NYS Department of Health approves protocol to allow BiPAP machines to be converted into ventilators

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) – The New York State Department of Health has approved Northwell’s protocol allowing BiPAP machines to be converted into ventilators, Governor Cuomo announced on April 2.

New York State has purchased 3,000 BiPAP machines, 750 of which are in stock and will be distributed to hospitals. The state has been tracking where all ventilators are located in New York and are shifting their locations to meet the highest need. Hospitals may use anesthesia machine ventilators or a “splitting” protocol, where one ventilator is used for two patients using separate tubes, if necessary.

New York State is conducting a survey each night to take inventory of every hospital’s supplies. All hospitals are being asked to contribute the supplies they don’t currently need to a central stockpile to be distributed to hospitals who need them most.

More than 85,000 health professionals have signed up to volunteer in New York as part of the surge healthcare force, 21,000 of which are out of state.

Governor Cuomo is encouraging any company with the proper equipment or personnel to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment if possible. The state will provide funding to support the effort. Businesses interested in receiving state funding to manufacture PPE can call 212-803-3100 or email COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov.

The special enrollment period through New York State of Health has been extended through May 15 to allow uninsured New Yorkers to apply for coverage. Individuals who lost their coverage must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage. Because of a loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, subsidized Qualified Health Plans or Child Health Plus.

“We are continuing to plan forward and prepare our healthcare system for when the apex of the curve hits,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are taking extraordinary measures to acquire more personal protective equipment, find beds to increase hospital capacity and recruit staff, but there is still a critical need for all three of these components, and we need all three in order for our hospitals to actually function and provide care.”

“Ventilators remain our most significant challenge, and today the State Department of Health has approved protocols that will allow us to use BiPAP machines as ventilators, and we have already acquired 3,000 of these machines to be deployed to hospitals with the greatest need.”

8,669 additional cases of novel coronavirus were confirmed on April 2, bringing the statewide total to 92,381 confirmed cases in New York State.

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