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As healthcare system strains, Baker urges hospitals to cut back on ‘non-urgent, scheduled procedures’

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BOSTON — The administration of Gov. Charlie Baker, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA), has issued updated hospital guidance “to conserve inpatient hospital capacity and to protect patients and the healthcare workforce in response to several challenges impacting the state’s hospitals,” Baker said in a written statement.

This guidance, jointly developed by MHA and the administration, was agreed upon based on several contributing factors. There is a critical staffing shortage across the healthcare system, largely due to staff shortages stemming from the pandemic.

This staffing shortfall has also contributed to the loss of approximately 500 medical/surgical and ICU hospital beds across the state. These factors, coupled with the current high census level and annual increases in hospitalization commonly seen during the period post-Thanksgiving through January, require this concerted effort to preserve inpatient capacity, Baker said.

The state Department of Public Health released updated guidance to hospitals to reduce certain non-essential, elective services and procedures via a COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Order . Effective Nov. 29, 2021, any hospital or hospital system that has limited capacity must begin to reduce non-essential, non-urgent scheduled procedures to ensure adequate hospital capacity for immediate healthcare needs.

“The current strain on hospital capacity is […]

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