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States Respond to COVID-19: Alaska, Idaho Enact Crisis Standards of Care

Due to increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations, Alaska and Idaho have enacted statewide crisis standards of care. These standards are used when health care systems are unable to operate normally due to an extreme public health event.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare on Sept. 6 activated a crisis standard of care due to a severe shortage of staffing and available beds in the northern area of the state caused by a massive increase in patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalization. The Crisis Standards of Care Activation Advisory Committee decided all current measures to mitigate shortages and maximize capacity were exhausted, thus activating the temporary rule. The crisis standards of care will remain in effect until there are sufficient resources to provide the usual standard of care to all patients.

Meanwhile, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services on Sept. 22 put the state’s crisis standards of care into effect through a new addendum to the state’s existing public health emergency order. Commissioner of Health and Social Services Adam Crum explained this action is not a disaster declaration and does not include any mandates. Rather, the goal of the addendum is to provide support and guidance to the state’s health care providers as they continue to care for COVID-19 patients.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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