By Jennifer McRae

DENVER (CBS4)– With many EMS staff out with illness combined with high demands for patient transports, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has reactivated the Crisis Standards of Care For Emergency Medical Services. The last time the state activated the crisis standards of care for emergency medical services was in April 2020.

(credit: iStock/Getty Images)

The crisis standards for Emergency Medical Services include guidance for call centers, dispatch centers and emergency medical service agencies and responders regarding how to:

  • Interact with potentially infectious patients.
  • Maximize care for multiple patients with limited staff and emergency vehicles.
  • Determine what kind of treatment to provide, such as whether and where a patient should be transported for further care, if deemed necessary.

According to the CDPHE, crisis standards are protocols that help health care providers and systems decide how to deliver the best care possible under the extraordinary circumstances of a disaster or public health emergency. The goal is to extend care to as many patients as possible and save as many lives as possible.

Crisis standards have not been activated for hospital and acute care facilities, out-of-hospital care providers specialty patient populations or personal protective equipment.

“If you are sick and think you need emergency care, please continue to use 9-1-1 or seek emergency care as you would normally. Your health in an emergency is always a priority. The dispatchers and emergency medical service experts will help you determine if you need immediate care. They may also advise you to seek care through a normal doctor’s appointment, if your case can wait,” said Dr. Eric France, Chief Medical Officer in a statement. “With increasing demands on hospitals and EMS, we need to make sure we can provide care to anyone who needs it immediately. Crisis standards of care help us to do that. We also need every Coloradan over the age of 5+ to get vaccinated so we can lessen the strain on our healthcare system and protect everyone.”

In November, the state of Colorado reactivated crisis standards of care for staffing of health care systems.

Jennifer McRae