A Missouri religious not-for-profit healthcare network will cease treating coronavirus (COVID-19) patients from a different race preferentially.
St Louis-headquartered SSM Health will stop prioritizing non-white COVID-19 individuals who present at any of its 23 locations across the Midwest region.
“Early versions of risk calculators across the nation appropriately included race and gender criteria based on initial outcomes,” the company said according to Fox News. “[However,] race and gender criteria are no longer utilized. The internal memo cited by WILL inadvertently referenced an expired calculator.”
The remarks came after the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) successfully convinced the hospital operator that distributing monoclonal antibody products (mAbs) based on skin tone was “profoundly” unethical, immoral, and illegal.
The risk scoring calculator in question gave non-white patients a seven out of 20 point advantage, meaning they might be more likely to receive life-saving mAbs than white people with recognized medical disorders or symptoms.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the original rationale was COVID-19 has a “disproportionate impact” on low-income communities and “certain racial/ethnic minorities.”
“A 50-year-old white female (15 points) suffering from obesity (one), asthma (one), and hypertension (one) would not be eligible for mAbs because she does not receive the 20-point minimum score under the calculator,” president Rick Esenberg and deputy counsel Daniel Lennington said in an open letter.
“An otherwise healthy 50-year-old African-American female (22), without any of these health risks, would be eligible,” they added.
Lennington welcomed SSM’s decision to omit race from the risk scoring calculator.
“We are encouraged that SSM Health has dropped the racial classifications from their risk-scoring calculator,” Lennington said according to Fox News. “We still profoundly disagree with SSM’s position that race is an ‘appropriate’ consideration when treating patients for COVID.”