'It's a greed decision': Post-Gazette blasts UPMC for continuing elective surgeries

Mackenzie Bean - Print  | 

Pittsburgh-based UPMC should cancel elective surgeries to conserve supplies and limit the risk of spreading COVID-19, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board wrote March 26. 

By continuing to perform elective surgeries, UPMC is squandering personal protective equipment, unnecessarily filling hospital beds, and putting staff members and other patients at added risk of infection, the editorial board argues.

"This cannot be a medical decision. It's a greed decision," they wrote.

Hospital employees told the Post-Gazette that UPMC is allegedly not testing patients coming in for elective surgery and only testing employees who have had known contact with a COVID-19 patient.

"If that is correct, it is unacceptable," the board wrote. "UPMC must reverse course and not endanger the community's ability to respond to COVID-19. Hospitalized COVID-19 patients should get a fighting chance. That chance is diminished without sufficient medical equipment, resources and hospital beds."

In a statement emailed to Becker's, UPMC said its "careful triaging of upcoming elective procedures" meets CMS guidelines. The health system is continuing some elective procedures only when physicians believe it is not medically responsible to delay. 

"Balancing our patients' ongoing clinical needs with the avoidance of unnecessary exposure requires a nuanced approach — not an across-the-board canceling of clinics and procedures," UPMC said. "We have a multidisciplinary team of experts closely monitoring the situation and will adjust accordingly. UPMC has been preparing since the outset of this virus emergence and before for other clinical challenges. Nothing we do will in any way diminish that preparation."

To view the full editorial, click here.

More articles on patient flow:
Will COVID-19 overwhelm hospitals near you? 16 things to know
Washington healthcare leaders draft statewide plan for care rationing
States halt elective surgeries — except for some professional athletes 

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