Hospitals preparing to resume surgeries as early as next week

Coronavirus

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Starting next week, hospitals in New York State will have the chance to pick back up on their elective surgeries after Governor Andrew Cuomo gave permission to area hospitals who are not seeing a surge of COVID-19 patients.

The CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital says even though they’re getting the green light from the governor to start elective surgeries next week, they likely will not be able to do so until May. That’s mainly because all of those surgeries have been cancelled and doctors have to get back in touch with their patients and re-qualify them for the procedures. 

St. Joseph’s Hospital CEO Leslie Paul Luke says picking back up on these surgeries will help them financially, along with the cut they’re getting from the federal stimulus package, but they’re certainly not in a good place financially. Luke believes they missed out on at least six weeks of elective surgeries when the hospital did have the capacity and ability to perform those procedures before the surge hit. And even then, they were never close to full capacity, seeing a maximum of 25 COVID-19 patients at one time. 

Slowly, they’ll be hiring back their 500 furloughed workers and getting in touch with their patients.  

“One of the concerns I think some of the public has is coming to the hospital because they’re afraid of COVID. The one thing I can say is actually the hospital is one of the safest places to be right now. Because we know what we’re doing as far as infection control. We know how to take care of COVID. We know how to separate that population as needed,” Luke said.

St. Joseph’s and other hospitals are still looking for more specific guidance from the state as well as to see how much money they are getting from the new stimulus package. Luke says patients should reach back out to their doctors to re-schedule their surgeries. 

Anyone who is coming to St. Joseph’s for a procedure, though, will be tested for COVID-19 beforehand. 

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