June 3, 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!


Pennsylvania DOH Holds First Regional Contact Tracing Meeting

Last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA-DOH) brought together stakeholders to discuss the contact tracing needs in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  Dr. Levine said "the southwestern regional consortium is the first of many meetings with regions across the state to provide information about plans and needs to conduct contact tracing in Pennsylvania."  The PA-DOH is working to set up consortiums in each of the six regions in the state to assess the number of contact tracers needed in each area, help recruit and train contact tracers, and coordinate information and data to ensure consistency within the region.  The PA-DOH is also partnering with medical and public health colleges to increase contact tracers.

Click here for more information on the state's contact tracing plan.  Those who would like to become a contact tracer can be found here.

New Testing Facilities Opening Across Pennsylvania

Today, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced a new partnership with Walmart and Quest Diagnostics to increase testing for residents living in areas where there are fewer testing sites.  Over the next few weeks, 19 free testing sites will open at Walmart locations across north central and northwest Pennsylvania.  Residents must register one day in advance through Quest.  Beginning June 5, the first five drive-thru testing sites will open in Clarion, Erie, Montoursville, Clearfield and Hermitage.  Additional sites will be announced over the next few weeks.

Click here for a map of testing sites in Pennsylvania and to find a link to Quest's patient portal.

Updated Testing Guidance for COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities

On Monday, June 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released updated guidance for COVID-19 testing of residents and healthcare personnel in long-term care facilities.  This version reflects a correction to the email address for DOH licensed facilities to request support for COVID-19 testing.

Updated ASF Guidance for COVID-19 Testing

The Department of Health recently issued updated guidance on ambulatory surgical facilities (ASF) responses to COVID-19.  In particular, ASF's that intend to provide COVID-19 testing to patients and staff must hold the appropriate CLIA certificate type and a state laboratory permit and be approved for COVID-19 testing.  If an ASF does not have a state laboratory permit and CLIA certificate or has not already obtained approval from the Department's Bureau of Laboratories (BOL) for COVID-19 testing, the laboratory must contact BOL as soon as possible via email at [email protected].  For additional information on CLIA certification requirements for COVID-19 testing, please click here.  ASFs that do not have their own laboratory and do not want to become authorized to perform their own testing may utilize a commercial laboratory with the appropriate authorizations to conduct COVID-19 testing.

CMS Clarifies CR Modifier and DR Condition Code

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a revision to MLN Matters Special Edition Article SE20011 on Medicare Fee-for-Service Response to the Public Health Emergency on the Coronavirus.  The update clarifies when you must use modifier CR (catastrophe/disaster related) and/or condition code DR (disaster related) when submitting claims to Medicare.  It also includes a chart of blanket waivers and flexibilities that require the modifier or condition code.

DHS Releases Guidelines for Parents with Children Returning to Child Care

Yesterday, the Department of Human Services (DHS) released a Frequently Asked Questions guide for families with children returning to child care facilities in counties in the yellow or green phase of reopening.  DHS previously issued guidance mid-May to child care providers in counties that moved to the yellow phase.  All child care facilities that reopen must follow CDC guidelines for child care centers.  Child care options can be found here.  Families who need financial assistance for child care can apply for Child Care Works or by contacting the Early Learning Resource Centers in their community.

COVID-19 Practice Management Tools from MOA

The Michigan Osteopathic Association and its partners created a series of COVID-19-related practice management videos for DOs across the country.  Topics include best practices for reopening your practice and creating a disaster plan for your practice.  A playbook and checklist for reopening are also available for download.  Visit www.domoa.org to access these materials or click here to watch the video.

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 | www.poma.org