The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) of the Department of Human Services (DHS) is working closely with the Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to ensure preparedness for OLTL participants in response to a possible outbreak of COVID-19. OLTL is aware that the Pennsylvanians we serve, including those that are Nursing Facility Clinically Eligible (NFCE), are an extremely vulnerable population in relation to morbidity and mortality related to a COVID-19 outbreak. DOH is designated to lead the response for the Commonwealth to COVID-19. Currently, Pennsylvania does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19.
In response to numerous inquiries related to guidance for COVID-19, OLTL has gathered the following resources for information from DOH and other sources:
- Resources for health care facilities, including steps health care facilities can take, interim guidance for health care facilities, and strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Situation summary in the United States with frequent updates, maps and risk assessments, from the CDC.
- For questions on what to do if you are sick, visit this web page.
- For questions about OLTL compliance issues related to COVID-19, providers can submit concerns via email. Otherwise, please visit the DOH site, which has several downloadable documents that can be used for information dissemination, or call 877-PA-HEALTH.
DHS is supporting DOH in the dissemination of information related to COVID-19, and all guidance is provided by, and should be sought through, DOH.
All OLTL providers, including Community HealthChoices (CHC)-MCOs are encouraged to:
- Review infection control protocols at the facilities and agencies who provide care for their participants;
- Evaluate staff adherence to provider infection control protocols; and
- Evaluate the capacity to implement emergency backup plans in the event that staffing is impacted by the COVID-19 virus.
While COVID-19 is raising concerns, it is also an opportunity to evaluate preventative infection control measures. Medically fragile individuals, including those participants who are NFCE and their supporting staff, are all at increased risk for infection of all kinds, not just COVID-19. As always, prevention is the best response, and the best prevention is good infection control.