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Wolf Agenda Addresses Health Care Both Directly, Indirectly

In advance of introducing his proposed FY 2022 budget next week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has issued a statement outlining his policy priorities for the coming year. In this statement he addresses health care both indirectly, with references to health equity and opportunity, and directly as well. Highlights include: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions and layoffs to Pennsylvania’s workforce, disproportionately impacting low-wage workers, people of color, people with disabilities, and certain industries. Our economic recovery requires a strategic investment in workforce development that addresses these inequities, supports workers most significantly impacted by the pandemic, and focuses on high-quality, well-paying jobs and careers. Building on the bipartisan Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center, the governor is proposing a multi-billion-dollar … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania proposed FY 2022 budget

COVID-19 Update: Wednesday, January 27

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state government as of 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27. Department of Health The Department of Health has amended its hospital reporting order effective on January 27, 2021 to require daily reporting to the CORVENA system by 10:00 a.m. instead of the previous 8:00 a.m. deadline.  The order also was amended to include as a required data field “Other categories or data fields required by the federal data reporting system (TeleTracking)” to ensure that facilities are completing all necessary information for the Health Department’s upload from CORVENA into the Teletracking system.  Go here for the amendments to the order and here for a memo about these changes. The Department of Health … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Monday, January 25

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from Pennsylvania’s state government as of 3:30 p.m. on Monday, January 25. Department of Health The Department of Health has updated it guidance on the use and interpretation of point-of-care antigen test results. The Department of Health has issued an updated health alert for long-term-care facilities on the use of point-of-care antigen tests, recommending a follow-up molecular test within 48 hours for any asymptomatic person with a positive antigen test result or symptomatic person with a negative result. Department of Health – by the numbers Over the weekend Pennsylvania’s total number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 800,000.  That means that more than six percent of the state’s population has had the virus. Although the … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

Wolf Makes Major Health Appointments

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has nominated Alison Beam to be Secretary of the state’s Department of Health. Beam, currently Wolf’s deputy chief of staff, is a graduate of the Drexel University of Law.  If confirmed by the state Senate, Ms. Beam would replace Dr. Rachel Levine, who has been nominated by President Biden to serve as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Governor Wolf also has appointed Dr. Wendy Braund to be the state’s Interim Acting Physician General.  Dr. Levine currently serves in that capacity as well.  Dr. Braund, currently the COVID-19 response director in the state’s Department of Health, earned a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins and an M.D. from the … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania Department of Health and COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Tuesday, January 19

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state government as of 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19. Office of the Governor/Vaccination Plan The state has expanded its categories of individuals eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as part of phase 1A of Pennsylvania’s vaccination plan; this change is incorporated into the Department of Health’s vaccine web page.  To introduce this policy change, the governor’s office also sent the following message to selected stakeholders: The Pennsylvania Department of Health today will announce two additional categories of eligible individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as part of Phase 1A. Beginning today, all individuals 65 and older, and individuals ages 16-64 with certain medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

PA Hospitals Out $5 Billion From COVID-19

Pennsylvania hospitals reported a combined $5 billion in additional expenses and lost revenue associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency during the nine-month period from January through September, according to a new report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. The report breaks down the additional costs and lost revenue as follows: staffing expenses – $379 million testing expenses – $81 million supplies and equipment: $258 million construction – $21 million housing care – $500,000 other expenses – $88 million lost revenue – $4.1 billion These figures, the report notes, do not reflect emergency funds hospitals received through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Wednesday, January 13

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state and federal governments as of 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 13. Pennsylvania Update The Wolf Administration The Wolf administration has announced that the state is transitioning from the Regional Response Health Care Collaboration program (RRHC) created last year to a Long-Term Care Task Force that includes Regional Congregate Care Assistance Teams (RCATs) to continue supporting those facilities.  The ten health systems that participated in the RRHC will continue to work with the RCATs, with some previous RRHC functions to be performed by separate contractors.  The program has been allocated $12 million for January and February.  Learn more about the transition, the new program, and the contractors in this Wolf administration … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Friday, January 8

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state government as 2:00 p.m. on Friday, January 8. Department of Health The Department of Health has updated the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan. The Department of Health issued an advisory with indications and contraindications for COVID-19 vaccines as well as vaccine adverse events monitoring and reporting. The Department of Health issued a health alert with information on the UK variant strain of COVID-19 that was detected in a patient in Dauphin County.  The alert directs laboratories to submit samples fitting the description of the variant to the department.  The department also issued a news release about the new variant. The Department of Health issued an FAQ for laboratories reminding them to … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19

COVID-19 Update: Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the state government as 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 5. Secretary Levine’s News Briefing Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine briefed the press yesterday about the state of Pennsylvania’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and took questions from reporters.  Among the highlights of her briefing are the following points: Secretary Levine discussed the new state policy that hospitals that receive shipments of vaccine doses must set aside 10 percent of their supply to vaccinate non-hospital health care workers, such as EMS personnel.  This policy takes effect on Wednesday, January 6.  Every hospital that has receive doses must designate a contact whom non-hospital health care workers can contact to schedule their vaccinations. Within … Read More

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19
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