With a massive snowstorm set to hit the East Coast, New York and Boston healthcare providers were asking staff to stay at facilities overnight, stockpiling supplies, postponing elective surgeries and asking pregnant patients to come in early to be at hospitals when the worst of the storm hits.
Hospitals in New York City began preparing for the storm over the weekend, receiving shipments of medical and surgical supplies, drugs and food with the understanding that the roads may not be clear until Thursday for another round of deliveries.
New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. has postponed elective procedures scheduled for Tuesday, said Dr. Ross Wilson, the system's chief medical officer. The system is monitoring the impact of the storm to decide whether Wednesday's elective procedures also will be postponed. The system is considering which patients will be discharged early and which ones should remain in the hospital over the course of the storm, including those who may not have adequate heat, food or support at home, Wilson said.
The city-operated health system will provide accommodations and food for hospital staff to prevent travel during unsafe conditions and also ensure there are enough staffers at the hospital, Wilson said.
Power outages because of high-force winds are possible, but hospitals say they are better equipped now to deal with outages and backup generators than they were during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, when a number of such backup generators at hospitals were damaged by floodwater.
“It's much less a concern that it was two years ago,” said Christopher O'Connor, president of GNYHA Services, a group-purchasing organization owned by the Greater New York Hospital Association.