Elective Surgery & Procedures

Due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in the region, Catholic Health is suspending all Inpatient elective surgeries (those that require at least an overnight hospital stay) from November 21 – December 5. All other surgeries will proceed as planned based on the discretion of the surgeon. Patients are asked to call their surgeon’s office for more information.

Committed to patient safety

Our patients’ health and safety always come first. As elective surgeries and non-emergency medical procedures have resumed at Catholic Health, please know our organization is taking every step to maintain the highest health and safety standards to protect our patients.

What is Catholic Health doing to keep patients safe?

At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Catholic Health implemented a thoughtful strategy to maintain the highest quality patient care and ensure patient safety. This includes the repurposing of our St. Joseph Campus into a dedicated, COVID-only treatment facility, as well as the opening of a COVID-19 post-acute center in Orchard Park, dedicated to recovering patients who are not well enough to return home. This has resulted in a separation of COVID-19 patients from most of our general patient populations.

In addition, we have implemented a process in each of our emergency departments to keep suspected COVID patients separate from other patients, until they have been diagnosed and triaged for treatment. Patients who test positive for COVID-19 and require hospital care are immediately sent to our COVID-19 Treatment Facility at St. Joseph Campus.

What extra safety measures are Catholic Health hospitals taking now?

To ensure our patients can safely undergo elective procedures, we have been working with the New York State Department of Health and our county health departments on policies and procedures. All visitors and associates, including physicians, are screened for COVID-19 daily and wear appropriate personal protective equipment such as masks. When you arrive for surgery, you will be greeted and escorted to the surgical area. All waiting rooms and patient care areas have been adjusted to accommodate for social distancing. The surgical experience has been designed for you to feel as safe and comfortable as possible while you are in our care. Healthcare workers assigned to elective procedures are not permitted to work in hospital COVID-19 zones, which are physically separate from the general patient population. (Note that many Catholic Health hospitals are not currently treating any COVID-19 patients). Patients undergoing elective surgeries are discharged as soon as safely possible, most often the same day. Patients who are required to stay overnight are placed on a separate floor from COVID-zoned areas. At each of our hospitals, Catholic Health has expanded already strict infectious disease cleaning protocols, adding another layer of deep cleaning to our disinfecting process. We have hand sanitizer throughout the building and have increased the frequency of high touch surface cleaning for your protection.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know I am healthy enough for elective surgery?

In addition to routine pre-surgical testing, all patients are tested for COVID-19 within five days of their surgery date. Patients are also screened the day of surgery for COVID-19 symptoms, and are provided with a mask for their safety.

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Can family be at the hospital during my surgery?

To view the most recent Catholic Health visitor guidelines and restrictions, click here.

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Where does my family or friend wait?

In the car or at home. We will call your designated contact person when you are ready to be picked up, taking into account at least 30 minutes of travel time.

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To ensure your safety, we encourage you to follow these guidelines for 14 days leading up to your surgery or procedure:

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How do I get a pre-procedure/pre-surgical COVID swab test?

Your doctor must write a prescription for the COVID test. No patient can be scheduled for a COVID swab test without a doctor’s order.

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What can I expect when I come for my pre-procedure/pre-surgical COVID testing?

COVID testing is performed by appointment only. We utilize a drive through approach, which means you never exit your vehicle. When you pull up to the site at your appointed time, an associate from Catholic Health will approach your window in full protective equipment. They will ask you to roll down your window and will then verify your identity, perform the swab test, and give you your follow-up instructions. It is quick and easy with minimal contact.

General information:

  • Please arrive at your designated time and stay in your car.
  • Please have your driver’s license or government issued identification visible on the dashboard so the Catholic Health associate can verify your identity.
  • Please wear a mask and have all passengers wear a mask as well.
  • If sitting on passenger side, please notify nurse at time of arrival.
  • Please do not bring any animals to testing appointment.
  • Please be aware this test must be done up to 5 days in advance of your scheduled procedure date. Your surgery/procedure may be rescheduled at the discretion of the surgical team.

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Why is my COVID test not being performed where my procedure/surgery is scheduled?

All patients have a choice to have their testing scheduled at any of the below testing sites. Catholic Health will do its best to accommodate all patient requests in a timely manner.

  • Mercy Ambulatory Care Center, 3669 Southwestern Boulevard, Orchard Park, NY 14127
  • Kenmore Mercy Hospital, 2950 Elmwood Avenue, Kenmore, NY 14217
  • Sisters of Charity Hospital, 2157 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214
  • Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, 5300 Military Road, Lewiston, NY 14092

*Mercy Hospital of Buffalo is currently not a COVID testing site. If you wish to have your testing at the same location as your pre-procedural/surgical lab work and screening, COVID testing will be performed at the Mercy Ambulatory Care Center located at 3669 Southwestern Boulevard, Orchard Park, NY 14127.

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How do I get to the testing location?

Please visit our website at chsbuffalo.org/locations which can provide you detailed instructions from your home through Google maps.

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What type of test is being done? Is it through the nose or blood work?

There are primarily two types of tests for COVID-19. One tests for the virus, while the other tests for antibodies to determine if you’ve previously been exposed to the virus. For your pre-procedure/pre-surgical COVID testing, we will test for the virus.

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What is the difference between the COVID test and the antibody test?

The COVID test uses a swab in the nose to detect genes from the coronavirus. The antibody test is a blood test used to determine if you were infected with the virus in the past. Antibody testing should not be used to diagnose active infections because antibodies are not present during the early stages of infection.

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How do I get the antibody test and will I need it also?

Your doctor can write a prescription for the antibody test. Note that it has been suggested that the production of antibodies may offer some level of protection from future COVID infection, however there is not enough scientific data to confirm or refute that claim.

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I had one COVID test already, why do I need another one?

Based on New York state guidelines, testing should be performed within five days of the scheduled procedure/surgery. This timeframe increases the likelihood of detecting infections acquired shortly before your scheduled procedure.

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Why will my doctor get the results and not me?

Currently, Catholic Health only performs testing on patients that have a prescription from their doctor. Since a doctor (or other authorized practitioner) ordered the testing, they will receive a copy of the test results.

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Who will call me with my results?

We will not call you with your COVID or antibody results. However, patients can access their results on the Catholic Health Patient Portal at: chsbuffalo.org/patients-visitors/patient-portals

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When will I get my results?

Generally the test results are available in 3-4 days if done in-house, or slightly longer if the sample is sent to a outside laboratory.

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When will I get my surgery time?

The time of procedure will be provided by the surgeon’s office. During the pre-surgical process, you will be informed when you need to be at the facility.

If you have any other questions or concerns regarding your upcoming procedure, please contact your primary care physician or specialist.

For any other questions, please contact the HealthConnection Call Center at Catholic Health:

(716) 447-6205 | HealthConnection@chsbuffalo.org