As part of its efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Northwell Health on Monday will begin canceling elective surgeries and procedures performed in its hospitals. The new guidelines will NOT apply to emergency surgeries performed in Northwell hospitals.
Elective surgeries, endoscopies and other invasive procedures in the health system’s outpatient settings will continue to be performed when deemed clinically necessary. If they are considered non-essential, the elective cases will be postponed or canceled to minimize COVID-19 exposure to patients and staff.
“With appropriate screening of patients and when deemed clinically necessary, some planned cases will continue to be performed,” said Northwell Chief Medical Officer David Battinelli, MD. “Patient care that may appear routine could, if canceled, result in significant negative impact on our patients’ health.”
This new health system-wide approach will apply to surgeries and procedures scheduled through April 15.
To further reduce the volume of patients coming into its facilities, Northwell is also directing its practitioners to reschedule non-essential visits unless clinically necessary within the next four weeks.
Planned imaging procedures such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), mammograms and non-invasive cardiology testing will NOT be canceled at this time. Patients confirmed for imaging appoints will be contacted prior to their scheduled visits to identify those who may be at higher risk of COVID-19 infection.
To pursue alternative approaches to patient care, Northwell is expanding telehealth access to its practitioners.