This photo shows Bartlett Regional Hospital, which was among the 20 facilities for which the state activated crisis standards of care on Saturday. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

This photo shows Bartlett Regional Hospital, which was among the 20 facilities for which the state activated crisis standards of care on Saturday. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

State activates crisis standards of care for 20 health care facilities, including Bartlett Regional Hospital

Surging COVID cases, strained resources in some hospitals cited as reason.

This is story has been updated to include a statement from Bartlett Regional Hospital’s interim chief executive officer.

The state activated crisis standards of care for 20 health care facilities, including Bartlett Regional Hospital, on Saturday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced.

The activation of the state’s crisis standards of care document, Patient Care Strategies for Scarce Resource Situations, was requested by the state’s 15-member, volunteer Crisis Care Committee, according to DHSS, and is because of a shortage of resources within some hospitals. Crisis standards of care provide guidelines for providing health care and allocating scarce resources under “the extraordinary circumstances of a disaster or public health emergency,” according to DHSS.

The state’s document includes recommendations for oxygen, staffing, nutritional support, administering medicine, hemodynamic support and IV fluids, mechanical ventilation, blood products, renal replacement therapy, pediatrics and palliative care.

As of Friday, seven people were hospitalized at Bartlett Regional Hospital with COVID-19, according to City and Borough of Juneau data.

“Bartlett Regional Hospital is not currently experiencing the strains that other hospitals across the state are but with this in place we will be able to adopt the guidelines that this offers us to care for the sick should we see a dramatic increase in patients,” said Kathy Callahan, interim CEO for Bartlett Regional Hospital, in a statement.

Across the state, 202 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 and another 13 hospitalized people were considered persons under investigation on Friday, according to DHSS. Nearly 18% of the state’s total hospitalizations were COVID-19 patients on Friday, according to DHSS.

In addition to Juneau’s hospital, the following facilities were included in the announcement:

Alaska Native Medical Center, Alaska Regional Hospital, Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation/Kanakanak Hospital, Central Peninsula Hospital, Cordova Community Medical Center, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Maniilaq Health Center, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, Norton Sound Health Corporation, Petersburg Medical Center, Providence Alaska Medical Center, Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, Providence Seward Medical Center, Providence Valdez Medical Center, SEARHC/Mt. Edgecumbe, South Peninsula Hospital, Elias Specialty Hospital, Wrangell Medical Center and Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation.

Some of those facilities, including Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and Providence Alaska Medical Center, had previously enacted their own crisis standards of care.

“This activation was requested by the Crisis Care Committee so our health care providers could continue to provide the best medical care possible for Alaskans under good faith immunity,” said DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum in a news release. “The availability of resources and staff changes daily within these facilities. The State’s Patient Care Strategies for Scarce Resource Situations, which includes decision-making guidance for implementing crisis standards of care, is now available to these facilities should they need them. I want to stress that our health care facilities in Alaska remain open and able to care for patients. Alaskans who need medical care should not delay seeking it, even during these difficult times.”

Read the state’s crisis standards of care document below:

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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