No choice: Northwell scrubs elective surgeries

Cut: Northwell Health is suspending elective surgeries while COVID-19 runs its course.

New York State’s largest healthcare provider is scrubbing elective surgeries for the next month.

New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health on Monday began canceling nonessential surgeries and procedures in hospitals throughout the state, the latest victims of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The ban does not include elective outpatient surgeries – or other invasive procedures, including endoscopies – performed in outpatient settings. These outpatient procedures will go on “when deemed clinically necessary,” according to Northwell Health.

But non-essential elective procedures scheduled through April 15 will be canceled or postponed “to minimize COVID-19 exposure to patients and staff,” the health system said Sunday.

David Battinelli: Can’t cancel them all.

Patients who need surgeries or other invasive procedures to remain healthy will not be turned away, stressed Northwell Health Chief Medical Officer David Battinelli, who noted that “with appropriate screening of patients and when deemed clinically necessary,” the shows will go on.

“Some planned cases will continue to be performed,” Battinelli said in a statement. “Patient care that may appear routine could, if canceled, result in significant negative impact on our patients’ health.”

Northwell Health also announced Sunday that it’s directing practitioners to reschedule “nonessential visits, unless clinically necessary within the next four weeks.”

Planned imaging procedures – including ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging tests, mammograms and non-invasive cardiology tests – are still a go. But patients scheduled to undergo such procedures through April 15 will be contacted prior to their appointment date “to identify those who may be at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection,” the health system said.

Patients with questions are encouraged to call (833) 4UR-CARE.