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New crisis standards of care law will guarantee healthcare rationing

New crisis standards of care law will guarantee healthcare rationing

by
Wayne Hoffman
March 21, 2022
Wayne Hoffman
Author Image
March 21, 2022

One lesson from the so-called pandemic that should have been learned is that the government’s involvement in healthcare is not making things better for patients. 

As I’ve pointed out previously, mismanagement by Idaho’s hospital systems over many decades contributed to lack of staff and hospital beds. In addition, the government’s involvement in health education and training programs has created a bottleneck of incoming doctors and nurses, further restricting the availability of staff at hospitals. That’s because the state limits the number of people it is willing to underwrite for college health courses, and hospitals have become dependent on the state to fund hospital and clinic residents. These factors are what prompted the state to enact via temporary regulations a crisis standards of care, allowing hospitals to ration services. 

House Bill 756, which passed the House 51-15 on Wednesday, would make crisis standards a permanent part of Idaho law. The measure codifies having the government as a central actor in deciding to activate subpar standards for Idaho patients. Hospitals would be required to report on their efforts to mitigate the need to ration care if crisis standards are activated, and the Legislature would need to be apprised of the situation. 

Reports are fine, but state officials should expect hospitals to eventually resort to substandard healthcare if they’re given permission to do so.

In other words, codifying crisis standards of care would have the secondary effect of giving hospitals and state policymakers a pass when it comes to resolving staffing and capacity issues prior to an emergency. By this legislation, the state will have explicitly told hospitals they’ll be allowed to operate marginally should a health crisis be declared.

The bill also has an unfortunate provision that would create an ombudsman’s office in the governor’s office to oversee and respond to patient grievances. This is nothing but a marketing gimmick. The governor’s office already oversees the state Department of Health and Welfare, which would be the agency charged with activating crisis standards. That makes the new office duplicative, designed purely to make it look as if the governor’s office has its finger on the pulse of hospital patients at a crucial time. 

The bill’s cosponsors are trying to address legitimate concerns about crisis standards being used to deny Idaho hospital patients care because they are of a certain class, race, or age group. If that’s all the bill did, it would be fine. But once again, Idaho lawmakers went too far.

Ronald Reagan once warned that government is the problem, not the solution. Lawmakers are virtually guaranteeing that hospital capacity will remain a problem for our state and healthcare will again be rationed, and now you know who to blame when it occurs.

View Comments
  • Bee says:

    Good piece!

  • Eagle 🦅 says:

    Wayne good article!

  • john livingston says:

    Great article. An ombudsman in the Governor's office to decide disputes between patients and providers is a consolidation of power that will only perpetuate the collusion between the private sector and large hospital systems. Crises standards of care are implemented only after providers request them. Having an agent in the Governor's office further decreases the position of patients and their families. Mitigation standards implemented by providers are based on templates provided by CMS. Issues of liability and compensation when (CSC) and mitigation strategies are put into effect need to be addressed by the legislature prior to passing a law that will limit patients and families from other legal and economic remedies.

  • Bobby W says:

    A 2nd thing we've learned from the "so called pandemic" is that IFF doesn't count a calamity involving over 900,000 deaths in the U.S. attributable to COVID to be a "pandemic".
    I give you credit for one thing, though, Hoffman. You haven't referred to IFF as a "think tank" in a long time. At least you're consistent about something.

    • Al says:

      Rule 1 in propagandizing people and manipulating truth, Bobby: create your own definitions, doggedly and exclusively use yours despite the entire world using different definitions. You can't be called a "liar" when you use your own definition. And if your audience is already so jaded and partisan that they don't research the issue, they'll never call you out on it.
      Right, Sensei Wayne?

  • Bruce Hendricks says:

    The photo accompanying your article which shows a masked individual reveals how mentally ill these people are. If you are still wearing a mask at this stage you are lost.

  • Al says:

    Wow, forgot all about the article Wayne wrote last year blaming hospitals for the bed shortage. Thanks for the link and reminder, Wayne.
    Since we weren't in a "pandemic", why would we blame hospitals? Since the Great Barrington Declaration said to live life normally and let contagion spread naturally and we'd be naturally immunized, people should have just stayed home rather than seeking medical help, right?
    It seems, Wayne, that it wasn't hospitals' fault for being overrun, it was peoples' lack of faith or commitment to the sacred GBD, for frivolously seeking medical help in a non-pandemic world, right?
    Given prior positions from the IFF, to be consistent here, the emphasis would be that there was never a need for crisis of care and we don't foresee it being needed, just force the smart approach and turn patients away and tell them the "truth" that we aren't in a pandemic.

  • KJ says:

    "House Bill 756" is tyranny hosted by your Idaho legislators.

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