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Catholic Health hospitals approved to resume elective surgeries

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Posted at 9:27 AM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 20:21:22-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Catholic Health has received approval from New York State's Department of Health to resume elective surgeries in Erie County.

Last week, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order allowing elective surgeries to resume at 35 hospitals in New York State, excluding Erie County. Hospitals were able to apply for a waiver, and Catholic Health submitted its waiver last week. The hospital system found out yesterday it had been approved to resume elective surgeries at Mercy Hospital, Sisters of Charity Hospital and Kenmore Mercy Hospital. Additionally, Mount St. Mary's Hospital in Niagara County is also able to perform elective surgeries.

Catholic Health still has one hospital dedicated to the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The hospital system's St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga is treating coronavirus patients, and Catholic Health is able to transfer patients from other hospital emergency rooms to St. Joseph's.

ECMC and Kaleida Health have also submitted a waiver. But, both hospitals said they haven't heard back.

Kaleida Health issued the following statement:

“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 community-wide 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.”

As for Catholic Health, it plans to resume surgeries next week. It will bring back between 250-300 of its 1350 furloughed employees.