News Flash

DO 18 - Leg. Spencer - PR

Posted on: May 22, 2020

Suffolk & Nassau Counties Given Green Light To Open Up For Elective Surgeries

Dr. Spencer with Dr. Fitterman and Dr. Buchin



Huntington, NY (March 20, 2020) – Chairman of the Suffolk County Legislature’s Health Committee, Dr. William Spencer, was joined by Dr. Nick Fitterman, Executive Director of Huntington Hospital and Dr. David Buchin, Director of Bariatric Surgery, Northwell Health-Huntington Hospital, to discuss the reopening of elective surgeries to the region’s residents after COVID-19 caused massive backlog of surgeries. Surgeries considered “non-essential” have been halted since March 23rd to ensure an adequate number of beds and medical staff were available to handle the surge of COVID-19 cases.  Discussed at the event were the guidelines and precautions designed for COVID-19 negative patients at ambulatory medical facilities and what this means for individuals whose procedures have been held up.   

On Tuesday, May 19th, the New York State Department of Health provided guidelines to ambulatory surgery centers, office-based surgery practices, and diagnostic and treatment centers in counties throughout the state eligible to perform elective surgeries, which now include Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Under the previous directive to suspend all non-essential elective surgeries, only emergency or life challenging procedures or surgeries were permitted.

“The relaxation of the restrictions is hopeful because it proves that the public has effectively participated in flattening the curve. Having done our job- we can safely begin to address the non-urgent surgical needs of the community. This new development will come as a relief to many who have been patiently waiting while suffering with pain, uncertainty and worry. For all those in need of a medical procedure, relief is on the way. I encourage you to contact your doctor as soon as possible, and have the conversation with them about taking the next steps to schedule your surgery,” stated Legislator William R. Spencer, MD. 

"Huntington Hospital has taken many steps to provide a safe environment for elective surgery. We have a daily symptom screening policy for all staff. We have also altered all necessary environments to maintain social distancing. And we have developed a non-COVID care pathway for all elective procedures -- from parking and pre-surgical testing to discharge, they will not cross paths with COVID positive patients or staff caring for COVID positive patients," stated Dr. Nick Fitterman, MD, MACP, FFHM, Executive Director of Huntington Hospital. 

“I want to allay the fears of anyone who needs surgery. For the last eight weeks we have been operating on emergency cases- I personally have performed approximately 20 operations and have monitored the COVID-19 status of each of those patients. All of the patients that I performed surgery on tested negative for COVID-19 when coming into the hospital and negative again two weeks after the procedure. I have also tested negative for the antibodies. Our protocols and correct use of personal protection equipment have been effective, and I am confident we are prepared to safely take the next step with elective surgeries,” stated Dr. David Buchin, Director of Bariatric Surgery, Northwell Health-Huntington Hospital.

The memo released by the New York State Department of Health on May 19, 2020 details safety protocols that surgical facilities must abide by to limit the risk of spreading coronavirus, and speaks to the following: Patient Testing, Preparedness and Screening, PPE Supplies, and Infection Prevention and Control. To access the guidance, visit: 

Pictured: Legislator Spencer, MD joined by Dr. Buchin and Dr. Fitterman


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