New Hampshire Adopts Crisis Standards of Care Plan to Address Potential Shortage of Health Care Resources

On Friday, April 17th, Governor Sununu signed Emergency Order No. 33, which starts the process to develop a plan for New Hampshire hospitals to allocate care and supplies if there is a shortage of resources as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The Governor’s latest Emergency Order instructs the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) to adopt and activate the New Hampshire Crisis Standards of Care Plan (“CSC Plan”).  The CSC Plan is being activated to allow for the assembly of the State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee (“SDMAC”) and the State Triage Committee (“STC”), whose members will be appointed by the Commissioner of DHHS.  The SDMAC and STC will bring together subject matter experts and healthcare leaders to create Crisis Standards of Care Clinical Guidelines (“CC Guidelines”).  The CC Guidelines, in turn, will establish recommendations for the triage of critical health care resources and will provide guidance to Hospital Triage Committees (“HTCs”) if normal standards of care cannot be maintained.

Under the CSC Plan, each hospital is encouraged to appoint a HTC of two to four clinicians.  The HTC will be tasked with applying the CSC Clinical Guidelines and protocols in order to allocate care and resources at the hospital level if necessary.

The proposed altered standards of care could have a significant impact on the practice of medicine in the State of New Hampshire if a shortage of resources occurs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  While the final CC Guidelines have not yet been published, the CSC Plan can be accessed here.

The attorneys at Sulloway & Hollis understand the challenging landscape medical professionals are currently facing.  If you have questions about this or other healthcare regulatory matters, please contact Melissa Hanlon at mhanlon@sulloway.com (603-223-2888) or Trevor Brown at tbrown@sulloway.com (603-223-2838).