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Massachusetts calls on hospitals to cut back elective procedures amid staffing shortages

Massachusetts is requiring hospitals and well being methods to cut back non-urgent scheduled surgical procedures. However, the highest purpose is not due to a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The state’s Division of Public Well being launched steerage this week to hospitals that goals to preserve inpatient hospital capability, with a serious staffing scarcity and a wave of non-COVID-19 care key drivers of the choice.

The order goes into impact on Nov. 29 and requires any hospital or system that has a restricted capability to curb any non-essential and non-urgent procedures.

A key driver of the steerage is a staffing scarcity that has swept throughout the hospital business not simply in Massachusetts however throughout the nation.

“This staffing scarcity has additionally contributed to the lack of roughly 500 medical/surgical and ICU hospital beds throughout the commonwealth,” in accordance with a launch on the steerage.

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One other driver was a priority of an inflow of non-COVID-19 care that was deferred as a result of pandemic.

Massachusetts was additionally fearful about annual will increase of hospitalizations usually seen after the Thanksgiving vacation by means of January.

The order comes although COVID-19 hospitalizations within the state are decrease than “virtually each different state within the nation,” mentioned Marylou Sanders, the state’s secretary of well being and human companies, in an announcement.

The steerage calls any non-essential process as one that’s scheduled prematurely as a result of it isn’t a medical emergency. The discount additionally won’t have any impression on pressing or important procedures.

Massachusetts’ steerage was crafted with assist from the Massachusetts Well being & Hospital Affiliation and different suppliers within the state.

“Whereas we acknowledge that delaying some prescheduled surgical procedures could current a major hardship for sufferers, we consider it’s a needed step to guarantee that the entire Commonwealth’s hospitals can proceed to satisfy the wants of sufferers requiring emergency care,” mentioned Eric Dickson, the president and CEO of UMass Memorial Well being and a board member on the affiliation.

States required hospitals to postpone or cancel elective procedures on the onset of the pandemic to protect capability to battle the crush of COVID-19 instances.

Some states have known as for comparable pauses this 12 months, together with Texas, however that was in response to renewed surges of the virus and never resulting from exacerbating points like staffing and deferred care.

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