Harrisburg, September 22, 2020 – State Senator John Yudichak (I – Luzerne/Carbon) was pleased to see that the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 1189 (K. Ward) which, if enacted, will better protect nursing home residents and staff.
“During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Pennsylvania Department of Health simply did not do enough to help our nursing homes protect residents and front-line workers, but through the legislation, sponsored by Senator Kim Ward, Pennsylvania nursing homes will now be better prepared to handle any future emergencies at their facilities.”
“As we head into fall and winter, we must remain vigilant as COVID-19 remains a persistent health concern in our communities, and a serious threat to the most vulnerable citizens in this pandemic — the residents and workers in Pennsylvania nursing homes. I am extremely grateful for the great work of local programs, like the NEPA Nursing Home SOS program, which has distributed over a half-million dollars and 460,000 pieces of infection control supplies, personal protective equipment and symptom screening supplies to 30 facilities in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Carbon and Monroe counties.”
Senate Bill 1189 would require the Secretary of Health to ensure long-term care facilities follow and implement disease prevention and control guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The bill would also require the Department of Health to ensure that no individual who has tested positive for a communicable disease within 14 days is placed in a facility without being placed in isolation. The Secretary of Health would be prevented from forcing the admission of a patient to a long-term care facility without considering the ability of the facility to care for the patient.
The measure would also ensure that facilities are adequately equipped to follow recommendations and guidelines issued by the CDC and the CMS for the prevention and control of the communicable disease with facilities, including personal protective equipment for individuals admitted or working within the facility, laboratory testing and staff accessibility.
Senate Bill 1189 will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Carly Simpson: 717-787-7105
Brad Hurley: 570-325-3274