Pennsylvania Department of Health
Facility Message Board Details
Date Posted:  5/15/2020 Subject: Additional information


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Because of the serious implications that COVID-19 has had and is having for the residents and staff of nursing homes, and the surrounding communities, and because of the need for the most timely and accurate data the Department of Health is able to obtain, the Secretary of Health has chosen to exercise her public health authority and issue an Order requiring the reporting in question. The Department of Health has provided instructions today to all skilled nursing facilities regarding how to report into its system for this purpose. The Department is requiring facilities to report daily, even over weekends and holidays, precisely because of the serious consequences that spread of the virus has for nursing home residents, its ability to spread asymptomatically, and the need for the most current, timely and accurate data to inform the Commonwealth’s response.

Information provided to skilled nursing facilities by the Department today did also include a letter reminding them of their obligations under CMS’ new regulations. This letter, while intended to be a timely reminder of those federal regulatory obligations, was not intended to define their obligations under the Secretary’s public health Order. The Secretary’s Order stands separate and apart from requirements mandated by CMS and is authorized by her authority to protect the health of the people of this Commonwealth, and to determine and employ the most efficient and practical means for the prevention and suppression of disease. Therefore, the letter detailing federal requirements relating to CMS should be disregarded for purposes of complying with the Secretary’s Order. The Department is not taking the issuance of this Order as a regulatory step, but as a public health imperative.

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