Policy Areas

Attached is the Thresholds for Community Spread Report as described in ODP Announcement 20-101.

Providers are responsible to review the report and make any necessary changes according to the status of their county. The publication of the Threshold for Community Spread Report will follow publication of DOH’s updated Dashboard numbers, which is available on Friday of each week.

A provider is expected to implement recommended operational status by the following Monday.

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The Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Education have released the below COVID-19 safety guidance documents to assist providers, families, and individuals during the provision of in-home services.

For additional guidance related to COVID-19, please visit the Department of Health COVID-19 in Pennsylvania and DHS COVID-19 Guidance and Resources pages.

If you have any questions, please contact your RCPA policy director.

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Message from Kevin Dressler

COVID-19 Vaccine

I have attached three documents regarding the rollout of a vaccine once it is available to the long-term care facilities. The first document is an overview of the strategy for the rollout along with a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document concerning the rollout. There is also a copy of an email regarding a meeting slated for Friday, December 4 at 3:00 pm to discuss the provider enrollment; a question and answer portion will be built into the presentation. EDHS and the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) are anticipating that the intermediate care facilities (ICFs) will be a part of Phase 1A, which is the initial part of the rollout of the vaccine distribution.

HAN 537– Testing and Management Strategies for Co-Circulating Flu and COVID Viruses

Please take the time to review and implement the testing and management strategies where possible to address the co-circulating flu and COVID viruses.

CDC Guidance on Quarantine

This link outlines new guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding people in quarantine and exposure to COVID-19. I anticipate that a HAN will be forthcoming to align with this guidance and want to get this out to everyone so that you can begin thinking about the changes and be prepared to implement them when the HAN is completed. This guidance reduces the number of days required for someone to quarantine from 14 days to 10 days if the person is not experiencing symptoms, is wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), and is monitoring for symptoms for the full 14 days. There is also a strategy for a seven-day return with a negative test result that could be considered in extreme staffing situations. Again, this is the CDC’s guidance, and I fully suspect that we will be receiving further guidance from the Department of Health (DOH) in the form of a HAN. As a result, we should wait until the guidance from the DOH is received to implement these new procedures.



Please join RCPA for a member update webinar on Thursday, December 17 from 9:00 am – 10:30 am. Michael Gamel-McCormick, Disability Policy Director from the Office of Senator Bob Casey, will lead a discussion on federal health-care-related issues critical to RCPA members.

RCPA policy staff will also review key issues. Pat Brier and Paul Dlugolecki from Brier Dlugolecki Strategies will present a budget update.

Please register here to participate. We look forward to your participation!

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Problem Gambling Webinar: Sports Betting and Online Gambling

  • Thursday, December 10, 2020 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
    • This training will explore the nature of problem gambling while examining emerging trends in online gambling, sports betting, and future considerations in Esports wagering. See this flyer for more details.

Veterans Benefits Administration Tele-Townhall

  • See this webpage for upcoming dates, times, and call-in information.
    • The Tele-Townhall series is hosted by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Under Secretary for Benefits, Dr. Paul Lawrence.

Conversation with the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) – Part 2: Collaboration Opportunities for County Jails and Opioid Treatment Programs to Support and Expand Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) Services

  • Wednesday, December 9, 2020 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
    • This conversation will discuss options to increase medications for opioid use disorder in the jail system by working closely with local Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP). Topics will include OTP regulations relevant to jails and opportunities to increase access to methadone within jails.
  • Recommended Participants:
    • Lead representatives from grantee jails, including members of clinical, custody, and administration teams who support data collection, reporting, and evaluation of MOUD programs
    • Representatives from state OTPs
    • State correctional institutions and non-grantee jails are also encouraged to participate if interested in learning more about MOUD and future grant opportunities

For more information, please contact Mary Kate Brousseau.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that they will hold a call on December 10, 2020 from 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern Time (ET) that will focus on the calendar year (CY) 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) final rule that was recently released. This call will focus specifically on four key areas within this final rule, including:

  • Extending telehealth and licensing flexibilities beyond the public health emergency (PHE);
  • Updating Evaluation and Management (E/M) coding guidance;
  • Updating the Quality Payment Program and Merit-Based Incentive Payment System Value Pathways; and
  • Updating opioid use disorder and substance use disorder provisions.

During the call, CMS experts will briefly cover provisions from the final rule and address any questions. Members are encouraged to review the final rule prior to the call. To participate, please register here.