Avoiding Crisis Conditions in the Healthcare Infrastructure: 2 Case Studies in Statewide Collaboration

Abigail E. Lowe, Hernando Garzon, Rachel E. Lookadoo, James V. Lawler, Dave Duncan, Shelly Schwedhelm, Asha V. Devereaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In fall 2020, COVID-19 infections accelerated across the United States. For many states, a surge in COVID-19 cases meant planning for the allocation of scarce resources. Crisis standards of care planning focuses on maintaining high-quality clinical care amid extreme operating conditions. One of the primary goals of crisis standards of care planning is to use all preventive measures available to avoid reaching crisis conditions and the complex triage decisionmaking involved therein. Strategies to stay out of crisis must respond to the actual experience of people on the frontlines, or the "ground truth,"to ensure efforts to increase critical care bed numbers and augment staff, equipment, supplies, and medications to provide an effective response to a public health emergency. Successful management of a surge event where healthcare needs exceed capacity requires coordinated strategies for scarce resource allocation. In this article, we examine the ground truth challenges encountered in response efforts during the fall surge of 2020 for 2 states-Nebraska and California-and the strategies each state used to enable healthcare facilities to stay out of crisis standards of care. Through these 2 cases, we identify key tools deployed to reduce surge and barriers to coordinated statewide support of the healthcare infrastructure. Finally, we offer considerations for operationalizing key tools to alleviate surge and recommendations for stronger statewide coordination in future public health emergencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S71-S84
JournalHealth Security
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • Covid-19
  • Crisis standards of care
  • Hospital preparedness/response
  • Load balancing
  • Resources allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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