Gov. Jared Polis signed two executive orders on Sunday paving the way for the state to assume control of hospital admissions and transfers as Colorado’s daily COVID-19 case rate continues to increase.
One order allows the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to determine whether a hospital can cease taking new patients and transfer existing patients to new facilities. Hospitals must stabilize a patient before transferring them, but the transfer may be conducted without a patient’s written consent, the order reads.
The order says it will “help to ensure that Coloradans have adequate care as we continue to combat COVID-19 and promote public health and protect the ability of hospitals to serve those with COVID-19 and other conditions.”
The second order allows the Colorado Division of Insurance to establish emergency rules that make it easier for hospitals to address staffing shortages and activate crisis standards of care if the state’s hospitalization rate does not decline.
“The State now faces a severe staffing shortage in hospitals and other health facilities due to COVID-19,” the order reads. “Because of the rise of COVID-19 cases and this shortage, we must undertake targeted efforts to respond and mitigate the effects of the pandemic, prevent further spread, preserve our health care resources, and provide needed flexibility to address the collateral consequences of the pandemic.”
Both orders come at a time when Colorado is struggling to keep the COVID-19 delta variant in check. According to CDPHE data, Colorado has a 7-day moving average of 139 hospital admissions. Meanwhile, the state’s two-week cumulative incidence per 100,000 people increased to 565.5.
Nearly 1,200 Coloradans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest rate since December 2020.
Half of the state’s critical care ventilators are in use, and nearly 40% of the state’s hospitals expect to have a staffing shortage within the next week.
This article was originally posted on Polis executive orders give state control of hospital admissions, transfers