Knowledge Library

Crisis Standards of Care

Over the past few weeks, increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations finally overwhelmed hospitals, driving health officials to cross a threshold that had been avoided successfully since the beginning of the pandemic. Last week, two hard-hit areas of the United States declared “crisis standards of care” due to lack of available healthcare resources in the setting of COVID-19. On 9/7/21 the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced that two districts in Northern Idaho would activate crisis standards of care; the rest of the state followed suit on 9/16/21 due to a lack of critical care resources at the state’s largest health system....

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Professional Boundaries in the Medical Practice

The doctor-patient relationship is rooted in trust. Patients often present their most vulnerable selves to their physicians with the trust that they will remain respectful and professional at all times. An important part of establishing an atmosphere of trust is maintaining clear professional boundaries with patients. If this trust is compromised it can be damaging to the patient, your reputation, your practice, and the medical community. Not all cases are clear when it comes to avoiding boundary violations. Sure, it is easy to recognize blatant violations such as having sexual relations with a patient, but what about attending a wedding...

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Review of Bohn v. Providence Health Services Lawsuit

The Alaska Supreme Court recently interpreted a portion of the Alaska Healthcare Decision Act under Bohn v. Providence Health Services – Washington. While this is the first time the Court has interpreted the HCDA, its decision focused on a single provision of the statute, AS 13.52.080(a)(3). This provision grants immunity to health care providers declining to comply with a person’s health care decision so long as the provider “acts in good faith and in accordance with generally accepted health care standards” and so long as the refusal to comply is “based on a good faith belief that the person then...

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Post-COVID Patients: Timing of Elective Surgery

As the U.S. slowly recovers from the pandemic and COVID hospitalizations decline, a backlog of surgeries is beginning to clear as facilities resume elective surgical procedures. Over the past year, guidelines for performing elective surgery in the setting of COVID have been available from the American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Society of Anesthesiologists, and other national authorities. These recommendations have focused on issues such as: ensuring adequate availability of critical care resources, hospital beds, and personal protective equipment in the setting of the pandemic; minimizing the risk of COVID transmission between patients and healthcare personnel;...

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Implicit Bias in Healthcare

Doctors have the duty to treat patients equally, regardless of their gender, age, race, or medical history. However, research shows that despite best efforts at accomplishing this healthcare providers can unknowingly fall short. The California Legislative Counsel defines implicit bias as meaning the attitudes or internalized stereotypes that affect our perceptions, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner, and often contributes to unequal treatment of people based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, and other characteristics. The stark difference that implicit bias has from explicit bias is that you are unaware of the positive or negative attitudes...

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