Hospitals seek guidance over executive order regarding elective procedures

Hospitals want one main thing before an executive order takes effect Friday, Dec. 3.

"We just need guidance from the [state] Department of Health in terms of exactly what the order means," Ray Agnew, Glens Falls Hospital spokesman.

As part of the order, Glens Falls and other hospitals across the region including Albany Medical Center Hospital, St. Mary’s Healthcare, Saratoga Hospital, and Samaritan Hospital are on a list from the state to potentially limit elective procedures because of limited bed availability. This is to make room for potential COVID-19 patients.

The executive order is causing confusion.

"Well, it appears that it will be certain elective procedures, but we don’t know for sure which ones," Agnew said.

That’s why hospitals are asking for clarity. Even patients have lingering questions.

"We are receiving telephone calls asking what the situation is and there is really not much we can tell them at this point," Agnew said.

Several hospitals tell NewsChannel 13 they are looking to find out how to help their patients if they need to postpone a procedure or send them elsewhere to get it done.

"They’re already established with their primary care physician if it’s an elective surgery with a surgeon, so making changes can be difficult."

Agnew said most of the elective procedures done at Glens Falls Hospital do not require an overnight stay.

The state Health Department tells NewsChannel 13 guidance is coming, but did not tell us a specific day or time.

Glens Falls said to check with your doctor about your elective procedure. If Glens Falls has to cancel or postpone a patient’s elective procedure, they will contact them.