As the world’s largest academic medical center specialized in musculoskeletal health, HSS does not treat the COVID-19 virus. Patients who receive emergency orthopedic care at HSS and have the virus are treated in isolation, following a conservative approach to safety. All HSS staff members, including doctors and nurses, are required to wear masks and other appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and complete a COVID screening survey before they arrive for work. They are also required to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Those who show any signs of illness are advised to not come into work.
The safety of everyone who comes to HSS is our first priority. Our rigorous infection control protocols have been proactively expanded to minimize risk of exposure to the coronavirus, including:
Please see below for videos that explain our new protocols, as well as answers to common questions on how we are keeping you safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preparing for Your Visit to HSS
What to Expect at Your Appointment at HSS
What to Expect Before Your Surgery at HSS
If you have nonmedical questions related to visiting HSS, communication with family and friends on the day of surgery or after, or anything else not addressed below, please call our patient and family resource line at 212.774.7547.
At all HSS locations except HSS Florida:
While we will allow one visitor per adult patient, we continue to encourage that companions join virtually, when possible, for the safety of our staff, patients, and visitors.Staff will assist patients if needed. Please also be aware that your visitor may be asked to wait in the waiting room due to social distancing requirements
Pediatric patients 21 years of age or younger may have one designated visitor.
HSS Florida Visitor Policy – Updated 8/15/2021
At this time, visitors will not be permitted to accompany patients into HSS Florida facilities unless special assistance is required. We encourage patients to keep in contact with their loved ones through virtual means, including Skype, FaceTime and/or phone. Staff will assist patients as needed.
Regardless of patient vaccination status, all patients and visitors are required to wear masks in our locations.
If you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, please bring proof of vaccination to your appointment. Full vaccination means you received your final dose of the Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, or Sinovac vaccine at least 2 weeks prior to your visit.
Proof of vaccination can be provided in one of the following forms:
Proof can be in the form of a physical copy or image of your vaccination card/certification, or the NY Excelsior Pass if vaccinated in NYS. If this message does not apply to you, or you have already provided proof of vaccination, please disregard this message.
HSS is in constant communication with local and federal agencies to ensure our screening process includes the latest travel advisories.
While not mandatory, we continue to recommend that patients/visitors traveling domestically to HSS from another state quarantine for 10 days, if possible, upon arrival to NY. This is a recommendation for the safety of our patients, staff and community.
Patients and visitors who have traveled internationally in the last 10 days require testing and/or quarantine upon arrival to the US.
As part of the screening process to ensure everyone’s safety, we will be asking all patients and visitors in all HSS locations (NY, NJ, CT and FL) about their travel history.
We have multiple safety protocols in place and are doing several rounds of screening before patient appointments.
You may be sent a link to complete your survey using Health Pass by CLEAR. This option is the quickest and simplest way to complete your survey and to upload your vaccination information. You can enroll once and use Health Pass at every visit. To use CLEAR:
A green Health Pass means you’re good to go! Show it to the HSS screener at the entrance when you arrive. If your pass is red, please call your HSS provider.
With CLEAR, you are always in control of your information. HSS only receives confirmation that a patient or visitor satisfied the requirements for access with the equivalent of a red or green result — and never has access to an individual’s private health data through CLEAR. See the member terms for further information on how CLEAR protects user data.
We have taken several steps to limit the time patients spend in waiting rooms. We have also made changes to limit the number of people you will need to interact with as well as the objects you will need to touch.
All staff members, including doctors and nurses, are required to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Those who show any signs of illness are advised to not come into work.
HSS also offers COVID testing to staff if they have any signs or symptoms of cold or flu-like illness, following possible exposure to COVID, and as possible when requested. HSS also encourages everyone who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
All clinical staff will be wearing masks and eye protection. Other staff, such as registrars, will be wearing masks. This is in alignment with all current guidelines from New York State, New York City and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
We will provide you with a surgical mask when you arrive at HSS if you don’t already have one. We also ask that you use our hand hygiene stations when you arrive and whenever asked to do so by a staff member.
All clinical areas are continually cleaned to the highest standards. Indeed, our infection control policies set the standard for others to follow. Here is how we are cleaning individual spaces:
Yes, all patients will be tested for COVID-19 ahead of surgery and other key procedures (such as pulmonary function testing). This ensures your safety and the safety of our staff.
Presurgical screening may include a blood test to look for COVID-19 antibodies and possibly a chest X-ray. On the day of surgery (or the day before), you will receive a nasopharyngeal swab test (done with a swab in the nose) to test for COVID-19 virus. We will help you arrange this testing.
If we determine you are COVID-positive, elective procedures and related presurgical visits will be rescheduled at least four weeks. You will be re-tested for COVID prior to your rescheduled surgery. In alignment with New York State guidelines, elective surgery patients must have a COVID-negative molecular test prior to surgery. Please note that pursuing testing in the community within those four weeks and having a negative result does not mean your surgery will be performed sooner.
Two designated visitors may alternate visiting adult patients for a maximum of four total visitation hours daily, with only one visitor permitted in the room at a time. Visitors should remain at the bedside throughout the visit unless directed by the care team. Visiting hours are 2:00p – 8:00p daily.
One caregiver may accompany pediatric patients throughout their hospital stay. A second caregiver may be identified and visit within inpatient visiting hours 2:00p – 8:00p daily. Only one caregiver is permitted in the room at a time.
Inpatient & Ambulatory Surgery or Procedure
One visitor is permitted for adult patients starting at patient arrival through the intake process until the patient is ready to go to the operating room or procedure space. For Ambulatory surgery cases the visitor may then rejoin for the discharge process in the recovery area, for Inpatient surgery the visitor will join in the inpatient location as described above.
One caregiver may accompany pediatric patients throughout their hospital stay.
Without exception, visitors who do not pass the screening process, including a temperature check, will not be permitted to enter the hospital. Visitors will be provided a mask to be worn at all times and be asked to perform hand hygiene.
HSS may suspend visitation at any time.
“Social distancing” means keeping at least six feet of space between yourself and others.
At HSS. we have taken the following steps:
Inpatient rooms have also been set up to allow social distancing between patients, and between visitors and patients.
We ask that you please follow these guidelines to keep everyone safe.
Yes, your loved ones can pick you up from the front entrance of the hospital when it is time for you to return home.
Postoperative care, such as X-rays and other imaging tests and physical therapy, is critical to your recovery. You will be able to come to HSS in person for these appointments.
Also, you can work with your doctor to create a plan that allows you to receive as much care as you want and are able to have virtually. Together, you can determine if your postoperative imaging is essential and, if so, the best location and timing for this to be done.
Please call your HSS provider or the department with whom you have an appointment to notify them of your exposure and/or COVID-positive test.
If you are COVID-positive, elective procedures, outpatient appointments and other elective services will be rescheduled at least four weeks. See "Will you test me for COVID-19 before my surgery?" above for more.
If you were possibly exposed to COVID-19, HSS will gather more information from you about the exposure. We will provide guidance on when your elective surgery and/or visit can be rescheduled after a post-exposure quarantine.