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NYS Legislature to hold hearing on impact of COVID-19 on New York state hospitals

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Wed, Aug 12th 2020 09:40 am

Senate and Assembly Health Committee Chairs Sen. Gustavo Rivera and Assembly member Richard Gottfried, Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee Chair James Skoufis, Assembly Oversight, Analysis and Investigation Committee Chair John T. McDonald III and Senate and Assembly Administrative Regulations Review Commission Chairs Sen. Simcha Felder and Assembly member Dan Quart will take testimony to review the impact of COVID-19 on New York state’s hospitals as well as how current hospital policies impacted the approach to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The session begins at 10 a.m. today via Zoom.

In the interest of public health and safety, the hearings will be conducted virtually using web-based video conferencing. 

Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in New York peaked in mid-April at almost 19,000 with more than 5,200 people in intensive care units (ICU) across the state. New York and its hospital system took a number of steps to begin preparing to handle the projected surge in hospital admissions related to COVID-19. Even with the extraordinary measures taken during the early days of the pandemic, due to the surge of cases they experienced, many hospitals still found a need for additional personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other medical equipment to treat the disease and protect hospital staff. In addition, some hospitals experienced a lack of inpatient and ICU beds during this time and the state had to utilize volunteers from across the country and unorthodox locations to ensure adequate space. 

This hearing will explore issues relating to the availability and distribution of PPE, the adequacy of hospital infrastructure, financial strains on hospitals during the state of emergency, the impact of current hospital policies and their approach to address the pandemic, as well as the practices and procedures implemented by hospitals in response to COVID-19, including visitation and isolation policies. The committees will seek to identify what steps can be taken to help prepare the hospital system as well as protect patients and staff in the case of potential future pandemics.

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