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New York COVID-19 response shifts focus to hospital capacity

In response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the governor announced Monday that the state will enter a new phase of COVID-19 response. The new formula is designed to ensure that health systems and hospitals can accommodate increased demand and to provide emergency actions if a system becomes overwhelmed. Several metrics will be added to the cluster-zone formula to assess capacity including hospitalization and death rates, availability of beds, staff, PPE and other equipment and effective patient load management. Additionally, hospitals must prepare to implement statewide surge and flex plans, which includes increasing staff, bed capacity and PPE stockpiles and determining how to move patients among systems.

Gov. Cuomo also issued EO 202.79 which extends the declaration of emergency and the majority of essential healthcare- and workforce-related waivers another thirty days to Jan. 1. This EO also included a provision to ensure patient load management can be implemented by suspending 10 NYCRR 405.9 (h)(7) to “permit general hospitals treating patients during the disaster emergency to rapidly transfer or receive such patients and to enable inter- or intra-system patient load-balancing as may be required by the Commissioner of Health, provided such facilities take all reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of such patients including safe transfer practices.”

HANYS will continue to review and provide updates as new information and guidance becomes available. Contact: Katie Gordon

Published December 4, 2020