staffing models at your hospital, alternate areas/sites for patient care, utilization of different equipment, and providers in different roles than usual. Activation of the CSC also provides extensive liability and malpractice protection for caregivers. It is important to note that we are not implementing the COVID-19 triage addendum at this time. However, we have a plan in place should that need arise.”

Doctor Christ clarified on Thursday that no hospitals in Arizona, including Banner, are currently triaging patients.

This would be the point where hospitals have to make tough decisions based on algorithms on who gets what level of care.