The Department of Health Releases Inspection Information on Nursing Homes

Your Update for 5-23-20

*This information is changing quickly, so be sure to check for any updated information.

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Update from the Pennsylvania Department of Health:

Secretary Levine and the Department of Health will not be holding press conferences between May 23 and May 25. However, the Pennsylvania Department to Health released an update today (May 23) on COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.

 The number of cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania has reached 66,983, an increase of 725 cases from yesterday. This was the fourteenth straight day of sub-1000 cases. There were 513 positive serology tests, which are counted as probable cases of COVID-19, and not confirmed.

There were 112 new deaths associated with COVID-19, bringing the total deaths in Pennsylvania to 5,096.

There are 14,486 residential cases and 2,437 employee cases in 589 long-term care facilities in 44 counties, which includes nursing facilities and personal care facilities. There have been 3,349 reported deaths in long term care facilities due to COVID-19. Deaths in nursing or personal care facilities account for ~65% of the total deaths in Pennsylvania.

>>Read about the warning signs of COVID-19 unemployment scams

According to the Hospital Preparedness Dashboard, 45% of hospital beds, 38% of ICU beds, and ~77% of ventilators in Pennsylvania Hospitals are still available. A total of 5,064 COVID-19 cases are in Healthcare workers.

County-specific information and a statewide map are available here. You can view the data on infections by COVID-19 in Pennsylvania here.

You can watch the daily press conference here.

Business Community:

Governor Wolf’s Plan to Reopen Pennsylvania:

On April 22, Governor Wolf announced his plan to reopen Pennsylvania, focusing on a regional decision making approach. Along with the previous standards the Governor announced last week, he highlighted that the data-driven decision making process will be done in consultation with Carnegie Mellon University.

Their metrics will focus heavily on a regional approach that is built on a population based incidence rate of 50 new confirmed cases per 100,000 population reported to the department in the previous 14 days.

An example: An area with a population of 800,000 people would need to have fewer than 400 new confirmed cases reported in the past 14 days to meet the target.

The first regions that the administration will target are the north-central and the north-west regions of PA, with a goal of moving them from phase red to phase yellow on May 8.

The three color phases determine when regions are ready to begin easing restrictions on businesses, stay-at-home orders, large gatherings, child care and more. The three phases are red, yellow and green, with the entire state currently in the red phase. Movement between phases will be based on the population incidence rate above.

Red Phase:

The red phase singularly purpose is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through strict social distancing, non-life sustaining business and school closures. There are currently 18 counties in Phase Red, however 8 more counties will move to Phase Yellow on May 29. Afterwards, the rest of the counties in the commonwealth will move to Phase Yellow on June 5.

  • Life Sustaining Businesses Only
  • Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
  • Schools (for in-person instruction) and Most Child Care Facilities Closed

Yellow Phase:

The stated purpose of the yellow phase is begin to power back up the economy, while maintaining social distancing while easing restrictions on certain businesses and travel. However, the Department of Health will maintain strict monitoring over public health data to contain COVID-19. Guidance for businesses in Counties in the Yellow Phase. There are currently 49 counties in Phase Yellow, however 8 additional counties will move to Phase Yellow on May 29.

  • Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
  • Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Business and Building Safety Orders
  • Child Care Open with Worker and Building Safety Orders
  • Stay-at-Home Restrictions Lifted in Favor of Aggressive Mitigation
  • Large Gatherings Prohibited
  • In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
  • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities (such as gyms, spas), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
  • Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only

Green Phase

The green phase should facilitate a return to a “new normal”, by easing most restrictions on stay-at-home orders and business closures. Strict adherence to CDC and Health department guidelines are required, and similar to the yellow phase, monitoring of public health data will continue. There are currently 0 counties in Phase Green. There are currently 0 counties in Phase Green, however 17 counties will move to Phase Green on May 29.

  • All Businesses Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines
  • Aggressive Mitigation Orders Lifted
  • All Individuals Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines

The standards previously highlighted by Governor Wolf:

  • Our approach will be data driven and reliant upon quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach to reopenings in Pennsylvania.
  • We will put forth guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities for assured accountability as we reopen.
  • Reopening necessitates that adequate personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing are available.
  • Reopening requires a monitoring and surveillance program that allows the commonwealth to be deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation.
  • Protections for vulnerable populations must remain steadfast throughout the reopening process, such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
  • Limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations should remain in place for the duration of the reopening process.

Industry Guidance:

Critical Needs Portals:

The application for the COVID-19 Working Capital Access program is closed. The program reportedly received roughly 900 applications requesting roughly $75 million. The program’s original appropriation was $60 million. A link to the DCED page can be found here. The first round of funding was announced on April 20, you can find information on the funded projects here.

With the application closed for the CWCA, please look into the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program or the Paycheck Projection Program.

You can find the application for the Paycheck Protection Program here.

You can find the application for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, here.

Press Releases:

Department of Health Highlights Ongoing Nursing Home Inspection, Sanction Information amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

May 23, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – Since the beginning of February, the Pennsylvania Department of Health nursing home surveyors conducted 1,473 inspections of nursing homes, including 907 complaint investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, 10 sanctions were finalized against nursing care facilities, which included the issuance of two provisional one licenses, and civil penalties totaling $93,500.

The following breakdowns represent survey activity that occurred each month:

  • April
    • 486 surveys of 336 separate facilities
    • 113 building safety surveys
    • 373 patient care surveys
    • 298 complaint investigations

Although annual inspections are not occurring at this time, extensions are in place according to guidance issued from the Center of Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). The majority of other inspections are still occurring, but may be conducted virtually rather than onsite to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

You can read the full press release here.

L&I Monitoring COVID-19 Unemployment Scams across U.S., Pennsylvanians Should Stay Vigilant and Report Suspected Fraud

​May 23, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – Secretary Jerry Oleksiak announced today the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is working closely with state and federal partners to monitor COVID-19 scams across the U.S. that are targeting unemployment benefits programs and their claimants. 

Recognize and Avoid Scams

The scammers behind the COVID-19-related fraud appear to be using Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information belonging to identity theft victims to commit unemployment compensation (UC) fraud. In many situations, the victims are unaware that their identity has been stolen.

Following are some warning signs of a possible COVID-19 scam:

  • For workers – receiving any type of correspondence that you filed an unemployment claim when you did not file a claim for benefits.
  • For employers – if you notice a claim has been filed for one or more of your employees who are still working. 

You can read the full press release here.

$280,000 Available to Animal Ag Producers for Reimbursement of PPE through PA Farm Bill Center for Poultry & Livestock Excellence

May 23, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and PennAg Industries today announced that $280,000 is available to Pennsylvania’s poultry, swine, lamb, goat, and sheep processors to reimburse costs associated with the purchase of personal protective equipment for their workforce through the Center for Poultry and Livestock Excellence, a result of Governor Tom Wolf’s 2019 Pennsylvania Farm Bill.

The PPE Reimbursement Program is available to any processor or support service of poultry, swine, lamb, goats, and sheep impacted in Pennsylvania that’s had a need to purchase PPE to protect their workforce from COVID-19 between February 19, 2020 and May 18, 2020 and can produce a paid receipt for the product. Applicants can receive up to $16,000 in the following three categories:

  • Up to $1,000 for bilingual training materials and signage;
  • Up to $5,000 for prevention and surveillance tools (such as thermometers);
  • Up to $10,000 for PPE and sanitation/cleaning materials (including masks, coveralls, gloves, face shields, hand sanitizer, cleaning products).

You can read the full press release here.

Written by

Ridge Policy Group

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