July 14, 2020
Contact: Shayna Varner, 717-221-1800
Cell: 304-280-0457

Pennsylvania Health Care Association Calls on RRHC Providers to Collaborate, Partner with Long-Term Care Providers

HARRISBURG, PA – Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), today released the following statement following the Department of Human Services’ announcement regarding the Regional Response Health Collaborative (RRHC) program:

“We’re encouraged by today’s official launch of the Regional Response Health Collaborative (RRHC) program, and the announcement of the health systems and academic institutions charged with supporting Pennsylvania’s nursing homes, assisted living communities and personal care homes to provide guidance and supplies in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“From the moment we learned of this initiative, we have advocated for a crucial component that has been otherwise absent in our response to COVID-19: collaboration. We are calling on each of these systems and institutions to bring long-term care providers to the table to share lessons learned, best practices, and recommendations from the frontlines of the fight against this virus.

‘Testing accessibility remains an issue in Pennsylvania, as does personal protective equipment, or PPE. And staffing solutions must be addressed as community spread begins to rise again.

“This partnership will be critical as we take steps to address these issues and prepare for the resurgence of the virus across the state, as well as a potential Phase II this fall.

“Now is the time to come together. We have the opportunity to learn from Phase I of this pandemic and support our healthcare heroes and our seniors moving forward.”

The RRHC program has been positioned as a collaborative program that directly supports COVID-19 readiness and response in long-term care facilities, to improve infection prevention, enhance testing capability for both individuals in care and staff at facilities and to identify alternate care arrangements for hospitalized COVID-19 patients until they are considered no longer infectious and can be safely returned to their long-term care facilities.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, more than 700 long-term care facilities statewide have reported at least one case of COVID-19 and nearly 70% of all COVID-related deaths in Pennsylvania have occurred in long-term care.

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