April 17, 2020
Contact: Shayna Varner, 7172211800
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Shamberg: “Help, not ‘hope’, from state officials will enable us to defeat COVID-19.”

Long-term care providers, workers and residents virtually absent from Gov. Tom Wolf’s ‘Plan for Pennsylvania’

HARRISBURG, PA – Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), today issued the following statement in response to Governor Tom Wolf’s unveiling of his new ‘Plan for Pennsylvania’, which largely overlooked long-term care providers, workers and residents on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic:

“As an advocate for our healthcare heroes, the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) serves as a conduit between long-term care providers, workers, residents and their state officials.

“Over the last several weeks, we have shared challenges, hardships and opportunities from the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. And we expect answers and solutions, especially during a crisis.

“However, the Governor’s ‘Plan for Pennsylvania’ largely overlooks the providers, workers and residents in long-term care –which has become ‘ground zero’ for COVID-19 cases and fatalities. In fact, in the official 12-page plan, nursing homes and long-term care facilities are mentioned exactly two times.

“That’s why we’re calling on Governor Wolf to issue a ‘Plan for Long-Term Care’ and appoint a Long-Term Care Ambassador, someone focused solely on the Commonwealth’s nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living residences. Someone who has the authority to answer questions, make decisions and provide solutions in a timely manner.

“Residents in long-term care facilities are contracting the virus and falling ill at an alarming rate. Frontline staff are either testing positive – or not being tested at all. The number of positive cases and deaths in facilities has multiplied in recent days.

“The issues we’ve advocated for – critical emergency funding for providers, prioritizing supplies of personal protective equipment for workers, addressing staffing shortages, protecting residents and granting civil immunity to the long-term care continuum – are simply too important to go completely unanswered by this administration.

“We have asked for help daily. Now, more than ever, long-term care providers, workers and residents need to know they’re supported.

“Governor Wolf: please appoint a leader who can help us mitigate and contain COVID-19.

“‘Help, not ‘hope’, will enable us to defeat this virus.”

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