Review: Massachusetts guidance on how hospitals can ration ventilators during COVID-19 has been revised after equity concerns

Home/Review: Massachusetts guidance on how hospitals can ration ventilators during COVID-19 has been revised after equity concerns

Review: Massachusetts guidance on how hospitals can ration ventilators during COVID-19 has been revised after equity concerns

Review: Massachusetts guidance on how hospitals can ration ventilators during COVID-19 has been revised after equity concerns

This article reports on revised state crisis standards of care (CSC) guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that addresses allocations of scarce critical care resources.

As discussed in an earlier post, some lawmakers and advocates raised objections to earlier guidelines from the state on the basis that patients would be less likely to receive scarce resources due to underlying health conditions. This would potentially result in a disproportionate burden of rationing falling on patients with disabilities and patients of color, who are more likely to have such co-morbidities due to systemic inequities.

The updated guidance removes references to co-morbidities and emphasizes a patient’s near-term prognosis and likelihood of short-term survival. The guidance also notes that appropriate modifications should be applied for persons with disabilities in determining Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score, the core basis for establishing near-term prognosis. The guidelines are voluntary and encourage hospitals to include diversity officers on review and oversight committees when possible.

The revised guidance is available here.

|2020-04-22T10:34:51-04:00April 21st, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: Massachusetts guidance on how hospitals can ration ventilators during COVID-19 has been revised after equity concerns

About the Author: Daniel Orenstein

Daniel Orenstein
Daniel G. Orenstein, JD, MPH, is Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. He teaches in the areas of administrative law, public health law, and health care law and policy. His research focuses on public health law, policy, and ethics, and he was previously Deputy Director of the Network for Public Health Law Western Region, where much of his work centered on emergency preparedness and response, including resource allocation and government authority during declared emergencies, as well as vaccination policy.

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