PHCA responds to latest DOH mandate: nursing home vaccine goal
Harrisburg, Pa. (August 12, 2021) –– The Pennsylvania Health Care Association – a statewide advocacy organization representing Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents and their providers of care – has issued the following statement in response to the Department of Health’s announcement of a mandatory vaccine goal. The statement can be attributed to Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association.
“Today’s announcement by the Pennsylvania Department of Health is yet another mandate – on one of the most regulated industries in the United States – with no accompanying solutions to achieve it.
“Long-term care providers have been working diligently since the COVID-19 vaccine became available to educate workers and residents on the benefits of the vaccine.
“Instead of proposing solutions to increase vaccine acceptance rates in long-term care, the Department of Health, today, threatened providers and issued a punitive mandate on nursing homes if 80% vaccination rates are not achieved.
“It’s important to note that nursing home workers are already tested on a monthly, weekly, or biweekly basis, depending on county positivity rates. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) issued that directive on September 2, 2020.
“This is, once again, a decision that was made by the Department of Health without input from industry experts, frontline caregivers and providers from the Pennsylvania Health Care Association – which represents nearly one-third of all Pennsylvania nursing homes.
“Working with providers – not punishing them – will produce better outcomes.
“Providers know their workers best. PHCA remains committed to supporting and empowering nursing homes throughout the commonwealth to make the decision that is in the best interest of their caregivers and the residents they serve.”