Massachusetts governor orders some hospitals to delay nonessential procedures

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed an emergency declaration on Tuesday ordering some hospitals to delay nonessential procedures due to staffing shortages.

The governor, along with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said hospitals that do not have the capacity or staff for patients will have to delay nonessential procedures.

The guidance was also made in coordination with the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association.

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The order, effective Nov. 29, sees nonessential, nonurgent scheduled procedures as procedures that aren’t medical emergencies that were scheduled in advance.

The order was spurred by staffing shortages, which caused the loss of 500 medical/surgical and ICU hospital beds.

“The current strain on hospital capacity is due to longer than average hospital stays and significant workforce shortages, separate and apart from the challenges brought on by COVID,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said. 

“COVID hospitalizations in Massachusetts remain lower than almost every other state in the nation, but the challenges the healthcare system face remain, and this order will ensure hospitals can serve all residents, including those who require treatment for COVID-19,” Sudders added.

The emergency order is in effect until Sudders or Baker ends it.