Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and NYS Department of Health Commissioner Howard A. Zucker have ordered all medical facilities located in New York State—i.e. hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, office-based surgery practices, and diagnostic & treatment centers—to take certain measures aimed at increasing bed capacity for COVID-19 patients.
An official DOH directive, dated March 23, 2020 and issued pursuant to the Governor's executive order, distinguished between the obligations of hospitals and other facilities, as discussed below. All facilities, however, are advised that failure to comply with applicable COVID-19 directives issued by DOH could lead to sanctions, including loss of operating certificate, licenses or other certifications.
Pursuant to the DOH directive, facilities such as ambulatory surgery centers, office-based surgery practices, and diagnostic & treatment centers must cancel all non-essential elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures.The DOH and Centers for Disease Control issued further guidance regarding which procedures are non-essential and must be canceled.All facilities are also urged to reschedule non-urgent appointments and utilize telemedicine as much as possible.
The DOH directive for hospitals is broader, with a stated preferred goal that hospitals increase their bed capacity by 100% but mandated that each hospitals, at minimum, submit a plan to DOH for increasing their Covid-19 bed capacity by 50% percent, and to provide adequate staffing and medical equipment for such increase. Pursuant to the Governor's executive order, all rules and regulations pertaining to increasing hospital bed capacity are waived.