What happened the last time elective surgeries were cancelled in Erie County?

Posted at 6:39 PM, Dec 02, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — With each day, the hospitalization rate continues to climb in Erie County, which is why the state has ordered all elective surgeries to stop effective Friday.

"We expanded Western New York hospital capacity by ending elective surgeries that, in essence, opens beds and expands the capacity of the hospital," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

The fallout is expected to be costly. This past spring, Catholic Health, Kaleida Health, and ECMC all suffered financially from the loss of a major source of revenue.

Catholic Health, which actually stopped elective surgeries weeks ago, furloughed 1,200 employees due to pandemic struggles in April.

Kaleida Health offered thirty-day voluntary unpaid leave during that same time.

ECMC was forced to trim 20 million in annual costs, half of those cuts were to staff.

According to many local hospitals, there has been confusion over what is actually considered an "elective surgery". According to Kaleida Health, "It does not apply to elective procedures at ambulatory surgery centers, office-based facilities or freestanding diagnostic and treatment centers at this time."

This lack of elective surgeries does not seem to benefit other hospitals. When speaking with Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Mount St. Mary’s in Lewiston and Olean General, all told us they are not seeing interest from Erie County doctors to move their procedures elsewhere at this point. They say it can be incredibly difficult to move an elective surgery out of county.