May 20, 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!


Wolf Administration Releases COVID-19 Data for Long-Term Care Facilities

Yesterday, Governor Wolf released data on the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths at long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania.  The data provides the number of resident cases, number of employee cases and number of deaths that have occurred at each facility.  Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said "COVID-19 is a particularly challenging situation for these settings... We will continue to work to ensure the safety and well-being of residents through education, resources and testing."

Testing is an essential component to make sure residents in these long-term care facilities are safe.  Last week guidance was issued to hospitals and skilled nursing homes and a Health Alert was issued to provide direction to all skilled nursing facilities on testing.

CDC Teams Assist Pennsylvania with COVID-19 Response

Last Thursday, three teams from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) arrived in Pennsylvania to assist teams working in the field with the COVID-19 response.  Two of the teams are assisting with outbreaks in long-term care facilities and one team is assisting with food facility outbreaks. The teams will help the Department of Health assess the situation in these congregate settings, teach infection control practices, and offer training on PPE and outbreak response at the facilities they visit.  They will also assist with developing a testing strategy for the nursing homes they visit and help cohort the residents.

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.

Pennsylvania Distributes Remdesivir Across Commonwealth

Over the last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has distributed more than 9,000 doses of remdesivir to hospitals across the Commonwealth.  The distribution of the investigational antiviral medication is 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.  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.

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.

Coronavirus Testing for Uninsured Pennsylvanians

On May 18, Governor Tom Wolf announced that federal stimulus funding will be used to reimburse providers who test uninsured patients, so those patients can be tested for free.  Click here to view the Department of Health's testing-site locator map.  For those who do test positive, Pennsylvania's Federally Qualified Health Centers are providing care for free and/or on a sliding scale.  Click here to find a Pennsylvania Community Health Center.

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 |