Near-capacity CO hospitals can stop admitting patients, transfer people to other hospitals as COVID cases rise

FILE - In this May 20, 2021 file photo Colorado Governor Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER — Per one of Gov. Jared Polis’ latest executive orders, hospitals may stop admitting patients and instead direct people seeking treatment to other hospitals as COVID cases continue to rise.

According to the Executive Order, the highly contagious Delta variant and the 20% of Coloradans who have not gotten the vaccine have caused the number of people seeking medical treatment to nearly exceed the capacity of Colorado’s hospitals.

Due to that rise, Polis has given the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) the power to order hospitals that have reached capacity, or are expected to reach capacity, to stop admitting patients and transfer them to a separate facility.

The executive order also allows hospitals to transfer patients without first obtaining the individual’s or the separate facility’s written or informed consent.

In addition to the ability to transfer patients, hospitals and other similar facilities are being directed to accept patients transferred from other medical facilities who cannot accept the patients.

In addition, the executive order directs hospitals to not consider a patient’s insurance status or ability to pay when making transfer decisions.

In a second executive order, Gov. Polis amended and extended the pre-existing executive order related to Disaster Recovery. The new order removes CDLE Jumpstart program provisions, which according to Polis’ administration, are no longer necessary.

It also clarifies that Crisis Standards of Care can be activated, and and directs DOI to do emergency rulemaking for prior authorization.

The second executive order is meant to reduce the strain that has been placed on medical workers and facilities since the beginning of the pandemic and the latest rise in COVID-19 cases.

You can read both executive orders here:

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