Rationing acute care in rural hospitals amid COVID spikes

With the widespread incidence of COVID-19 in hundreds of rural districts now reality, the question now is — is what’s happening in Utah going to be a template for already overburdened hospitals?

Hospitals in Utah could soon be forced begin prioritizing younger COVID-19 patients over older ones in some cases amid surging rate of hospitalizations from the virus in the state, according to a plan presented to Utah’s governor on Thursday.

Hospital administrators in the state told Gov. Gary Herbert ® that they could ask him to approve a plan in the coming weeks that would take drastic steps to reduce intensive care unit (ICU) admissions in the event of hospital ICUs being overwhelmed, which they said was a serious possibility in the days ahead.

If ICUs are nearing capacity, patients who are not seen to be improving even with intensive care will be asked to consider moving to a regular hospital bed. Doctors will also be asked to clearly communicate with patients about do-not-resuscitate orders.

Michael L. Douglas @doctorpundit

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