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Archive for October 2020

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

PA Health Law Project Newsletter

The Pennsylvania Health Law Project has published its September 2020 newsletter Health Law News. Included in this month’s edition are articles about: How Pennsylvania Medicaid beneficiaries who turn 21 during the COVID-19 emergency remain eligible for EPSDT services. Pennsylvania Health Law Project navigators who can help direct people to COVID-19 testing and treatment. A warning that without increased federal Medicaid matching money, states may seek to reduce Medicaid provider payments, increase beneficiary cost-sharing, or reduce services. Read about these subjects and more in the Pennsylvania Health Law Project’s September 2020 newsletter.

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19, Pennsylvania Medicaid

Wolf Presents Health Care Reform Proposal

Governor Wolf has unveiled a health care reform plan with the goal of making health care more affordable, supporting sustainable growth and transformations of health systems and corporations, and addressing health inequities across Pennsylvania.  The plan includes three major components: An Interagency Health Reform Council charged with developing recommendations on how to identify and capitalize on efficiencies in the existing health care system. Regional Accountable Health Councils convened by Medicaid managed care organizations to assess community needs and develop regional transformation plans. A Health Value Commission charged with setting spending targets for payers in the areas of primary care, behavioral health, and value-based purchasing. The commission also would perform public interest reviews of proposed large provider mergers, acquisitions, and changes in … Read More

Posted in Health care reform

COVID-19 Update: Monday, October 5

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state and federal governments as of 2:45 p.m. on Monday, October 5. Pennsylvania Update Department of Health The Department of Health issued a health alert with information on multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and reporting instructions for suspected cases among patients younger than 21 years of age. The Department of Health issued a health alert describing the variety of symptoms that may present in COVID-19 patients and recommending that patients who have been exposed should be tested within two to three days of exposure regardless of the presence of symptoms. Department of Health – by the numbers The number of new COVID-19 cases has been at a higher sustained level … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19
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2012 Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania