Statewide Mitigation Guidance

  • 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.
  • In an effort to reinforce the response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Pennsylvania Department of State announced that it will allow retired health care professionals to reenter the workforce by waiving certain licensing regulations. Retired or inactive health care workers in good standing will be able to reactive their licenses without having to pay a reactivation fee. 
  • 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.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Health updated its guidelines after previously unveiling strict rules about receiving dental care which forced many to close. Dentists are now able to reopen for emergency care.

All of the state’s major health insurance providers have agreed to cover medically appropriate COVID-19 diagnostic testing and associated treatment for consumers. They have agreed to waive any cost-sharing for the testing.

  • The insurers that are part of this agreement are Highmark, UPMC Health Plan, Geisinger, Independence BlueCross, Capital Blue Cross, Aetna, Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, Pennsylvania Health and Wellness, and Oscar.
  • While testing done by the CDC and Pennsylvania’s state lab in Exton are done at no cost to the individual, tests done by commercial medical labs – who several days ago were given the go-ahead by the CDC to perform testing – would have otherwise been up to the individual and/or their health insurer to pay. With the announcement, state officials said commercial labs will begin billing insurance for the COVID-19 test as they would for any other diagnostic test.
  • COVID-19 testing is covered without prior authorization required for people who have Medicaid and CHIP. There are no Medicaid or CHIP co-pays for COVID 19 testing.
  • 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.

Pharmacy Information

  • 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

Medicaid & Medicare Information

  • Medicaid
    • 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
  • Medicare
    • 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.

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.