GNYHA participated in a February 2 call with the New York State Department of Health (DOH) regarding influenza-related issues. DOH reported that there were 11,683 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases during the week ending January 27, 2018, representing a 50% increase over the previous week. There was also a 21% increase statewide in the number of hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza. Additional surveillance information can be found in DOH’s Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report. DOH’s most recent HERDS survey of health care facilities, dated January 31, 2018, indicated that bed availability statewide has improved, except for certain bed types in specific parts of the State.

DOH and GNYHA are aware that most hospitals statewide, though at or over capacity, are managing current flu activity through implementation of surge practices. The attached DOH document, Hospital Strategies for Surge Management Related to Widespread Influenza, shares a number of flu-related patient surge management practices. GNYHA thanks members who contributed to the list of strategies.

At DOH’s request, GNYHA is also sharing a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services memorandum, dated August 14, 2009. The memo outlines how hospitals can manage emergency department patient surges during infectious disease outbreaks without running afoul of requirements of the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.

As flu season continues, please let us know if GNYHA staff can be of assistance. We will continue to keep you apprised of flu-related developments.