A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Who should receive scarce medical resources in a disaster? Two community conversations.

Who should receive scarce medical resources in a disaster? Two community conversations.

September 15, 2011


Testing a Process for Community Conversations

September 17, 2011 from 9:00-4:00, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

September 22, 2011 from 12:00-4:30, Lawrence Senior Center, Lawrence MA

If a disaster or pandemic strikes, overwhelming the healthcare system’s ability to provide care as usual to everyone in need, who should receive scarce medical resources?  And how do we ensure the most fair, ethical and nondiscriminatory treatment of all members of our communities?  Recent events at home and abroad--from Hurricane Katrina to the H1N1 pandemic to the Haiti earthquake—show the importance of addressing these concerns in advance.

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (the IOM), at the request of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has been working on guidance for state and local public health authorities to use in developing “Crisis Standards of Care”  to address medical decision making in extreme crises.

The voice of the community is an important part of planning for Crisis Standards of Care. The IOM has designed tools for “Community Conversations” to help state and local authorities hear that voice. It will hold two Community Conversations in Massachusetts to test how effective these tools are at learning about community opinions and values.

If you are a member of the Greater Boston community, please join us for the session on Saturday, September 17, 2011 from 9:00-4:00 at Harvard Medical School.  Pre-registration is required. For more information and to register go to: medethics.med.harvard.edu/public_programs/cec/.

If you are a member of the Lawrence community, please come to the session on Thursday, September 22, 2011 from 12:00-4:30 at the Lawrence Senior Center. Pre-registration is required.  For more information and to register contact Vilma Lora at vlora@cityoflawrence.com or (978) 620-3526.