Catholic Health Receives Approval to Resume Elective Surgery in Erie County
Catholic Health has received approval from the New York State Department of Health to resume elective surgery in Erie County.
Last Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order (202.25) allowing elective surgeries to resume at hospitals in 35 counties across New York, excluding Erie County, that met a number of specific conditions. As part of the order, hospitals could request a waiver based on their individual status.
Catholic Health submitted a waiver last Thursday on behalf of its Erie County hospitals.
Late Tuesday, the New York State Department of Health notified Catholic Health President and CEO Mark Sullivan of its support for the health system’s waiver to resume elective surgeries at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Sisters of Charity Hospital, and Kenmore Mercy Hospital.
On Wednesday, Catholic Health will finalize key elements of the plan with New York state.
Last week, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Niagara County, also part of Catholic Health, began performing elective surgery as part of the state’s first wave of approvals in counties that had lower numbers of COVID-19 patients.
“I believe the hard work of our entire health care team and the establishment of separate COVID-only facilities at our dedicated treatment facility at St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga and the St. Joseph Post-Acute Center in Orchard Park made this all possible,” Sullivan said. “Because these venues and their dedicated teams care for almost all the COVID-19 patients in Catholic Health, we were able to meet all the conditions of the executive order and request an exemption from the Erie County exclusion.”
Catholic Health opened its dedicated COVID-19 Treatment Center at St. Joseph Campus on March 26 to enhance quality care and create a force multiplier by transferring coronavirus patients from its other hospital emergency departments directly to the Cheektowaga site.
“I would like to personally thank Gov. Cuomo and New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker for enabling us to resume elective surgeries throughout Catholic Health,” Sullivan said. “This decision represents their recognition of the steps we have taken to provide a safe, highly reliable care environment for our patients, physicians and staff during this pandemic, and their confidence in our ability to provide high quality surgical care to our community.”
Catholic Health has convened a perioperative response team and developed a comprehensive plan to resume elective surgeries as quickly as possible.
“We will provide more details in the coming days regarding the processes and safeguards we have put in place to protect everyone’s safety, while working with our medical staff and caregivers to provide our patients with the high quality care that is our hallmark,” Sullivan added.
Kaleida Health Statement on Elective Surgery Waivers
Kaleida Health released the following statement regarding its waiver applications to resume elective surgeries:
“More than six weeks ago, we suspended non-emergency surgical cases and other procedures due to the pandemic. Throughout this time, we have been able to safely care for all patients plus accommodate all emergency and urgent operations.
“In addition to this, we also created significant surge capacity – most notably in our critical care units – added millions in personal protective equipment, expanded COVID-19 testing communitywide and implemented a best-in-class patient and employee safety plan.
“That said, there has been significant patient and employee hardship during this public health crisis. Knowing that we have capacity and can safely resume surgeries, we submitted waiver applications for Oishei Children’s Hospital, Buffalo General Medical Center, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Southtowns Ambulatory Surgery Center as well as the Millard Fillmore Surgery Center.
“These physician and nursing-led waiver plans meet all of the criteria needed to achieve the safe patient care model as outlined in the executive order 202.25 continuing temporary suspension and modification of laws relating to the disaster emergency.
“This is not a race. We have had numerous productive conversations with the State Department of Health this week about our waivers and we remain confident that we will be able to resume limited elective surgeries at our hospitals and surgery centers soon.”