Announcer: CBS 6 Traffic Report is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Helping you is what we do.
Melissa: With a new variant of the Coronavirus identified, Governor Hochul has shifted her focus to ensuring hospitals have ample bed capacity to deal with any potential spike in COVID-19 cases. The governor recently signed an executive order that would allow the New York State Department of Health the authority to postpone nonessential surgeries at certain hospitals. Here to help examine this issue is managing partner Paul Harding, with the law firm of Martin, Harding, & Mazzotti. Paul, nice to see you today.
Paul: Thank you, you too.
Melissa: All right, so we’re gonna get right into it. Does this mean hospitals will not be performing surgeries at all?
Paul: No, doesn’t mean that at all, they’re going to be able to perform surgeries. In fact, uniquely, it’s only about 30% to 35% of hospitals that are going to fall within this executive order. So she’s not saying all hospitals, she’s saying these hospitals. So the normal surgeries that they have scheduled where people have an emergency, or there’s a life or death situation, they’ll go on as usual. The elective part of it is what could be subjected to a cancellation if you’re at one of those chosen hospitals.
Melissa: Now, don’t hospitals already have the ability to kind of self-regulate the number of surgeries that are performed, and don’t most already do that?
Paul: They do, but the governor is going to…hopefully, she knows more than the rest of us know, and she’s getting the information quicker and spend more time on that. So she wants to create as much cushion as she can between the amount of folks in the hospital and the amount of folks that could end up in the hospital if there’s a surge. So, guess you know, somebody’s in charge, in this case it’s the governor through the executive order.
Melissa: So we’re talking about people who are basically saying, you know, “I’m uncomfortable, I’m in pain,” but are essentially being told that, “I’m sorry, we can’t do anything about that pain right now.” Are there legal ramifications for hospitals in this sense?
Paul: Well, if they ignore the executive order, and they do the procedure, maybe you have a happy, you know, patient, but then you’re going to have a real entanglement with the New York State Health Department and they’re going to shy away from that. But again, not all hospitals fall under this. The best thing to do is to look for another facility, maybe where your doctor has privileges. But, ultimately, sure. But again, if they see emergency, they see that this is life-threatening, they’re going to continue to do the procedure up to this point. That could change too, based on the number of folks who were being brought in through COVID. But right now, it’s going to be select another hospital and/or wait.
Melissa: All right. Paul, thank you so much for answering our questions. Of course, if you’d like more information on this topic, you can head to our website, cbs6albany.com.