New York limits nonurgent hospital surgeries; ASCs stay open

Hospitals in New York are limiting nonessential, nonurgent procedures based on guidance from Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state's health department as COVID-19 hospitalizations tick up in some areas.

The governor issued an executive order Dec. 3 for hospitals to scale back procedures when possible after some hospitals reported "limited capacity." The announcement came as the state's COVID-19 transmission rate hit its highest mark since April.

On Dec. 6, Ms. Hochul reported COVID-19 patient hospitalizations hit 3,285, up 49 hospitalizations from the previous day.

The order does not apply to ASCs that are not owned by hospitals, office-based surgery practices or freestanding diagnostic and treatment centers. Single-specialty facilities are also exempt. Physician-owned ASCs may see more demand to perform cases excluded from the hospital during this time.

John DiPreta, MD, president of the New York State Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons, criticized the order. In a Dec. 3 statement, he said that the limits will mean patients will delay needed orthopedic surgeries, and their conditions could worsen.

"Unfortunately, due to policies earlier in the pandemic that prohibited elective surgeries, and despite enhanced safety protocols and progress in the fight against COVID-19, thousands of patients in New York State with debilitating pain were not allowed to receive treatment and were also hesitant to engage or reengage with the healthcare system, resulting in delays to care," he wrote. "These delays in surgeries and procedures ultimately resulted in prolonged pain and suffering, significant medical deterioration and materially impacted patients' prognoses, morbidity and/or treatment plans."


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