NYS order: Hospitals curtail elective surgery

New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday announced a list of 32 hospitals that she said are “ceasing elective surgery” through an executive order.

Glens Falls Hospital, Saratoga Hospital and their parent hospital Albany Medical Center were all included on the state’s list. All are at “10% or less capacity.”

The order applies to hospitals that have a greater than 90% bed occupancy rate in a region that is considered “high risk,” due to Covid spread.

The limits on elective, non-essential surgery start on Thursday, Dec. 9, and continue initially for two weeks, when the situation will be reevaluated.

A list of essential procedures that will NOT be suspended includes cancer-related, neurosurgery, transplants, intractable pain, cardiac with symptoms, limb threatening vascular procedures, trauma, dialysis vascular access, and patients that are at a clinically high risk of harm if procedures are not completed.

The Chronicle sought and was not able to obtain a list of typical elective surgeries that won’t be allowed because of the edict.

Ray Agnew, Glens Falls Hospital’s Vice President, Hospital & Community Engagement, said, “We are following the state’s guidelines…and understand that patients may have questions. They should have a conversation with their doctor about those questions.”

Gov. Hochul said earlier in the pandemic that when New York City had a high Covid rate, upstate “counties like Orleans County and Cattaraugus County…really had almost no cases but they also had to stop elective surgeries.”

She said they’ve learned “to not just have a one size fits all approach, to make it more targeted to the hospitals that really are in trouble.”

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