Capacity issues escalate at Colorado hospitals due to COVID-19, highest level of transfer tier activated

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Hospital Association says the state’s hospitals and health systems have been moved to the highest tier available to manage patient transfers as hospital capacity concerns grow due to COVID-19.

The CHA said the Combined Hospital Transfer Center was re-activated to Tier 1 in Aug. when COVID-19 hospitalizations started to increase. On Wednesday, the CHTC was moved into Tier 3, the highest tier available.

Hospitalizations are at their highest levels this year in Colorado, with only 900 hospital beds available in the entire state as of Monday.

As part of the CHTC, both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients can be transferred from a hospital that doesn’t have enough capacity or needs to move patients for a different level of care.

“This is an extraordinary step taken by the state’s hospitals and health systems,” said Darlene Tad-y, MD, CHA vice president of clinical affairs. “Even when under immense pressure, the state’s health care system continues to work collaboratively with each other and our partners at the state to ensure the best care possible is available to every Coloradan that needs it. However, activating Tier 3 of the CHTC should send a clear message to Coloradans: our health care system is in jeopardy of being overwhelmed.”

Tier 3 of the CHTC escalates the reach of the transfer center from an individual hospital or regional level to the statewide level, creating a single point of contact for any hospital in the state that needs to transfer patients due to capacity concerns.

The CHA said this transfer system is bi-directional, allowing hospitals to load-level capacity by sending sicker patients to medical centers with more specialized care resources and moving recovering patients to hospitals with available space and staff.

“Our frontline health care workers and hospitals need everyone’s help to get through this. Please continue to wash your hands, wear a mask, and watch your distance when out in public, and, if you’re able, get a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s also crucial that individuals continue to seek health care at the right level, the right time, and the right place. The best solution for our capacity issues right now is to lower the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and we need help from all Coloradans to do that,” shared Tad-y.

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