Some NY state hospitals ordered to limit elective procedures

It’s now official. As NewsChannel 13 told you last week, 32 hospitals across the state will start to limit non-essential procedures on Thursday, Dec. 9.

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Four hospitals on that list are in the Capital Region: Albany Medical Center, Glens Falls Hospital, Saratoga Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare.

This initiative is part of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive order to limit procedures at facilities with 10% or less bed availability. This is to combat increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The state Department of Health sent guidance to those 32 hospitals, laying out everything they need to know.

On that guidance, it lists 10 procedures that are considered essential and will not be postponed or canceled:

  • Cancer, including the diagnostic procedure of suspected cancer
  • Neurosurgery
  • Intractable Pain
  • Highly symptomatic patients
  • Transplants
  • Trauma
  • Cardiac with symptoms
  • Limb threatening vascular procedures
  • Dialysis Vascular Access
  • Patients that are at a clinically high risk of harm if their procedures are not completed

Dr. Ferdinand Venditti, General Director of Albany Medical Center, said the guidance is pretty straightforward. He said some procedures that could get postponed are cosmetic procedures and hernia repairs.

"Some of this is very much at the discretion of both the patient and the surgeon, talking about what’s in the patients’ best interest."

Venditti said changes at Albany Med will be minimal. They already started to make similar changes months ago to make sure they have capacity.

"I’m not sure that the Department of Health’s directive helps us or hurts us, in that regard," he said. "This is the third time we’re going through this. We’ve learned from our experience the last two times, and we’re applying those lessons."

Health officials say you should contact your physician if you have an elective procedure scheduled. Don’t assume that your procedure is canceled.

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DOH said they will review data again next week and update information about limiting elective surgeries at those impacted hospitals.