Death Panels Are Here In Two Red States
Alaska is activating crisis standards of care for the entire state and bringing in contracted health workers as staff shortages and influx of COVID-19 patients make it difficult for hospitals to operate normally.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy and top health officials announced the hospital support on Wednesday, the same day Alaska’s new single-day cases hit another record as the highly infectious delta variant drives infections.
A combination of short staffing and high numbers of COVID-19 patients is overwhelming medical facilities in Anchorage, Mat-Su and Fairbanks. Rural hospitals say they struggle to transfer patients to urban centers for higher care. At least one patient died recently when a bed in Anchorage wasn’t available.
Dunleavy and top health officials made the announcement Wednesday during a press conference. Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum announced that he has signed an addendum to Alaska’s existing public health emergency order for COVID-19. The addendum gives hospitals access to committees that can help guide care decisions when they’re faced with limited staff and resources.
Crisis standards of care, which have already been implemented at the state’s largest hospital, allow for prioritizing treatment and resources for those patients who stand the best chance of benefiting from them, also called care rationing.
“So what this addendum does is it clearly articulates that our health care providers who act in good faith on behalf of the state have access to these committees which can help them provide strategies and alternate tools in order to provide care,” Crum said. “And they’re also covered in good faith effort for liability access.”