12+ health systems canceling, postponing surgeries due to the coronavirus outbreak

With the coronavirus spreading across the U.S., some hospitals and health systems are canceling elective surgery to prevent the spread of coronavirus as well as dedicate resources to its coronavirus response.

The American College of Surgeons recommended hospitals and health systems review scheduled elective procedures and plan to minimize, postpone or cancel them. U.S. Surgeon General tweeted on March 14: "Hospitals & healthcare systems, PLEASE CONSIDER STOPPING ELECTIVE PROCEDURES until we can #FlattenTheCurve!" But there is not an agreed upon standard for how to evaluate what constitutes "elective"; in some cases, "elective surgery" could be any non-emergent surgery, but still include procedures that are essential for conditions that could become life-threatening if they are not addressed, including removing cancerous tumors or replacing a faulty heart valve.

The American Hospital Association as well as other major hospital associations also sent a letter on March 15 to Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, MD, the U.S. Surgeon General, asking for clarification about the government officials' comments about ending elective procedures and further guidance on classifying the levels of necessary care.

"Our patients will be best served by carefully evaluating and prioritizing gradients of 'elective' care to ensure that the most time-sensitive medically necessary care can be delivered by physicians and hospitals," states the letter. "While modeling predicts a surge of the number of serious COVID-19 cases that will need hospital care, the hospital system must continue to balance the needs of caring for patients with COVID-19 while providing vital services to others in the community who need care."

Here is a running list of hospitals and health systems that are canceling or postponing elective surgeries due to the coronavirus outbreak. Note: this is not a comprehensive list, but rather a list compiled by the Becker's editorial team. We will update the list as new information is available.

1. Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston is deferring appropriate elective and non-urgent care, according to a statement provided to Becker's.

2. NewYork-Presbyterian in New York City indefinitely postponed all elective surgeries beginning March 16. The hospital will remain open and urgent and emergency procedures will continue, according to a statement from the health system.

3. Northwell Health in new Hyde Park, N.Y., began canceling elective surgeries and procedures at its hospitals on March 16. Elective surgeries, endoscopies and other invasive procedures at the system's outpatient facilities will continue if they are deemed clinically necessary; however, they will be postponed or canceled if they are deemed non-essential. The new policy is applied to surgeries through April 15.

4. Hackensack Meridian Health, based in Edison, N.J., postponed non-urgent and non-emergency hospital or campus-based surgeries and procedures for two weeks, beginning March 17, according to a statement from the health system.

5. Beaumont Health, based in Troy, Mich., plans to limit or reduce non-essential surgeries later this week. The system created a physician-led task force to develop guidelines around canceling elective procedures, but elective surgeries will go on as planned for March 16, according to the health system's website.

6. Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City suspended all non-essential treatments, but the hospital will continue to care for admitted patients and provide necessary follow-up care. The health system is also adding capacity to treat orthopedic injuries at its locations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The hospital may also partner with other local healthcare providers to use the excess capacity to provide care for non-COVID-19 patients.

7. Tufts Medical Center in Boston began rescheduling elective procedures last week to prepare for the influx of coronavirus patients, according to CNBC.

8. Greater Baltimore Medical Center will end elective surgeries on March 16, according to The Baltimore Sun.

9. Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis canceled all non-urgent surgeries as of March 17 to ensure healthcare professionals and resources are dedicated to the COVID-19 response, and protect current and potential patients from COVID-19 exposure, according to NBC affiliate WTHR.

10. Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor may reschedule some procedures and outpatient appointments, according to the system's informational website.

11. UW Health in Madison, Wis., is postponing some appointments and procedures due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the health system's website.

12. Swedish Medical Center in Seattle temporarily halted elective inpatient and outpatient surgeries as on March 13, according to the health system's website.

13. Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston is deferring all elective procedures possible to limit coronavirus exposure. The hospital asked each department to identify which patients were appropriate to defer, according to a statement provided to Becker's.

14. Baystate Health in Springfield, Mass., suspended all elective surgery as of March 17, according to a statement provided to Becker's.

15. Mount Sinai Health System in New York City canceled all non-urgent elective surgical and procedural cases on March 16.

16. St. Charles Health Care System in Bend, Ore., halted non-urgent procedures on March 13.

17. University of Utah Medical System in Salt Lake City canceled all elective surgeries, according to a note provided to Becker's.

18. Intermountan Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah, canceled all elective surgeries, according to a note provided to Becker's.

19. Memorial Health System in Springfield, Ill. has postponed any surgical procedure that can be scheduled 30 days out without negatively affecting the patient’s outcome, according to a note provided to Becker's.

20. Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., suspended all elective surgeries and procedures, according to a statement provided to Becker's.

21. Hartford (Conn.) Healthcare is rescheduling elective surgeries, according to at My Record Journal report.

22. Fayette County Memorial Hospital in Washington Court House, Ohio, canceled all elective, non-urgent surgeries as of March 18, according to the Record Herald.

23. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., deferred all elective surgeries for eight or more weeks, effective March 23 at all Mayo locations, according to a health system news release.

24. Butler (Pa.) Health System suspended all elective and non-emergent surgeries for two weeks, beginning March 16.

25. Augusta (Ga.) University Health is canceling all elective surgeries from March 18 through April 5, according to a report from WJBF.

26. Beaumont Health in Royal Oak, Mich., issued notice Wednesday that it would begin "limiting or reducing nonessential surgeries later this week." No date of effect was specified.

27. Baptist Health Richmond (Ky.) has suspended elective procedures starting Thursday, according to the Richmond Register.

28. Geisinger in Danville, Pa., placed a two-week hold on elective and nonurgent procedures effective March 19.

29. Bloomington, Minn.-based HealthPartners suspended all elective surgeries, procedures and nonessential radiology services through April 3. The system will not schedule surgeries until after April 27.

30. NCH Healthcare System in Naples, Fla., is canceling all elective surgeries effective Thursday. Each physician is responsible for sharing this communication with their patients.

31. Northwestern Medicine in Chicago is rescheduling nontime sensitive surgical and other procedures to a time when such delay will not impact their clinical outcome, per a system statement issued Wednesday. The system is in the process of reaching out to patients to reschedule accordingly.

32. Hershey, Pa.-based Penn State Health will suspend nonessential and elective surgeries across its two hospitals starting March 19. Surgeons began conducting reviews of their surgical cases and OR schedules on March 16 with intent to cancel procedures.

33. Duluth, Minn.-based St. Luke’s is rescheduling "many" routine clinic appointments, elective surgeries and procedures, beginning Thursday through April 1. St. Luke’s will contact patients to let them know if their appointment is rescheduled.

34. UNC Health Care in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Health in Durham, N.C., and WakeMed in Wake Forest, N.C., all began rescheduling non-critical surgeries and appointments on March 18 to shift resources to preparing for the coronavirus outbreak.

If you would like to submit an update for this list, contact Laura Dyrda at ldyrda@beckershealthcare.com

This article was last updated at 7:21 a.m. CDT on March 20 to include additional hospitals and health systems halting elective or non-essential surgery.

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