Pennsylvania extends nursing home coronavirus response program

Wolf administration officials said Thursday that Pennsylvania will extend a key feature of its response to coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes, albeit on a scaled-down model after federal funding ran out in December.

The Regional Congregate Care Assistance Teams now will run through May, costing $6 million a month to support services such as testing, staffing and rapid response services for outbreaks, administration officials said. Some of that money is state aid that the Wolf administration expects to get reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


The program — succeeding last year’s Regional Response Health Collaborative — had been scheduled to lapse at the end of February after the Wolf administration ran it for two months on a smaller scale.

Federal funding ran out at the end of 2020 for the program, which had distributed $175 million in federal coronavirus aid to 11 regional health systems or health organizations to help contain outbreaks in nursing homes, Wolf administration officials have said.

MORE: COVID-related deaths in Pennsylvania nursing homes fuel blame

The Wolf administration had committed another $28 million to support testing this year, officials said.

Since the beginning of January, the Regional Congregate Care Assistance Teams have engaged in nearly 3,500 missions covering facility consultations, requests for personal protective equipment, testing, staffing and rapid response, including 53 rapid response deployments, the administration said.



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