WATERTOWN — On Monday, the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) announced a voluntary ventilator redistribution plan coordinated in collaboration with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to support the state’s COVID-19 response, saying that the equipment would have been made available without the need for an Executive Order.
This comes on the heels of an Executive Order announced by Gov. Cuomo on Friday allowing the state to redistribute ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) from areas not currently using them and redeploying the equipment to hospitals with the highest need.
It was said that the National Guard would be used to transport the ventilators and PPE across the state and the equipment will later be returned to the hospital or the hospital will be reimbursed for the equipment in the future.
“New York’s hospitals are unified in the fight against COVID-19,” HANYS President Bea Grause said in a statement. “Our members have been moving mountains to ensure hospitals in every region of the state have the resources they need. This voluntary ventilator redeployment initiative takes their cooperation to a new level.”
Hospitals in regions with limited COVID-19 cases right now are identifying ventilators, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines they could rapidly redeploy if called upon.
Identified equipment will remain in place until redeployment is needed, and if it occurs, HANYS will work with providers to geo-code and transport equipment. The hospital sending equipment will be notified of the location of its ventilators and PPE when they reach their destination in order to facilitate a smooth return later on.
Also on Monday, HANYS hosted a call with the New York Congressional Delegation, which included Congresswoman Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, who later spoke about the effort, calling the governor’s previous announcement that the National Guard would remove 20 percent of unused PPE and ventilators from upstate hospitals “misguided, rushed, and concerning.”
“This announcement caught hospitals and county public health offices completely off guard as there was little to no communication about this Executive Order prior,” she said in a statement. “I strongly support the approach outlined by the Hospital Association of New York which would instead shift to voluntary action taken by hospitals to send excess PPE and ventilators elsewhere in New York State. I am confident that each and every hospital will continue to go above and beyond to serve their communities and their fellow New Yorkers in this time of crisis.”