Gritman Responds to Activation of Crisis Standards of Care in Northern Idaho

Gritman Medical Center is closely monitoring our staffing and patient levels as a result of a continued dramatic increase in COVID-19 patients in our region, as well as the State of Idaho’s activation of Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) for all 10 northern Idaho counties.

The declaration Tuesday, Sept. 7, by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare was the result of a request from Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene, the major medical center serving northern Idaho. Each hospital assesses its specific situation and Gritman Medical Center has not requested to activate Crisis Standards of Care at this time. Should it be necessary in the future, Gritman would consult with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare regarding that decision.

Hospitals normally operate under Conventional Standards of Care, one of three levels on the continuum of care as defined by the state. Major emergencies and disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic can stretch the health system to the point of Contingency Standards of Care – meaning available space, staff, supplies and standards of care can be evaluated on an ongoing basis. Gritman moved to Contingency Standards of Care early in the pandemic but has not had to move to Crisis Standards of Care at this time.

Gritman’s leadership teams monitor and report daily on the availability of inpatient beds, appropriate staffing, medicines, medical supplies, and equipment such as ventilators. Together these metrics make up the complicated equation of our hospital’s capacity.

Several weeks ago, our teams foresaw the need to establish a dedicated COVID-19 patient care unit in our hospital. That unit has already been at capacity on several occasions in the past few weeks.

Gritman Medical Center, including our hospital and clinics, are open and safe for care. Please make your health a priority and do not defer getting the care you need. However, our medical staff are feeling the effects of the unprecedented surge in patients requiring care for COVID-19. This continued increase, overwhelmingly in patients who have not been vaccinated, is affecting our capacity as well as our ability to transfer patients for other types of care including emergencies and conditions not related to COVID-19.

The vast majority of our hospitalized and seriously ill COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. The vaccines are helping prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from the disease. We strongly recommend choosing to receive the vaccine to protect yourself. Wearing a mask, washing your hands, keeping social distance, and limiting gatherings with those from outside your immediate household are also proven to help slow the spread.

An FAQ with more details is available on the state’s website.