The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Order, announced Tuesday and developed by the Baker-Polito administration and the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, goes into effect Monday, Nov. 29.
It instructs any hospital or hospital system that has limited capacity to start reducing “non-essential, non-urgent scheduled procedures that may require the use of bed capacity and/or services,” according to the order. The guidance is aimed at preserving capacity for more pressing health needs.
State officials said the changes were due largely to ripple effects of the pandemic, including staffing shortages across the health care system and about 500 fewer beds available statewide in both medical/surgical and intensive care units.
There is also “an unusually high number of patients with other health problems – many of whom were hesitant to seek treatment during the height of the pandemic and whose health issues have become more serious over time,” said Dr. Kevin Tabb, president & CEO of Beth Israel Lahey