UR Medicine hospitals will implement a three-week pause on elective and semi-elective surgical procedures that require inpatient hospital stays, beginning Dec. 6. Outpatient procedures will continue at hospitals and surgery centers throughout the system.
The pause on elective inpatient surgeries will help UR Medicine maintain capacity for acute-care patients as COVID hospitalizations increase in the Finger Lakes region. This is in keeping with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Nov. 26 executive order requiring hospitals with less than 10 percent inpatient bed capacity to postpone non-emergency procedures.
Elective and semi-elective cases are those that can be delayed three months or longer without undue risk of harm to the patient, based on a review by teams of surgeons and other medical professionals. The pause affects only procedures that would require post-operative inpatient care in the hospital. Most UR Medicine hospitals already had postponed many of these elective inpatient cases in recent weeks, so relatively few scheduled surgeries will be delayed. Patients will be contacted directly if their case must be postponed; they do not need to contact their surgeon’s office.
UR Medicine, along with other health systems, have implemented temporary pauses on elective procedures earlier in the pandemic to ensure the community has immediate access to critical care.
Two key factors contribute to the current capacity challenge:
- High numbers of COVID patients in inpatient and ICU beds – as of Nov. 30, 110 active cases at Strong Memorial, and 254 across the six-hospital UR Medicine system.
- Inability to discharge “alternative level of care” patients, who no longer need inpatient care, to nursing homes because those facilities lack adequate staff – as of Nov. 30, 44 ALC patients at Strong Memorial, and 98 across the system.
UR Medicine hospitals will resume full surgery schedules as soon as conditions and available resources allow.