Glens Falls Hospital has been granted a waiver by New York state to resume elective outpatient surgeries and procedures.
In order to qualify, the hospital had to show that it has a detailed plan in place to resume these surgeries and procedures, and that explicit measures have been taken to insure a potential surge in COVID-19 patients can be handled.
The hospital has a plan in place to “surge” as needed by 54 percent in capacity and beds, officials said.
“This is great news for the community as well as the hospital,” said hospital CEO Dianne Shugrue. “A planned procedure does not mean it is not medically urgent. These are patients who need a painful joint repaired, a diagnostic cardiac procedure, a gallbladder surgery, and many other surgeries and procedures that are important to the health of our patients.”
She said all patients scheduled for planned outpatient surgeries and procedures must be tested for COVID-19 and can only receive their planned care if the test is negative. And they must quarantine before and after their procedure.
The hospital has developed guides for all patients who will be undergoing a scheduled surgical or outpatient procedure. All COVID-19 inpatients are cohorted away from the outpatient procedure areas. Should a procedure require a longer stay due to complications of any kind, the hospital has a wing sterilized and ready that has not been used for any sick patients, officials said.
“We also want to emphasize that we are well prepared to handle emergency cases, “ said Hospital CEO Dianne Shugrue. “If you have chest pains or you are injured—what ever the reason you think you should seek emergency care—we are open, we are taking every precaution to keep you safe, and keep our staff safe.”
Officials said the hospital will begin offering procedures immediately, with a goal of ramping up capacity as fast as is safe and prudent, beginning with simpler procedures and adding more complex procedures as the process evolves.. As capacity increases and the number of cases increases, furloughed staff will be brought back as needed.
The state gave the hospital a waiver after the hospital provided a detailed plan showing that it would still be able to handle a surge of coronavirus patients.
The plan described how the hospital could increase its capacity by 54% if needed.
Patients must first be tested for coronavirus and can only receive non-emergency procedures if they test negative. They must quarantine before and after the procedure as well. Those who need to stay overnight will not stay in any unit used by coronavirus patients. The hospital has sterilized an entire wing that has not been used by any sick patients.
Coronavirus patients are also kept away from the outpatient procedure areas.
Meanwhile, the hospital did not receive any federal funding from the latest stimulus package round of funding for rural hospitals, and the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce is asking people to contact their U.S. representatives and support the hospital.
“We need your voice in contacting our representatives for their help in supporting the Glens Falls Hospital,” the Chamber said.
The representatives are U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, 518-431-4070, www.schumer.senate.gov/contact/email-chuck; U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, 518-431-0120, www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/email-me; and U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, 518-743-0964, stefanik.house.gov/contact/email.
Glens Falls Hospital (GFH) maintains a service area that spans 6,000 square miles across 5 diverse counties. Founded in 1897, it operates an advanced health care delivery system featuring more than 20 regional facilities. A vast array of specialized medical and surgical services are provided in addition to coronary care, behavioral health care, rehabilitation and wellness and others. The main hospital campus is home to the C.R. Wood Cancer Center, the Joyce Stock Snuggery birthing center, the Breast Center and a chronic wound healing center.