Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society on crisis standards of care

Massachusetts Medical Society on crisis standards of care

Update: On April 20, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued revised guidelines “with additional clarifications to prevent unfair discrimination in response to concerns raised by members or representatives of vulnerable and marginalized communities about the application of the guidelines exacerbating existing inequalities in access to and delivery of health care. Accompanying the guidelines is a Public Health Order that requires hospitals to notify the Department prior to implementing Crisis Standards of Care in order for the Department to intervene and to monitor the hospital’s process.” The revised standards and accompanying new order are here:

April 7, 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Massachusetts Crisis Standards of Care Advisory Committee was convened by the Commissioner of Public Health and has prepared guidance regarding medical treatment and resources. You can find that guidance here. Below is a statement from the Massachusetts Medical Society.

The Massachusetts Medical Society has been engaged extensively with a cross-section of stakeholders regarding crisis standards of care. We are appreciative of Governor Baker and his administration for their leadership in this matter.

It is the hope of every physician that our patients avoid contracting COVID-19 by continuing to be rigid in their adherence to social distancing recommendations, and that those who do become ill can make a full recovery. With a projected surge in the number of Massachusetts patients requiring critical care, however, the solemn reality is that we must balance our hope for the best outcomes for our patients with our responsibility to arduously prepare for difficult decisions that may have to be made.

Our commitment remains to, under these unprecedented and challenging circumstances, provide the most thorough and compassionate care we can to each patient and to save as many lives as possible with available medical resources. This much-needed guidance will provide the framework to make these most difficult decisions across the Commonwealth based upon transparent decision-making criteria.

-Maryanne C. Bombaugh, MD, MSc, MBA, FACOG, President, Massachusetts Medical Society 


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