Richmond University Medical Center has been added to New York’s State’s COVID-19 Pilot Hospital Visitation Program, which was announced earlier this week by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the only Staten Island hospital included in the program. The announcement comes as RUMC also reached a significant milestone since the pandemic began: no new COVID-related admissions or deaths in the past 24 hour period.
“We continue to send our thoughts and condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one in this pandemic and we continue to provide 24/7 care to those who are battling symptoms of COVID-19 here at our hospital and as an outpatient through our Richmond Health Network,” president and chief executive officer, Daniel J. Messina, PhD, FACHE, said. “Having no new admissions and no new loss of life in our hospital in the past 24 hours because of this virus is a victory on many fronts. It’s a combination of our community following the precautions set by our federal, state and local health agencies to control the spread, and the tremendous actions of our frontline physicians, nurses and professionals who continue to redefine the definition of ‘dedication,’ ‘commitment,’ and ‘hero’ every day.”
Since the pandemic began, RUMC has treated and discharged over 1,050 COVID positive patients. RUMC treated its first COVID positive patient back on March 14 and quickly began preparing for anticipated patient surge by increasing its ICU beds from 26 to 71. Supplies, including PPE and ventilators, were also secured by federal, state and local elected officials and agencies to help the hospital increase its capacity. RUMC hit its peak of admitted COVID positive patients, 210 individuals, on April 8. Since then the number of patients treated and released has increased while admissions have declined steadily. As of today, RUMC has 33 COVID positive patients admitted for treatment.
The hospital also announced today its inclusion in the state’s COVID-19 Pilot Hospital Visitation Program. The two-week pilot program is a collaboration between New York State, the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) and the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS). RUMC joins four other hospitals added to the program, which now includes 20 healthcare systems across the state. Under the conditions of the program, which begins Tuesday, May 26, visits will be time limited, visitors must pass COVID symptom screening and temperature checks, and will be issued PPE which must be worn for the duration of the visit. Additional conditions apply to ensure the safety of patients, staff and visitors.
“Being able to visit loved ones in the hospital is a vital part of the recovery process for both the patient and their families,” Messina said. “Governor Andrew Cuomo, Commissioner Howard Zucker and everyone in federal, state and local government has been tremendously supportive of Richmond University Medical Center throughout this pandemic. We are thankful to the Governor and the state for their continued partnership and for including our hospital in this program. Our inclusion is an opportunity for our hospital to provide input that will shape statewide policy.”
The pilot program will be evaluated after two weeks by the New York State Department of Health in collaboration with GNYHA, HANYS, and the participating healthcare systems. Based on the results, the pilot may be modified or instituted statewide for all hospitals. Throughout the two-week pilot, hospitals have the right to determine appropriate visiting hours and may cease participation in the program and end visitation access at any time.