PHCA introduces Care Capacity Crisis Plan to address COVID-19 challenges facing Pennsylvania’s health care continuum
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Jan. 10, 2022) –– The Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) presented state elected leaders with a plan today to address Pennsylvania’s growing challenge for residents to access care. Absent a comprehensive state plan –– a plan PHCA has been calling for –– to address the staffing challenges that have given rise to the alarming concern for Pennsylvanians to access care, the association developed the Care Capacity Crisis Plan to serve as a resource for the Wolf Administration and members of the General Assembly to help navigate the state’s health care continuum through this latest arduous phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March 2020, long-term care has been at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as hospital systems are overwhelmed by this new COVID-19 wave, long-term care recognizes it’s once again at the center of the latest developments. With hospitals reaching patient capacity due to increased patient intake, the capacity problem is being compounded by the struggle to discharge patients to long-term care facilities. Long-term care providers are facing immense staffing challenges prohibiting them from accepting new residents. PHCA raised this concern in October when the association sounded an alarm about diminishing access to long-term care facilities.
“We understand the importance of a unified approach to overcome and combat the latest surge of health care needs as the COVID-19 pandemic continues,” said Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. “The entire health care continuum is enduring a monumental challenge, but even so, collectively –– with health care experts, elected leaders and regulatory agencies –– we can develop and bring forth solutions to ensure Pennsylvania can prevail from this trying time. That is exactly the reason we developed and introduced a plan that will, with support, allow long-term care providers to do their part and carry out their mission: serving our commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents.”
After conversations with the Wolf Administration, legislators, hospital systems and long-term care leaders from around the country, PHCA outlines five steps in the Care Capacity Crisis Plan that guides health care providers and state officials to promptly work toward immediate relief in long-term care –– and ultimately the entire health care continuum. PHCA’s plan centers around a collaborative effort that includes reforming the state’s bipartisan COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force to bring key stakeholders together and address current COVID-19 health care issues.
With staffing shortages presenting the largest challenge to health care providers, PHCA offers suggested regulatory changes and other innovative ideas that can temporarily support providers with staff to help enable more hospital discharges to long-term care facilities.
PHCA welcomes conversations and collaborations with state officials and other health care leaders to address the current COVID-19 crisis.
PHCA’s Care Capacity Crisis Plan can be viewed below. A PDF version can be downloaded here.