Hochul: No ‘blanket’ order requiring pause on elective surgeries, state working on further guidance

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office Friday said there will not be a "blanket order" requiring hospitals with certain capacity limits to limit elective surgeries.

The office confirmed to News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke it is working on guidance and plans with individual health systems and expect to have those action plans ready by Monday. Click here to read the guidance released Friday afternoon.

The "blanket" term comes from criticism launched Hochul’s way earlier in the day by Dr. John DiPreta, who is the President of the New York State Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Previously, it was thought Hochul would direct all healthcare systems that are under 10% capacity to postpone non-emergency procedures as part of the state’s disaster emergency.

While in Rochester Friday, Lieutenant Gov. Brian Benjamin said 57 hospitals are now on that less than 10% capacity list.

According to Lewke, guidance should be released later Friday as it relates to what the state considers to be non-essential and essential. As mentioned, any plans would be ready by Monday, which is when UR Medicine’s hospitals will implement a three-week pause on "elective and semi-elective" surgeries that require a hospital stay.

Elective/semi-elective cases are those that can be delayed three months or longer without undue risk of harm to a patient. It’s based on a review by teams of surgeons and other medical professionals.

Rochester Regional Health is also taking its own measures. It released the following statement on Friday:

“Rochester Regional Health is aware of the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) updates to limit non-essential elective procedures. RRH has already taken the active step of limiting inpatient elective surgeries at Rochester General, Unity, and Newark-Wayne Community hospitals beginning next week. Due to the newly released NYS DOH guidelines, further adjustments to surgical schedules may be required. We are actively communicating with our patients as the situation continues to evolve. The health of our patients continues to be a top priority.”