Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that elective outpatient treatments can resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of COVID-19 surge in the near-term.
Finger Lakes Health announced that they will resume performing elective outpatient surgeries on April 28, 2020 in accordance with the guidelines.
“At Finger Lakes Health, we are committed to our mission of improving the health and well-being of the communities we serve. We know that many in our community have been delaying diagnostics, treatments, and elective procedures while staying home and adhering to public health advice and the Pause NY order to protect our friends, family, and neighbors,” President and CEO, Dr. Jose Acevedo said. “We at Finger Lakes Health are deeply appreciative for your efforts to protect each other and to keep our healthcare workforce safe. Thank you. We are also mindful that to manage chronic health conditions and to maintain and improve health, there are many who need services, which have been delayed or rescheduled. We are so pleased to be ready and able to now re-open these services to serve you.”
Finger Lakes Health will have testing protocols in place. Any prospective surgical patient who tests positive for COVID-19 will be notified and surgery will be deferred for a minimum of 30 days.
“We are committed to your health and safety. Toward that end, we have continued to adhere to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance related to masking. We screen and take the temperature of each staff member upon arrival to work at our facilities. In addition, our exceptionally trained and dedicated housekeeping staff sanitize and disinfect according to CDC guidelines and New York State Department of Health regulations. Upon arrival at our facilities, patients will be screened and will be provided with and expected to wear a mask. We will continue the “no visitor” protocols in place to reduce volume and have redesigned our spaces and processes to employ social distancing protocols as appropriate,” Acevedo added.
In addition to outpatient areas re-opening to deliver care, we continue to offer telemedicine visits at all our hospital and FLH Medical P.C. practices and both FLH Medical P.C. Urgent Care locations. Throughout this COVID-19 response, FLH’s two emergency rooms at Geneva General Hospital and Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital have remained open 24 hours.
Related to Emergency Services, Director of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Matthew Talbott added, “We urge you to utilize the Emergency Departments for any circumstances that you would have prior to this COVID-19 pandemic, as we know there are community members and people across the nation who are not seeking care for stroke symptoms, chest pain and other emergent concerns. There is no need to forgo critical emergency care. We are here for you.”
Finger Lakes Health will be following The New York State Department of Health guidance on resuming elective surgeries. In accordance with the Governor’s guidance when the hospital capacity is over 25 percent for the county and if there have been fewer than 10 new hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in the county over the past 10 days, we will be offering elective outpatient treatments. As with all counties or hospitals that resume elective surgery, if FLH experiences a decrease in hospital capacity below the 25 percent threshold or an increase of 10 or more new hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients, any elective surgeries will cease.
The importance of hospital capacity related to the elective surgery scheduling is to ensure that we have enough available beds to manage patient need, should we see a surge of COVID-19 patients. By only performing elective procedures when we have ample bed capacity it allows hospitals to provide needed care for essential and elective surgeries while also maintaining emergency preparedness and readiness in case of a surge of patients with coronavirus patients.
Currently restrictions on elective surgery remain in place in Yates, Schuyler, Bronx, Queens, Rockland, Nassau, Clinton, Westchester, Albany, Richmond, Kings, Suffolk, New York, Dutchess, Sullivan, Ulster, Erie, Orange and Rensselaer Counties as the state continues to monitor the rate of new COVID-19 infections in the region.