New York State Department of Health Provides Further Guidance Regarding Non-Essential Elective Surgeries and Non-Urgent Procedures


On March 23, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.10 directing that the New York State Department of Health's ("NYSDOH") Commissioner of Health order all hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, office-based surgery practices and diagnostic treatment centers (each, a "facility") to increase the number of beds available to COVID-19 patients, including by canceling all elective surgeries and procedures. Complying with Executive Order 202.10, the NYSDOH issued such a directive, which includes instructions specific to each facility type. Any facility that fails to comply with the directive may be subject to civil penalties and the revocation of its operating certificate, license or other certifications necessary to continue in operation.

Pursuant to the NYSDOH's directive, all facilities must suspend all non-essential elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures as outlined in the directive no later than March 25, 2020. These include the following: (1) outpatient surgeries for patients with non-life threatening illnesses such as carpal tunnel release, EGD, colonoscopy and cataract surgery; (2) low acuity surgeries for unhealthy patients, such as endoscopies; (3) surgeries for non-life threatening illnesses that have the potential for future morbidity and mortality, including hip and knee replacements, elective spine surgery and elective angioplasty; and (4) all intermediate and high acuity surgeries – even for unhealthy patients.

The NYSDOH directive also requires hospitals to submit COVID-19 Plans detailing how they will potentially increase their bed capacity by a minimum of 50%, and by 100%, if possible. Notably, one method for a hospital to increase surge capacity is to use other facilities, such as diagnostic and treatment centers and ambulatory surgery centers. If the other facility is not controlled by the hospital, the hospital is instructed to present a letter of intent to that effect to the facility.

All facilities are directed to reschedule unnecessary appointments and/or utilize telehealth modalities to provide care to the greatest extent possible and to prioritize the rescheduling of elective and non-urgent surgeries that are canceled throughout the COVID-19 response when normal operations are resumed.

For more information, please contact CCB Law.