FAQs: Crisis Standards of Care

Has the state of California released any guidance for hospitals on crisis standards of care?

In June, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued its California SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic Crisis Care Guidelines: Concept of Operations/Health Care Facility Surge Operations and Crisis Care, providing a framework to help health care facilities plan for an overwhelming medical surge due to the pandemic. The guidelines include an overview of surge capacity and crisis care operational considerations, as well as a decision-making framework for allocating ventilators and pandemic patient care strategies for scarce resource situations.

Importantly, while the Guidelines provide information to support individual health care facilities or health system operations, CDPH makes clear that the Guidelines do not replace the judgment of operational management, medical directors, legal advisors, or clinical staff or consideration of other relevant variables and options. To assist hospitals as the winter surge continues to grow, CHA has prepared several resources that highlight the guidelines’ key concepts and planning considerations for allocating scarce medical resources during surge operations. These include:

CHA recommends that when hospitals implement the crisis care guidelines they notify the local CDPH district office as a way of communicating the change in operations at the hospital.