June 17, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

POMA continues to monitor the 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!


New Headlines

POMAF Funds 3D Printed P100 Mask

Thanks in part to grants from the POMA Foundation and the American Osteopathic Information Association, POMA resident members James R. Latronica, DO and Steve Martin, DO have designed a 3D printed P100 respirator mask, called the Unity, and an instruction manual and video to make it. The project was initially conceived as an emergent, rapid response to the nationwide PPE shortage. View a pdf of the guide or click here watch the 30-minute video.

Drs. James Latronica and Steve Martin are residents at the Clarion (Pa.) Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program.

New Testing Facilities Opening Across Pennsylvania

Beginning today, nine more COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites will open in Walmart parking lots across the state, bringing the total to 19 sites.  This is part of the state's 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, additional free testing sites will open at Walmart locations across north central and northwest Pennsylvania.  Residents must register one day in advance through Quest.

Through the work of a number of entities, including Rite Aid, CVS, Patient First, Walmart and others, testing is accessible for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals to get tested closer to home.  Adding these locations to those already offered by hospitals, health systems, FQHCs, health clinics and other locations significantly expands the testing network in the Commonwealth.

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

Dept of Health Releases May 2020 Nursing Home Inspection Report

On Monday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA-DOH) released its May 2020 Nursing Home Inspection Report.  Nursing home surveyors conducted 292 inspections, including 210 complaint investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition, nine sanctions were finalized again nursing care facilities.  While annual inspections are not occurring at this time, extensions are in place according to guidance issued from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  The majority of other inspections are still occurring but may be conducted virtually.

PA-DOH recently announced an order directing testing at skilled nursing facilities.  Facilities in need of assistance are encouraged to contact the department, which can provide assistance from a number of available resources on infection control, PPE, etc.

If there are concerns about the safety at a facility, anonymous complaints can be filed with the Department of Health at 1-800-254-5164, e-mailing [email protected] or complete the online form.

Pennsylvania Continues to Show Steady Decline in COVID Cases

As Pennsylvania continues to move through the phased reopening process, the state is also seeing a steady decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths.  With more than half the state in the green phase, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said, "It is essential that we continue to take precautions to protect against COVID-19... Each of us has a responsibility to continue to protect ourselves, our loved ones and others by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and washing our hands frequently. Together we can protect our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our healthcare system."

Previously Published but Relevant Headlines

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