Crisis Standards of Care - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Crisis Standards of Care

Crisis standards of care (CSC) is when health care systems are so overwhelmed by a pervasive or catastrophic public health event it is impossible for them to provide the normal, or standard, level of care to patients. In situations like this, legal and regulatory protections and guidance by state government would occur to recognize health care systems are in crisis operations that may last for some time. MDH supports CSC planning as it is impossible to predict the timing and severity of a future outbreak and waiting for the disaster to strike would be too late.

On this page:
COVID-19 Response
Patient Care Strategies for Scarce Resource Situations
Minnesota Framework
Historic Overview

COVID-19 Response

Minnesota COVID Ethics Collaborative (MCEC)

The Minnesota Department of Health is actively participating in the Minnesota COVID Ethics Collaborative. This multidisciplinary group is focusing on the complex ethical decisions that may arise during this time.


Personal Protective Equipment

Updated 8/2/21: The Delta variant can spread rapidly and there may be delays in identifying and reporting cases. Currently, MDH recommends eye protection for all health care workers (HCW) in all patient or resident care areas and when providing direct care.

In addition, MDH recommends all HCW wear a facemask regardless of vaccination status when in the health care setting. MDH recommends wearing a facemask during meetings and in the break room unless actively eating or drinking. Social distancing, limiting number of staff in a break room, or eating lunch outside are other recommended interventions to reduce risk of transmission.

Patient Care Strategies for Scarce Resource Situations

These resources are developed and maintained by the MDH Science Advisory Team (SAT). The SAT is devised of subject matter experts from different backgrounds including—critical care physicians, primary care, psychiatrists, pharmacists, ethicists, hospital administration, legal and other disciplines—to develop guidance for hospitals, health systems, and health care coalitions. The SAT advises the MDH Commissioner on strategies for optimal allocation of scarce resources during crisis standards of care situations including ethical and policy considerations.

Minnesota Framework

The goal of the Minnesota CSC Framework is twofold:

  1. To outline the Minnesota Department of Health response during a Crisis Standards of Care situation and
  2. To provide planning guidance to health care and public health organizations to successfully manage the transition from conventional to contingency to crisis care and a shift in care from individual patients to the good of the community.

It is broken down into six categories:

Historical Overview

  • An Overview of Catastrophic Planning in Minnesota (PDF) 
    This report provides a historical overview of catastrophic planning in Minnesota. It reviews how the Science Advisory Team has played an integral role in material development for Minnesota, the Minnesota Pandemics Project, the development of the Minnesota Framework, and the future of this project.

Updated Wednesday, 20-Oct-2021 14:29:53 CDT