Billings Clinic considering 'crisis standards of care'

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National Guard volunteers meet with Billings Clinic CEO Dr. Scott Ellner and chief nursing officer Laurie Smith as the hospital fills with COVID patients.

LARRY MAYER, Billings Gazette AJ Etherington

Billings Clinic Chief Nursing Officer Laurie Smith talks about the likelihood of the hospital implementing crisis standards of care due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

AJ Etherington

With their ICU at 150% capacity, wards overflowing and the National Guard called in to assist Wednesday to help the hospital’s sickest, the Billings Clinic announced that they are preparing for the possibility they will have to implement “crisis standards of care” put in place by Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Crisis standards of care is implemented when demand exceeds available resources, in this case, ICU beds, hospital beds and staff. DPHHS provides a framework that the Billings Clinic will follow when changes to standard care are needed.

At this time, Billings Clinic has not entered crisis care. The Wednesday

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