Massachusetts hospitals to cut elective procedures
Massachusetts hospitals will cut non-scheduled procedures starting Monday due to staff shortages and longer patient hospital stays, according to state health officials.
Coronavirus cases have been rising in Massachusetts for several weeks, but hospitalization rates have been low. Officials said the pressure on hospitals is related to other consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
The massive pandemic-induced staff shortage has contributed to the loss of nearly 500 medical, surgical and ICU hospital beds in Massachusetts, according to the state. And hospitals are seeing an influx of patients who need more complex treatment for health issues because they delayed visits to doctors when the number of Covid cases were high.
The order, issued on Tuesday, applies to hospitals where less than 15 per cent of beds are available, and applies only to procedures that are already scheduled and can be delayed without negatively impacting patients’ health. This does not apply to urgent and urgent procedures.
Officials said the order would help prepare for the annual increase in hospitals typically seen after Thanksgiving and through January.
State Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said in a statement on Tuesday: “Covid hospitalizations in Massachusetts are lower than in nearly every other state in the country, but challenges remain for the health care system, and this order will ensure the hospital can serve all residents, including those who need treatment for COVID-19.”
In Massachusetts, new cases have risen from an average of about 1,300 earlier this month to more than 2,800, and hospitalizations have increased by 47 percent in the past 14 days, according to the New York Times database. As of Wednesday morning, 740 people had been hospitalized for Covid-19, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
State officials worked with the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association to develop the guidelines. Dr Eric Dixon, the Association’s Board President and President and CEO of UMass Memorial Health, said in a statement: “While we recognize that the delay in certain scheduled surgeries can be a significant hardship for patients, we believe it is an essential The move is to assure that all hospitals in the Commonwealth can continue to meet the needs of patients in need of emergency care.”
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