N.Y. State not halting elective surgeries in hospitals just yet

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — An executive order, which was to take affect on Friday, has been delayed for five more days.

As of Friday afternoon, the New York State Department of Health adjusted plans for a more ‘coordinated and collaborative approach’ to the more than 50 hospitals across the state which currently have a bed capacity of 10% of lower. The list includes the following Western New York hospitals;

  • ECMC
  • Mercy Hospital
  • Sisters of Charity
  • Mt. St. Mary’s
  • Brooks Hospital
  • WCA-Jamestown
  • Wyoming County Community

Some of those hospitals had already stopped doing inpatient elective surgeries weeks or months ago. They will each be contacted over the weekend by the State Health Department to make assessments for each hospital and a determination will be made on Monday regarding which ones would need to stop inpatient and outpatient elective surgeries effective next Thursday.

Mercy Hospital of Buffalo lost 60 employees during a recent strike and, although the remaining 1,800 workers have only been back to work for a few weeks, union leader Jackie Ettipio says staffing levels are no better than they were before.

“You can’t open the bed if you can’t take care of the staff, and you need the staff in order to take care of the patient,” said Ettipio, the president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1133. “It’s like when you’re on a plane, the first thing they say is when you run out of oxygen is do it to yourself, then your child and if we don’t take care of the nurses, the respiratory therapists, the ITA’s and the aides, the patient is gonna suffer because we just don’t have it in us anymore. We’re broken.”

In response to those staffing concerns, Catholic Health says every hospital in WNY is challenged right now with the fourth wave of Covid filling capacity. The administration has -Increased recruitment initiatives and redeployed management teams & staff, and is building more flexibility into staffing models, according to JoAnn Cavanaugh, director of public relations for Catholic Health.

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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