Fifty-six hospitals in New York are facing limited staffed bed capacity and could be directed to postpone elective surgeries and other procedures, state Department of Health officials on Thursday said.
The list of hospitals has grown from the initial 37 facilities in the six days since Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the executive order, which is set to take effect on Friday. At the moment, no hospitals have been ordered to limit procedures based on that order.
The hospitals facing staffed bed capacity issues are based around the state, including Harlem Hospital Center in Manhattan and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens. In the Capital Region, Albany Medical Center remains on the list as does Glens Falls Hospital. Rochester's Strong Memorial is on the list, as are the two Upstate hospitals in Syracuse. Among the Western New York hospitals, Erie County Medical Center is on the watch list.
Hospitals that are considered due to be under strained capacity by health officials are those that currently have 10% staff bed capacity remaining, or as determined by the Department of Health based on regional health care utilization factors.
Hochul on Wednesday in a news conference told reporters the capacity problems for health care facilities stems in part from a lack of staffing due to a range of factors, including the state's vaccination mandate for health care workers and people who have left the health care field entirely amid the stress of the ongoing pandemic.
Nursing home advocates, including those in the non-profit sector, have urged Hochul to tap into federal Medicaid dollars in order to boost recruitment and retention of workers. Staffing issues at nursing homes have also led hospitals to be unable to discharge patients to those facilities, said Jim Clyne, the president and CEO of the group Leading Age NY.
"What happens then is people get backed up in hospitals. They don't need hospital care, but the hospitals don't have the ability to discharge them because the nursing homes can't take them," Clyne said on Wednesday. "So it really bogs down the system."
New York reported on Wednesday there are more than 3,000 people hospitalized due to COVID-19.
Hochul has said trained members of the New York National Guard are being mobilized to bolster staffing needs at health care facilities.