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Patient Safety

The safety of everyone who comes to HSS is our first priority. HSS has always maintained the highest standards in infection control. If you have questions about an upcoming surgery, call your surgeon’s office directly, and learn more about HSS safety protocols below.

HSS is a specialized musculoskeletal hospital and does not treat COVID-19

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. All HSS staff members, including doctors and nurses, are vaccinated and self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and those who show any signs of illness are advised to not come into work.

We screen all patients and visitors prior to and/or upon arrival, and we have thorough cleaning and disinfection protocols to help ensure a safe and clean environment.

Based on evidence that risks associated with COVID-19 have declined to being comparable with common transmissible infections in our area, the HSS Clinical Safety Committee has unanimously elected to lift the mask mandate that has been in effect at HSS clinical locations since March 2020.  Effective May 1, 2023, masking is optional for patients, visitors and staff, except in elevated risk situations or upon the request of a patient or staff member participating in a clinical interaction. HSS monitors infection data continuously and reserves the right to change policy.

Visitor policy and information

To learn more about visiting a patient or accompanying one to an appointment at HSS, please see our Visitor Policy and Information.

Questions about your visit?

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.

Safety Precautions at HSS: FAQs


How do COVID-19 travel advisories affect my visit to HSS?

HSS is in constant communication with local and federal agencies to ensure our screening process includes the latest travel advisories.

As part of the screening process to ensure everyone’s safety, we will be asking all patients and visitors in all HSS locations about their travel history.

How is HSS screening patients before their appointments?

Upon arrival, all patients are screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, COVID and other exposures, and travel.

Patients may also receive a text message with a link to a screening survey on the day before their visit or surgery depending on their provider. We ask that you please fill it out ahead of time to help expedite the screening process.

How are you cleaning exam rooms and other spaces?

All clinical areas are continually cleaned and disinfected to the highest standards. Indeed, our infection control policies set the standard for others to follow. Here is how we are cleaning individual spaces:

Examination and Inpatient Rooms

  • wiping down all tables, surfaces, counters, controls, equipment and monitors with electrostatic EPA-approved disinfection spray technology after every patient visit
  • disposing of all trash, regulated medical waste and paper products in dispensers after every patient visit
  • removing any unnecessary objects or equipment

Waiting Rooms

  • adding hand hygiene stations throughout
  • regular cleaning with approved disinfection spray


Will I still be able to have my postsurgical appointments and physical therapy? Can I do them virtually?

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.

What happens if I have been exposed to COVID-19 in the community or get tested outside of HSS and am positive?

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. Please work with your doctor’s office to determine when is an appropriate time to return for your rescheduled visit or procedure.

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.