New York to halt elective procedures at 32 hospitals amid COVID-19 surge

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New York will require 32 hospitals with limited capacity to halt nonurgent elective procedures as COVID-19 cases increase in the state, according to state officials.

Health department officials issued determinations at the hospitals Dec. 6, applying to procedures scheduled to occur on or after Dec. 9.

The determinations were issued as part of an executive order announced Nov. 26 by Gov. Kathy Hochul, which allows the state to limit nonurgent procedures for hospitals and health systems with limited capacity to ensure the organizations can address potential capacity constraints. The state defined limited capacity as below 10 percent staffed bed capacity, or as determined by the health department based on regional and healthcare utilization factors.

As of Dec. 6, the final determination included 32 upstate facilities in the North Country, Mohawk Valley, Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York and Finger Lakes regions. They are:

  • A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital
  • Albany Medical Center Hospital
  • Brooks-TLC Hospital System
  • Canton-Potsdam Hospital
  • Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center
  • Crouse Hospital
  • Erie County Medical Center
  • F.F. Thompson Hospital
  • Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare-St. Luke's Division
  • Geneva General Hospital
  • Glens Falls Hospital
  • Guthrie Cortland Medical Center
  • Highland Hospital
  • Little Falls Hospital
  • Mercy Hospital of Buffalo
  • Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center
  • Oneida Health Hospital
  • Oswego Hospital
  • Rochester General Hospital
  • Saratoga Hospital
  • Sisters of Charity Hospital
  • St. Elizabeth Medical Center
  • St. Mary's Healthcare
  • Strong Memorial Hospital
  • The Unity Hospital of Rochester
  • The University of Vermont Health Network-Alice Hyde Medical Center
  • The University of Vermont Health Network-Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
  • The University of Vermont Health Network-Elizabethtown Community Hospital
  • University Hospital SUNY Health Science Center
  • UPMC Chautauqua at WCA
  • Upstate University Hospital at Community General
  • Wyoming County Community Hospital

State officials said procedures not covered by the governor's order are those for cancer (including diagnostic procedure of suspected cancer), neurosurgery, intractable pain, highly symptomatic patients, transplants, trauma, cardiac with symptoms, limb-threatening vascular procedures, dialysis vascular access and patients "at a clinically high risk of harm if their procedures are not completed."

In addition to New York requiring 32 hospitals to postpone electives, Buffalo, N.Y.-based Kaleida Health is proactively postponing elective inpatient surgeries at Buffalo General Medical Center and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.

In a Dec. 6 news release, the health system said it is taking this action given a reduction in workforce, the subsequent reduction in staffed beds, the significant rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations across its facilities and the increase in COVID-19 cases in the region.

Kaleida Health said the organization fired about 100 employees Dec. 6, in accordance with the state's vaccination mandate for healthcare workers, who had previously been granted a religious exemption and chose not to receive their initial shot by the state's Dec. 5 deadline. Overall, about 200 workers have now been separated from the organization related to the state vaccination mandate.

Across New York, new daily COVID-19 hospitalization rates have risen 30 percent over the last two weeks, according to data tracked by The New York Times.

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