Why UPMC's care rationing framework is gaining popularity among hospitals

A team of bioethicists at Pittsburgh-based UPMC developed a framework for care rationing that is gaining traction in the medical community, reports STAT.

Some states have already issued guidelines that exclude specific patient groups, like those with late-stage cancer, from being eligible for critical care in case of bed or ventilator shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, UPMC's framework takes a different approach. The framework recommends clinicians allocate care based on how all patients score on an eight-point scale, which factors in their odds of survival and whether they have life-limiting conditions.

"It is a serious ethical concern for any framework to send a message that there are some lives that are not worth saving. And we think exclusion criteria send that wrong message," Douglas White, MD, a critical care physician at UPMC who oversaw the framework's development, told STAT. "So the approach we have taken is that everyone who is normally eligible for intensive care remains eligible."

At present, several hundred hospitals are considering or implementing UPMC's care rationing framework. Pennsylvania is also expected to adopt the framework across the state's 300 or so hospitals, STAT noted.

To learn more about the framework, click here.

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