CO gov issues far-reaching executive order as coronavirus cases cripple state

Gov. Jared Polis has issued an order allowing at-capacity hospitals to transfer patients and stop admitting new ones, in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order Monday that grants the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) extraordinary ability over patient care within the state’s already-taxed hospital system. Executive Order 260 authorizes CDPHE to order hospitals and freestanding emergency rooms to transfer or cease the admission of patients should those facilities reach “capacity to examine and treat patients.”

The order, which is now in effect for the next 30 days, provides CDPHE flexibility to do what Colorado hospitals have already shown a willingness to do in light of growing patient-loads due to COVID-19: transfer patients from one overburdened facility to one that is more able to handle those patients’ care. The order does not supersede federal law that requires, under EMTALA, ERs to screen unstable patients before transferring to another facility.

Michael L. Douglas @doctorpundit

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