NYSDOH Updates Requirement for COVID-19 Testing Prior to an Elective Surgery

Amended guidance issued by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) directs hospitals and healthcare facilities to test patients for COVID-19 five days prior to an elective surgery, a revision to the previous regulation which required testing three days before a procedure. The NYSDOH advisory says the order extends to inpatients and outpatients in hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, office-based surgery practices and diagnostic and treatment centers. Test results for every patient must be received, reviewed, and confirmed as negative prior to the surgery.

Communication from the Medical Society of the State of New York says the update is important because, in many cases, the three-day time frame can’t be met, “thereby creating impediments to patients having needed surgeries that had already been postponed due to the prohibition on the performance of elective surgery.”

State officials emphasize that eligibility to perform non-essential and non-urgent surgeries is still subject to a number of COVID-19-related metrics in each county. Hospitals and healthcare systems must remain diligent in monitoring bed capacity, hospitalizations and rates of virus transmission, and make adjustments to operations as needed. The complete list of requirements is outlined in a recent NYSDOH Executive Order.

Policyholders are reminded to visit the NYSDOH and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services websites for up-to-date information on health laws, instruction on resuming operations and more. MLMIC also encourages providers to review all COVID-19-related updates on our resource page and continue to monitor our blog for additional guidance on safely managing practices during the pandemic.