May 07, 2020
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Pennsylvania Health Care Association Urges State Government to Prioritize Long-Term Care in Senate Testimony

President and CEO Zach Shamberg advocates for needs of long-term care providers: “What are we waiting for?”

HARRISBURG, PA – Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), was invited today to testify before a joint committee hearing of the Pennsylvania Senate Aging and Youth and Health and Human Services Committees. Today’s public hearing on long-term care and COVID-19 featured Shamberg delivering testimony alongside other long-term care and public health leaders.

“We know, and have known for months, that long-term care communities are the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, yet Pennsylvania has been tragically slow to mobilize to support the frontline workers and residents most at risk,” said Shamberg. “We hope this public hearing serves as a catalyst for our state lawmakers to take very seriously our plea for answers and action by state officials to support long-term care.”

Shamberg’s testimony reiterated many of the points in PHCA’s Long-Term Care Plan for Pennsylvania, which advocates for emergency funding, priority testing, priority personal protective equipment, the appointment of a long-term care ambassador, medical liability protections and a centralized reporting database.

Nearly 500 long-term care facilities statewide have reported at least one case of COVID-19 and 70% of all COVID-related deaths in Pennsylvania have occurred in long-term care. Yet, long-term care facilities have not been prioritized for testing or personal protective equipment, nor have they been granted any medical liability protections to ensure they can continue to provide high-quality care.

Today’s hearing also featured testimony from Dr. Rachel Levine, secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Health; Kevin Hancock, deputy secretary, Office of Long-Term Living; Adam Marles from LeadingAge PA; Mary Kay McMahon from Fellowship Community; Claire Rodriguez from Homestead Village Enhanced Senior Living; Sen. John Yudichak, 14th Senatorial District, on behalf of the Pennsylvania Nursing Home SOS program; and Lisa McCracken from Ziegler.

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