Gabriel Perna | March 23, 2020
The Hospital for Special Surgery, a musculoskeletal health system based in New York City, went from full capacity to 15-20 percent capacity in one week.
It was a deliberate decision as COVID-19 runs rampant throughout the city, New York State and across America. Normally the specialty health care provider would be full of patients who have orthopedic and rheumatologic conditions. But for HSS’ CEO Lou Shapiro, the decision to cease all non-essential care and free up hospital beds was a no brainer.
“The balance of our resources, supplies, human resources and fiscal capacity are being repurposed to enable us to provide essential care more broadly and differently. And importantly, for us to allocate all excess resources to join forces with New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical Center to win this battle we’re in,” says Shapiro.
New York State has 5 percent of all coronavirus cases worldwide and nearly two-thirds of those are in New York City. Capacity needs to be expanded anywhere and everywhere, whether that’s the Javits Convention Center in Midtown Manhattan, a Navy hospital ship docked in New York Harbor or by HSS suspending non-essential care to take on non-COVID-19 patients in need of essential care from nearby health systems.
Health Evolution spoke with Shapiro about the decision to suspend non-essential care, how the system is working with other health care providers in NYC, and what he hopes the long-term impact of this crisis will be.