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Alaska's biggest hospital to prioritize care for patients who can benefit most

Overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, the hospital says it is "no longer able to provide the standard of care to each and every patient."

Alaska’s largest hospital has begun rationing care, saying it has been overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

Providence Alaska Medical Center said Tuesday it will prioritize resources and treatment to those patients who have the potential to benefit the most.

Dr. Kristen Solana Walkinshaw is chief of staff at the hospital and says that “we are no longer able to provide the standard of care to each and every patient who needs our help.”

Alaska, like other places, has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Providence is one of only three hospitals in Anchorage, a city of 300,000 people. Walkinshaw says Providence’s emergency room is overflowing and patients have to wait for hours in their cars to see a doctor for emergency care.

Rationing care in Idaho due to COVID

Public health officials in Idaho say crisis standards of care are imminent for the state’s most populated region as hospitals continue to be overrun with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.

Dave Jeppesen, the director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, says southern Idaho including the Boise metropolitan area could join northern Idaho in rationing health care at any moment.

Last week, the state formally enacted “crisis standards of care” in northern Idaho, giving overwhelmed hospitals permission to direct scarce resources like intensive care unit beds to the patients most likely to survive. At Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene, some COVID-19 patients are being treated in a field hospital at a conference center.