Baker orders hospitals facing bed shortages to reduce scheduled, nonessential procedures

Governor Charlie Baker ordered hospitals in Massachusetts facing bed shortages to reduce certain planned non-essential or non-urgent medical procedures starting Monday, November 29.

The updated guidelines, released Tuesday, are in response to critical staff shortages in the state’s health system.

The move to reduce voting procedures would help ensure there are enough inpatient beds for “immediate healthcare needs,” according to a statement from the Baker administration. Staff shortages have “contributed to the loss of approximately 500 medico-surgical and critical care beds across the Commonwealth”.

In the statement, Minister of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said:

“The current strain on hospital capacity is due to longer than average hospital stays and a significant labor shortage, regardless of the challenges posed by COVID. COVID hospital stays in Massachusetts are still lower than almost any other state in the nation, but the challenges facing the health system remain, and this arrangement will ensure that hospitals can care for all residents, including those seeking treatment for COVID -19 need. “

Dr. Eric Dickson, President and CEO of UMass Memorial Health, told WBUR on Tuesday that his healthcare system was over-capacity.

“We have 44 patients in the emergency room waiting for beds,” he said. “Six of them need intensive care beds, and at this point we don’t have beds for that.”

Heads of state said the appointment was made in partnership with the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association.

With coverage by WBURs Matt Ledin and Jonathan Cain

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