On Friday, May 8, 2020, the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) resumed elective surgeries and procedures at the St. Elizabeth and St. Luke’s Campuses. And in keeping patient safety at the forefront, MVHS created a Safe Path to Surgery which is a special “path” outpatients take when coming in for elective surgeries and procedures. To date, more than 100 patients have used this Safe Path.

As the statewide numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients continue to decline, New York State has permitted hospitals that have the capacity and resources to resume elective procedures in regions without significant risk of a COVID-19 surge. Over the past few weeks, multiple departments within MVHS have been working diligently to put together a plan to safely resume elective surgeries and procedures in accordance with direction from the Governor and New York State Department of Health.


“Having the ability to resume elective surgeries and procedures is vital for our health system as it allows us to bring staff back to work and will significantly impact our finances in a positive way,” said Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, president/CEO for MVHS. “But more importantly, it also allows us to continue providing our community the services they need to maintain a good quality of life, and that’s the real reason we’re here.”


MVHS’s Safe Path has extensive measures in place to ensure the safety of those coming in for elective surgeries and procedures as well as anyone who enters the facilities. These measures include:

  • A new and private pathway for surgery/procedure patients which includes a private entrance and escort directly to the patient’s room. These patients will be screened and have their temperatures taken at the door and will then be taken directly to their room for registration.
  • All patients will be tested for COVID-19 at the MVHS drive-through testing site on Burrstone Road no more than three days prior to surgery. These tests will be sent to the Mayo Clinic with results coming back in 24 to 48 hours. If for some reason the results are not available prior to surgery, rapid testing is available (but in limited supply).
  • Per NYS guidelines, MVHS has a no visitor policy in place throughout the system to protect patients, residents and staff from COVID-19. Surgery staff will call a patient’s point of contact prior to and after surgery to give an update. Also, patients will be able to video chat or call loved ones once they are cleared to do so after surgery.
  • Using dedicated staff for these areas to ensure staff members haven’t also taken care of suspected or positive COVID-19 patients.

“While we were looking forward to resuming elective surgeries and procedures, ensuring patient safety was vital,” said Stromstad. “We made sure to take our time and develop plans that would not only keep patients safe, but would give people peace of mind about having their loved one come in to the hospital for an elective procedure. I know these are stressful times, so providing comfort and confidence in our system was extremely important.”


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