Colorado hospitals adopt statewide transfer system amid COVID-19 surge

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Hospitals and health systems in Colorado will now coordinate patient transfers on a statewide level as high COVID-19 patient volumes create mounting concerns about hospital capacity, the Colorado Hospital Association said Nov. 3. 

Since August, hospitals had been operating under tier one of the state's patient transfer plan, which entailed pairing smaller hospitals with larger health systems to coordinate transfers, CHA spokesperson Cara Welch told The Denver Post. On Nov. 3, hospitals in the state opted to bypass tier two of the plan — which would have entailed coordinating transfers on a regional level — and go straight to tier three. This marks the first time Colorado hospitals have needed to take this measure during the pandemic. 

Hospital leaders will meet virtually twice a day to understand the state's bed availability and coordinate transfers for patients with or without COVID-19.

The new transfer protocols come after ​​Gov. Jared Polis on Oct. 31 signed an executive order that allows hospitals to transfer patients without first obtaining their consent and requires healthcare facilities to accept any transfers deemed necessary via the state's plan. 

As of Nov. 2, 90 percent of the state's acute care beds were in use, and 30 percent of facilities said they anticipate shortages of intensive care unit beds within the next week, according to state data.

 

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