May 13, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

POMA continues to monitor the rapidly changing information surrounding the spread of COVID-19.

In an effort to provide accurate and helpful information to POMA members, we have gathered some of the resources we are finding to be most useful and accurate at this time. We hope this helps you in staying on top of the latest developments in the spread of the disease and in helping your patients.

Stay safe and healthy!


POMA Requests Clarity from Gov. Wolf re: Immunity Protection Executive Order

Governor Wolf released an Executive Order on May 6, 2020 which provides immunity for individual healthcare providers, including Osteopathic physicians in healthcare facility settings as it relates to COVID-19. POMA has thanked the Governor for this portion of the Executive Order. However, what is not clear is whether the Governor intended to exclude Osteopathic physicians working in the out-patient setting or physician office. The 10-page order is complex and ambiguous in many instances. As a result, POMA sent a letter to the Governor asking if he intended to exclude office-based physicians or was there simply a drafting error. If the latter, we asked for clarification. At the time of this publication, the Governor’s office has not made a determination, but did share with POMA they will get back to us. Additionally, the Executive Order is clear that it does not include facilities, only the clinicians working in them. POMA does not see the logic in bifurcating protection for individual health care workers and no protection for the hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities where the healthcare personnel work. POMA continues to review and attempt to work with the Governor’s office to remedy these identified shortcomings.

Guidance for Non-Urgent Procedures in Phased Reopening Plan

On May 9, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA-DOH) revised guidance for health care providers related to performing non-urgent procedures as a component of Governor Wolf's phased reopening plan. Providers may resume non-urgent and elective care in addition to providing urgent and emergency care, only when appropriate PPE is available and telemedicine is not clinical sufficient.  All patients should be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and social distancing should be maintained while on premises.  Patients should always wash or sanitize hands frequently and wear a mask.

PA DOH Releases Updated Guidelines for Nursing Care Facilities

On May 12, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA-DOH) will implement universal testing for the staff and residents of all long-term care facilities in the Commonwealth.  She noted that the testing will be "accessible, available and adaptable."  She said the policy will require all nursing home residents hospitalized for non-COVID-19 issues to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to their living facility.  Click here to view the new testing policy and the updated guidelines for nursing care facilities, which were originally published mid-March.  Questions about these guidelines should be directed to local health departments or the PA-DOH.

Pennsylvania Receives First Shipment of Remdesivir

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health received their first shipment of 1,200 doses of remdesivir.  The investigational antiviral medication was shipped to 51 hospitals across the state based on the number of COVID-19 patients at the hospital over a recent seven-day period, and the severity of the illness of those patients.  The supply of remdesivir is being managed by the Department of Health and Human Services and the federal government, and they plan to continue shipments to states on a weekly basis.

While there is limited information on the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients, it was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the recovery time in some patients, which is why the FDA has authorized the emergency use of the medication for COVID-19 treatment.

AOA Provides Members with Discounted Pricing for PPE

The AOA has partnered with Nexvoo to provide AOA members with a special discount on FDA-authorized KN85 and 3-ply surgical masks.  Click here for pricing and discount code information.

Updated Return to Work Guidelines Issued for Healthcare Personnel

On Friday, May 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released updated guidance for making decisions about return to work for healthcare personnel with confirmed COVID-19, or who have suspected COVID-19. Click here for the new return to work guidelines.

PPE Material Distribution

All providers should be working with their Regional Health Care Coalition to submit requests for PPE. Please scroll to the bottom for the contact information of each region's Public Health Preparedness Coordinator.

Pennsylvania Suspends Licensing Regulations

Due to COVID-19, Governor Wolf has granted a number of temporary waivers for health care professionals to increase the available number of practitioners in the Commonwealth and reduce barriers to temporary licensure. Following are a list of waivers relevant for osteopathic physicians:

Click here for a complete list of suspended licensing regulations. For all licensing-related inquiries, please use the email addresses found here to contact the appropriate licensing board.

Updated Pennsylvania Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Cases, Graphics, Resources

Daily Briefings and Updates from Pa. Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine

Resources from the CDC

The CDC has provided guidance and resources for healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, laboratories, as well as information for schools and childcare, businesses and employers, community and faith-based organizations, and the general public. Visit the CDC COVID-19 webpage for more information.

POMA will continue monitoring COVID-19 and provide updates and recommendations from PA-DOH, the CDC, the WHO and local health agencies. POMA's COVID-19 webpage and social media channels will be updated as information is shared from these organizations.

If you have any comments or questions for POMA, please email us at [email protected]. 

Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association | 1330 Eisenhower Boulevard, Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 939-9318 |