Pennsylvania State Information
CARES Act Funding
Work continues to prepare for distribution of funds for providers from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. At this point, we are on pace to begin distributing one-time gross adjustment funds to intellectual disability and autism service providers beginning next week through July 1. Payments to nursing facilities and other long-term care facilities like personal care homes will begin in early July.
It is important to note that Act 24 of 2020 requires these funds to be expended by November 30, 2020 or returned to the commonwealth. Additionally, these funds must be used for COVID-19 related expenses. Providers will need to keep documentation to prove that these funds were used for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic in case of an audit. Further information about reporting requirements for these funds will be sent to providers in the coming weeks.
Critical Medical Supplies/Needs
- Pennsylvania needs critical medical supplies. To fulfill this need, the State has developed the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Critical Medical Supplies Procurement Portal and a Manufacturing Call to Action Portal to source the most needed medical supplies. The Portal is for manufacturers, distributors and other suppliers to inform PA of supplies available for purchase and will allow staff to more quickly and efficiently procure these supplies for hospitals and medical facilities across PA.
- People who have contacted the state through those portals have their items listed in the PPE & Supplies Business2Business Exchange Portal.
- PA has also launched a donation portal designed for individuals, corporations or community organizations to inform the commonwealth of critical medical supplies available for donation. Donations will be distributed to hospitals, medical facilities and emergency management services across Pennsylvania.
- The American Red Cross has an emergency need for blood donations and is still seeking blood donors.
- To help meet the need, The FDA has relaxed guidelines on allowing men who have had sexual contact with other men to donate blood.
- They may now donate after three months of their last sexual encounter with a male partner instead of 12 months. This guideline has also been relaxed for women who report sexual contact with a man who has had sexual contact with another man.
- Licensed health care practitioners may provide services via telemedicine
- Temporary licenses for out-of-state health care practitioners will be expedited
- Extended all upcoming license renewal deadlines including healthcare and non-healthcare professionals
- Recently retired health care practitioners may temporarily reactivate their licenses more easily and without reactivation fees
As of April 27, 2020 Medical Centers may perform non-essential surgeries if they meet the criteria set out by PA DHS.
Health Equity Principles
COVID-19 has unleashed a dual threat to health equity in the United States: a pandemic that has sickened millions and killed tens of thousands and counting, and an economic downturn that has resulted in tens of millions of people losing jobs—the highest numbers since the Great Depression. The COVID pandemic underscores that:
- Our health is inextricably linked to that of our neighbors, family members, child- and adult-care providers, co-workers, school teachers, delivery service people, grocery store clerks, factory workers, and first responders, among others;
- Our current health care, public health, and economic systems do not adequately or equitably protect our well-being as a nation; and
- Every community is experiencing harm, though certain groups are suffering disproportionately, including people of color, workers with low incomes, and people living in places that were already struggling financially before the economic downturn.
For communities and their residents to recover fully and fairly, state and local leaders should consider following health equity principles in designing and implementing their responses
Health Insurance Guidelines
Private Health Insurances
- COVID-19 testing and treatment has been determined to be an essential health benefit (EHB) that will be covered by most insurance plans.
- The stimulus bill requires all private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccine and makes all coronavirus tests free.
Medicare & Medicaid
- The Trump Administration announced expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. Beginning on March 6, 2020, Medicare—administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries residing across the entire country.
- For the full press release, click here.
- According to the PA Department of Human Services, the state will continue to accept and process applications and documents for coverage
- To apply – go to PA Compass
- They can notate a health emergency including COVID-19 when taking applications
- County Assistance Office employees are prioritizing these applications. County Assistance Offices will continue to process applications for benefits and maintain existing cases.
- No terminations of Medicaid will occur during this time
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Children’s Health Insurance Program
- CHIP is available to uninsured kids regardless the level of family income.
- Income, as based on the federal poverty level or “FPL,” simply determines whether a child would be covered under Free CHIP or Low Cost or Full Cost CHIP with cost-sharing on a sliding scale.
- For most families CHIP is free which means no copays or monthly premiums.
- Apply at PA Compass
- Several regulations, such as how pharmacists are supervised and if medication can be ordered from out of state pharmacies has been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Some pharmacies are doing free delivery, please reach out to local businesses to see if your local pharmacy is as well.
The FamilyWize discount card does not need to be physically presented, the customer can provide the following information:
- BIN: 610194
- Card ID: FW100
- Group ID: FW100
- PCN: FW
Mental Health Resources
- PA DHS is partnering with the Center for Community Resources to offer a 24/7 mental health and crisis support line for people dealing with anxiety or other difficult emotions. Callers will be able to speak with staff who are trained in trauma-informed principles and will listen, assess the person’s needs, triage, and refer to other local supports and professionals as needed. The Mental Health Support Line can be reached toll-free, 24/7 at 1-855-284-2494.
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TALKWITHUS to 66746. Provides crisis counseling and support anyone in the US experiencing a disaster or public health emergency.
- Crisis Text Line: MHA to 741741 free text based support 24/7
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-799-7233 for victims or survivors. Can also text LOVEIS to 22522.
- PCAR is still operating a crisis hotline for victims of sexual assault: 1-888-772-7227 which will help connect them to a local crisis center for telecounseling.
The Federal Government is mobilizing to ensure the approximately 20 million Americans who struggle with the disease of addiction can access and continue to receive treatment and recovery support services, while keeping themselves and healthcare professionals safe from unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.