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Archive for October 2020

CMS’s Verma Visits Western PA

COVID-19 was the primary subject on the minds of health care executives who met with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma in western Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Among the issues discussed at a health care forum were the concerns of hospital administrators about rising COVID-19 case counts and their worries over the adequacy of supplies of available hospital beds, drugs, and personal protective equipment in the near future; steps like enhanced access to telehealth that CMS has made available for Medicare beneficiaries to help them during the pandemic; the work – and continued existence – of the Regional Response Health Collaboratives that support long-term-care facilities fighting COVID-19 outbreaks and the possibility that those collaboratives may expire in December; … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

Health Secretary Discusses Status of COVID-19 in PA

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine, M.D., held a news conference on Monday to discuss the status of the COVID-19 public health emergency in the state and answer questions from reporters. During the news conference, Secretary Levine discussed the recent increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the state, the age groups that are seeing increases, the status of COVID-19 in schools, the state’s prospects for containing the virus’s spread, the changing nature of the virus’s impact on those who contract it, the upcoming holiday season, and more.  Read about what Secretary Levine had to say in this Pennsylvania Capital-Star article and another account of her news conference in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Monday, October 26

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state and federal governments as of 3:45 p.m. on Monday, October 26. Pennsylvania Update Governor Wolf Governor Wolf has written to President Trump asking him to work with Congress to provide funding to enable the state to continue its Regional Response Healthcare Collaborative Program (RRHCP) for which current funding expires on December 31.  The RRHCP is a partnership between the state’s departments of Human Services and Health and the Pennsylvania Emergency Managemental Agency through which selected Pennsylvania health systems work with long-term-care facilities that are vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing assistance with preparation, prevention, response, and education. Department of Health The Department of Health has published an executive summary … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

Update on Regional Response Health Collaboratives

A recent Wolf administration news release offered an update on the work of the state’s Regional Response Health Collaboratives. Created in July to help long-term-care facilities address their struggles responding to the COVID-19 emergency, the state has six RRHCs led by 11 Pennsylvania health systems.  The RRHCs were created to provide clinical, operational, technical, and educational support to long-term-care facilities at a time when COVID-19-related deaths in such facilities accounted for more than 60 percent of all COVID-19 deaths state-wide.  With financial backing from the federal CARES Act, the RRHCs support nearly 2000 long-term-care facilities of different types at which more than 127,000 Pennsylvanians currently reside. The RRHC program is scheduled to end on December 1.  State officials have asked … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Tuesday, October 20

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state and federal governments as of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20. Pennsylvania Update Department of Health The Department of Health has issued its weekly news release updating its COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. In its weekly guidance wrap-up document, the Department of Health addressed a skilled nursing facility’s question about how to protect respirators from surface contamination to prolong their use. COVID-19 testing sites have been launched in faith-based settings in communities in Allegheny and Dauphin counties.  For more information, including a list of testing sites and when they will be operating, see this Department of Health announcement. Department of Health – by the numbers Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case count so far … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Thursday, October 15

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state and federal governments as of 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 15.  Pennsylvania Update Department of Human Services DHS’s Office of Developmental Programs has issued an FAQ on modifications to medication administration course requirements as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.  The audience for this FAQ is Office of Developmental Programs providers whose staff, contractors, or consultants are required by state law to take medication administration training.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Developmental Programs has temporarily permitted staff required to undergo such training to take a modified medication administration course.  The FAQ addresses the current state of the training requirement. Department of Health The Department of Health has … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

Number of Uninsured Children Grows in PA

The number of uninsured children in Pennsylvania grew, but just slightly, between 2016 and 2019. That’s according to a new study from the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute. According to the study, the uninsured rate among children in Pennsylvania rose from 4.4 percent in 2016 to 4.6 percent in 2019 while the number of uninsured children rose from 126,000 to 128,000 during that same period of time. Learn more about the changes in Pennsylvania, national trends, and why these numbers have grown in the Georgetown study “Children’s Uninsured Rate Rises by Largest Annual Jump in More Than a Decade.”

Posted in Uncategorized

SNAP Asks PA Congressional Delegation to Help Preserve Federal COVID-19 Aid for Hospitals

Protect the COVID-19 aid the federal government has given to Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals and others, SNAP has asked in a letter to members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation. The letter refers to changes in how the federal Department of Health and Human Services wants hospitals to calculate the revenue they lost as a result of COVID-19 – the justification in part for the Provider Relief Fund payments hospitals have received through the CARES Act.  In June, HHS told hospitals how to make that calculation but late last month it changed those directions in ways that could force many Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals to return some or even much of the federal aid they received. In the letter, SNAP asks members of Pennsylvania’s … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals, Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania

COVID-19 Update: Friday, October 9

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state and federal governments as of 2:15 p.m. on Friday, October 9. Pennsylvania Update Department of Human Services The Department of Human Services has been issued a section 1135 waiver by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  The waiver consists of two parts:  it permits the provision of clinic services without the supervision of a physician or dentist and it permits the provision of inpatient psychiatric services to patients under the age of 21 without the direction of a physician.  The purpose of section 1135 waivers is to give states greater flexibility to serve their Medicaid beneficiaries during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Go here to see the waiver issued to … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

Congress Gives Hospitals Medicaid DSH Relief

Medicaid DSH allocations to states will not be reduced right away thanks to a new continuing resolution to fund the federal government through December 11. The Medicare disproportionate share allocation cuts to the states, mandated by the Affordable Care Act but delayed by Congress several times, were delayed again earlier this year but scheduled to take effect on November 11.  With the latest continuing resolution, the cuts will be delayed yet another month. SNAP worked hard to encourage Congress to include the Medicaid DSH delay in the continuing resolution, doing so most recently in this September 14 letter to members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation.  Medicaid DSH payments are an important tool in helping Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals serve their predominantly low-income … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Medicaid supplemental payments
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