HSS has always maintained the highest standards in infection control. The strict procedures implemented at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have been and continue to be followed. If you have questions about an upcoming surgery, call your surgeon’s office directly. If you are scheduled to have or are considering getting elective surgery at HSS but have concerns, read Is It Safe to Have Elective Orthopedic Surgery During the Pandemic? and learn more about HSS safety protocols below.
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 vaccinated and required to wear masks and other appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). They are also required to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and complete a COVID screening survey before they arrive for work. 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:
To learn more about visiting a patient or accompanying one to an appointment at HSS, please see our Visitor Policy and Information.
If you’re preparing for an upcoming surgery, getting the COVID-19 vaccine is helpful for your surgery and recovery. Watch the following video for 5 things to know about COVID-19 vaccines and orthopedic surgery.
COVID-19 Vaccines and Your Surgery
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.
Regardless of patient vaccination status, all patients and visitors are required to wear masks in our locations and undergo a temperature check and screening each visit. All approved visitors (please see visitor policy) are required to show proof of vaccination or a PCR(-) test result within 5 days before visiting or accompanying a patient.
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, Covaxin, Novavax, Sinopharm, or Sinovac vaccine at least 2 weeks prior to your visit. Boosters are not required at this time.
Proof of vaccination can be provided in one of the following forms:
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.
Patients will 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 so that you can get in quickly.
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 be vaccinated against COVID-19. 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.
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.
All staff will be wearing masks. Some staff may also be wearing eye protection. 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.
“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.
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.