No state mandate, but Rochester Regional joins UR Medicine in ‘limiting’ some surgeries

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — There’s an important update for anyone who has a scheduled surgery coming up.

At 4:45 p.m. Friday, Rochester Regional Health emailed News10NBC to say, "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 important word there is "inpatient" meaning a surgery that requires a hospital stay.

Thursday, UR Medicine announced it’s limiting some procedures, but despite the power to do it, the governor did not issue a state-wide postponement.

Under an executive order, Governor Kathy Hochul has the authority to order hospitals to delay elective surgeries. She did not exercise that power Friday.

But starting Monday, the state will look at each hospital, how many patients they have, and decide that week whether some procedures should wait.

The governor’s office released a new list of hospitals with a capacity problem, meaning too many patients and not enough staff.

In the Finger Lakes, the hospitals include:

  • Strong.
  • Unity.
  • F.F. Thompson in Canandaigua
  • Geneva General
  • Wyoming Community

Thursday, UR Medicine voluntarily decided to postpone some elective surgeries that require some recovery in a hospital for the next three weeks.

This hospital capacity crisis is why the state is calling in the National Guard.

Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, (D) New York: "Their job will be to help patients who have been transferred to the nursing home."

Starting Monday, 26 guard members working in teams of two will care for patients at Monroe Community Hospital, the county’s nursing home.

Eric Durr is with the New York National Guard.

Eric Durr: "They are trained to the level of EMT. That means they can give injections. They can put an IV in. Obviously, they can do other things. Army medics are trained to do all this while people are shooting at them."

Adding the national guard staff will allow hospitals like Strong and Unity to release patients to the nursing home who don’t need to be in the hospital any longer.

Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, (D) New York: "The goal is to try to bring more people out of the hospitals who don’t have to be there who could be in nursing homes but the nursing homes aren’t accepting them because they don’t have the capacity in terms of staffing."

According to the governor’s executive order, there is a list of procedures that will never be postponed.

  • Cancer, including 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

Also according to the governor’s executive order, there will be at least a week’s notice before any procedure is postponed.