June 9, 2021

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!


New Headlines

Pa. House Votes to Permanently End Gov. Wolf's COVID-19 Disaster Emergency

The Pennsylvania House voted Tuesday evening to permanently end Governor Wolf's COVID-19 disaster emergency, and the executive powers that come with it, along party lines, 113-90.

If passed by the state Senate, the resolution would take effect immediately. Gov. Wolf cannot veto it.

The resolution, if enacted, would bring back nearly 500 regulations suspended by Wolf, governing everything from medical care and dog kennel inspections to medical marijuana sales; immediately restore the work search requirement for jobless benefits, and cut Pennsylvania off from receiving expanded federal low-income food aid.

However, Pennsylvania's mask order will remain in effect until June 28th or until 70 percent of Pennsylvania's residents are vaccinated, whichever occurs first.

The Senate is set to consider the resolution at some point today with a vote anticipated within the next week.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to Insurers & Providers: COVID-19 Vaccines and Testing Must be Free for Patients

On June 9th, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra sent a letter to insurers and providers stating that COVID-19 vaccines and testing must remain free for any individual living in the United States, regardless of their insurance or immigration status. This letter was prompted by recent reports of ongoing concerns and misinformation about Americans facing costs associated with COVID-19 vaccinations or testing. 

Read the full letter.

Biden Administration Continues Efforts to Increase Vaccinations By Bolstering Payments for At-Home COVID-19 Vaccinations for Medicare Beneficiaries

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced an additional payment amount for administering in-home COVID-19 vaccinations to Medicare beneficiaries who have difficulty leaving their homes or are otherwise hard-to-reach.

There are approximately 1.6 million adults 65 or older who may have trouble accessing COVID-19 vaccinations because they have difficulty leaving home.

Medicare will pay an additional $35 per dose for COVID-19 vaccine administration in a beneficiary’s home, increasing the total payment amount for at-home vaccination from approximately $40 to approximately $75 per vaccine dose. For a two-dose vaccine, this results in a total payment of approximately $150 for the administration of both doses, or approximately $70 more than the current rate.

Philadelphia Launches COVID Vaccine Lottery

On June 8th, Philadelphia launched a financial incentive to motivate residents to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Through the “Philly Vax Sweepstakes,” 36 vaccinated Philadelphians who are 18 and older will win prizes of up to $50,000, totaling nearly $400,000 in giveaways. In each of the three drawings on June 21, July 6 and July 19, six individuals will win $1,000; four will win $5,000 and two will win $50,000.

Financial support for the sweepstakes and related research is being provided by the University of Pennsylvania through the Wharton School, the Behavior Change for Good Initiative, the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, and Flu Lab.

Read the full article.

June is National COVID-19 Month of Action

The HHS "We Can Do This" COVID-19 Community Corps has named June the National COVID-19 Month of Action in an effort to get those in our communities vaccinated by July 4th. The National Vaccine Month of Action is a collaborative effort with thousands of national organizations, community-based partners, and everyday people, who will help open lines of communication, listen to concerns, and help people make informed decisions about the COVID-19 vaccinations.

You can find ways to participate here

POMA Meets with State Physician General Johnson on COVID-19 Vaccines

POMA recently met with with the Pennsylvania’s Acting Physician General, Denise A. Johnson, MD to discuss the Department of Health’s plans to reach the remaining patients who either want the COVID-19 vaccine and have not gotten it and those who are hesitant. POMA president-elect Lisa Witherite-Rieg, DO, made the argument that Osteopathic physicians in primary care are uniquely situated to reach both categories of patients because they are part of the fabric of the local community and have trusted relationships with patients who may need additional information before they are comfortable receiving the vaccine. Dr. Johnson was supportive of POMA’s position and spoke to the Department’s current vaccine objective, pivoting from larger/mass vaccination sites to community physician practices.

Dr. Johnson further requested Osteopathic physicians who are willing and able to provide COVID-19 vaccines should apply to the Department of Health to receive the vaccine. The process requires that each provider sign the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement. POMA members wishing to apply will also be required to be established and trained in the use of the Pennsylvania Statewide Immunization Information System (PA-SIIS). The Department of Health has a dedicated contact phone line and email exclusively to providers and their questions on providing the COVID-19 vaccine: [email protected] or 717-787-5681. Osteopathic physicians can also obtain education materials for their patients in their offices using this link.

Department Of Health Updates Nursing Home Data Reporting Order To Support Facilities, Improve COVID-19 Data Integrity

Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam amended the skilled nursing facilities COVID-19 case and death data reporting order to transition from daily reporting requirements to weekly. The move is intended to improve data integrity reported by facilities and provide one comprehensive report on a weekly basis to reflect the impact of COVID-19 in these communities.

All data is reported on the COVID-19 long-term care facility (LTCF) data page. This page represents data from nursing homes licensed by the Department of Health and personal care homes, assisted living facilities and other LTCFs licensed by the Department of Human Services to provide COVID-19 data to the public on all LTCFs.

In addition to self-reported data, the department provides county and statewide COVID-19 case and death data for all LTCFs from the state’s disease surveillance system, PA-NEDSS. A county breakdown can be found here.

Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Pennsylvania is currently administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination numbers for Pennsylvania do not include Philadelphia, which is its own jurisdiction, or federal facilities, which are working directly with the federal government.

According to the PA Department of Health, this week, a total of 11,946,240 doses will have been allocated through June 12.

As of June 9, a total of 10,967,544 doses have been administered:

  • First/single doses: 6,022,279
  • Partially vaccinated: 1,498,579
  • Fully vaccinated: 4,945,265
According to the CDC, as of June 9, 56.3% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated.

POMA Members Can Receive PPE Discounts

Through POMA's partnership with ActionPPE.org, we are able to help our members acquire proper PPE supplies.  Launched in South Carolina, ActionPPE has supplied over 2.6 million units of PPE to members of over 20 state medical organizations through a reputable and certified supplier.  By pooling resources, POMA members receive a 5% discount on PPE orders when they use the discount code POMA-SAVE5. Product details and certificates for masks, gowns, gloves, face shields, etc. are provided on the site with most items in-stock and shipping directly to your office.

 PA Health Alert Network (PA HAN) - Health Alerts, Advisories and Updates

 Previously Published but Relevant Headlines

COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Map

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has launched a provider map along with an eligibility survey on its website to help those eligible, including health care workers not affiliated with a hospital, find a location to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Users can search by location, type in an address or zip code and filter by facility type.

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

Briefings and Updates from Pa. Governor Wolf and the Department of Health

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