Senator Yudichak Announces Northeastern Pennsylvania Nursing Home SOS Program

Nanticoke, Wednesday April 29, 2020 – In partnership with AllOne Foundation and Charities, State Senator John Yudichak (I – Luzerne/Carbon) announced the establishment of a $500,000 Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Nursing Home SOS (Supply Operate Save) Program to assist area nursing homes that have become the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in Pennsylvania. 

The NEPA Nursing Home SOS Program is being funded through a generous $250,000 donation from the Earth Conservancy and a matching grant of $250,000 from AllOne Foundation and Charities. In addition to the Earth Conservancy and AllOne Foundation and Charities, the Luzerne Foundation and the Carbon County Community Foundation will serve as founding funding partners to secure additional funding for the NEPA Nursing Home SOS Program.

The NEPA Nursing Home SOS Program has been established to protect nursing home residents and nursing home employees by distributing much needed resources to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our nursing homes. Over 80% of the COVID-19 related deaths in Carbon County have been in the county’s two nursing homes, and over 65% of the COVID-19 related deaths in Luzerne County have been in the county’s twenty-five nursing homes.

Funding secured for the NEPA Nursing Home SOS Program will be used for the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 supplies in accordance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines. The CMS guidelines focus on three priority supply areas for nursing homes:

1.) Infection Control Supplies.

2.) Personal Protection Equipment.

3.) Symptom Screening Supplies.

AllOne Foundation and Charities will administer and manage the NEPA Nursing Home SOS Program in consultation with local nursing homes in the foundation’s 13 county service area. 

In addition to local efforts, the NEPA Nursing Home SOS Program has partnered with statewide nursing home advocacy organizations, the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) and LeadingAge PA, to advocate for more state and federal resources for Pennsylvania nursing homes.

State Senator John T. Yudichak (I – Luzerne/Carbon)

“Pennsylvania nursing homes are the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, but there is no statewide response plan in place to help vulnerable nursing home residents who now represent more than 60% of COVID-19 deaths in the Commonwealth,” said State Senator John Yudichak.

“The Northeastern Pennsylvania Nursing Home SOS Program is a locally driven plan that, thanks to the generosity of the Earth Conservancy and AllOne Foundation and Charities, will help us distribute much needed infection control supplies and personal protection equipment to our nursing homes to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus and save lives.”

“With the help of statewide nursing home advocates, like the Pennsylvania Health Care Association and LeadingAge PA, we believe our local efforts will bolster advocacy efforts to get the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Health to focus more of their attention and more of their resources on the critical needs of Pennsylvania’s nursing homes.”

John Cosgrove, Executive Director, AllOne Foundations & Charities

“The leadership of AllOne Foundation & Charities has prioritized getting these resources to where they will do the most good right now,” said John Cosgrove, Executive Director, AllOne Foundations & Charities. “We need to do all we can to help our most vulnerable seniors and the dedicated staff who care for them to stay safe. It is our duty to help.”

Terence J. Ostrowski, President and CEO, Earth Conservancy

“Earth Conservancy is proud to support this effort coordinated by Senator Yudichak. This is a time of great need, and the aid supplied to these 25 local nursing homes will ensure that necessary equipment and services are available to both staff and residents, allowing them to address the current crisis and to minimize the risk of future outbreaks,” said Terence J. Ostrowski, President and CEO, Earth Conservancy. “Our mission at Earth Conservancy includes not only the rehabilitation and restoration of mine-scarred lands, but also the promotion of the health and well-being of our residents, who are our area’s most valuable asset. Many of the residents in these nursing homes have histories entwined with our mining past. Protection of these individuals and the residents they care for is paramount.”

Jim Brogna, Vice President of Strategic Partnership Development, Allied Services Integrated Health System

“As the region’s largest nonprofit provider of post-acute rehabilitation, long term and personal care for the elderly and for those with disabilities in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Allied Services Integrated Health System is very grateful for Senator Yudichak’s advocacy and for his concerns to protect the most vulnerable in our community,” said Jim Brogna, Vice President of Strategic Partnership Development, Allied Services Integrated Health System. “Each nursing home and long-term care provider in Luzerne County and northeastern Pennsylvania will benefit greatly from this collaboration. We’re proud to be a partner on this initiative to help accomplish our primary goal of protecting our patients, residents and staff, while maintaining our high standards as a nationally-acclaimed physical rehabilitation provider.”

Zach Shamberg, President and CEO, PHCA

“In the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, long-term care providers are banding together and working in tandem to care for their residents and protect their frontline workers. The members of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association wish to thank Senator Yudichak for his support, and for his commitment to our most vulnerable population in Luzerne County,” said Zach Shamberg, President and CEO, PHCA. “The partnership being built among Luzerne County’s long-term care providers, caregivers, healthcare heroes and Senator Yudichak’s office highlights a perfect example of collaboration and cooperation.”

Adam Marles, President and CEO, LeadingAge PA

“These significant donations will help the 25 nursing home facilities in Luzerne County to provide the supplies and protective equipment needed to protect our society’s most vulnerable people as well as those who care for them every day,” said Adam Marles, President and CEO, LeadingAge PA. “This incredible gesture from the Luzerne County community is exactly the type of support our members need in the absence of adequate funding from the state. It warms my heart to see the outpouring of generosity from these community organizations, and I hope it inspires a wave of similar initiatives across the Commonwealth to protect our older adults.”

To date, there have been 7,698 positive cases of COVID-19 in nursing home residents throughout the Commonwealth and 975 positive cases in nursing home employees for a total of 8,673 positive cases in nursing homes, which serves as 19.5% of all positive COVID-19 cases in the state.

There have been 1,428 COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes throughout Pennsylvania, which accounts for 65% of all COVID-19 deaths in the state.

Contact:

Brad Hurley (bhurley@pasen.gov)

Carly Simpson (csimpson@pasen.gov)