HARRISBURG, PA (March 24, 2020) - Yesterday afternoon, LeadingAge PA; the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA); SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania; the National Union of Hospital & Health Care Employees, District 1199C, AFSCME, AFL-CIO; and UFCW 1776KS sent a joint letter to Governor Tom Wolf urging his consideration of a number of requests to ensure proper protections for older Pennsylvanians in long-term care facilities and those who provide for their care.

LeadingAge PA, the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), and SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania have requested that Governor Wolf take the following actions:

  • Make all possible efforts to procure an adequate supply of PPE (masks, gowns, gloves, etc.) funded through state or federal dollars;
  • A 3% increase in rates and direct minimum allocation of $290 million to nursing homes from the emergency funds approved (or yet to be approved) both federally and here in Pennsylvania, including but not limited to dollars accessible through the enhanced FMAP and other sources;
  • State provide and distribute emergency state or federal funding for skilled nursing and personal care homes / assisted living facilities to offer paid sick leave to all staff who have exhausted their sick leave benefits to avoid sick staff interacting with frail, vulnerable residents;
  • Immediate planning on how potential facility closures will be addressed, with a central focus on the residents living in these facilities, and what extraordinary financial assistance might be offered to facilities to avoid closures during this public health emergency.

Adam Marles, president and CEO of LeadingAge PA, and Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, released this statement:

As the COVID-19 crisis impacts every corner of the Commonwealth, no group is at greater risk than older adults. As associations and unions representing long-term care providers, hard-working direct care staff and the residents of facilities themselves, we recognize the pivotal role state and federal government will play in keeping our older adults safe, and the need to work together on their behalf.

Last week, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which, among other provisions, provided access to approximately $1.5 billion additional Medicaid dollars for Pennsylvania.

Together, we seek the collaboration of Governor Wolf to ensure all possible support is available for our older Pennsylvanians and the extraordinary people who care for them on the front lines of this crisis. There has never been a more critical time for state government to partner with providers, workers and our residents to ensure health, well-being and safety.

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About LeadingAge PA
LeadingAge PA is a trade association representing more than 360 nonprofit senior housing, health care and community services across the commonwealth. These providers serve more than 75,000 older Pennsylvanians and employ over 50,000 dedicated caregivers on a daily basis. Services our members offer include Life Plan Communities / Continuing Care Retirement Communities, skilled nursing communities, assisted living residences, personal care homes, and affordable senior housing. LeadingAge PA advocates on behalf of our members at the state and local levels to influence positive change and affect a healthy vision for the delivery of quality, affordable, and ethical care for Pennsylvania's seniors. For more information about LeadingAge PA and our envisioned future of senior services, visit LeadingAgePA.org.

About the Pennsylvania Health Care Association
The Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) is a statewide advocacy organization for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable residents and their providers of care. Our members include for-profit and nonprofit skilled nursing facilities, personal care homes and assisted living residences. Together, we represent more than 500 long-term care and senior service providers and more than 50,000 elderly and disabled individuals. For more information, please call (717) 221-1800 or visit phca.org.

About SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state's largest and fastest growing union of nurses and health care workers, uniting nearly 45,000 nurses, professional and technical employees, direct care workers, and service employees in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home and community-based services, and state facilities across the Commonwealth. For more information, visit seiuhcpa.org.

Media Contacts
La Torre Communications for LeadingAge PA
David La Torre
david@latorrecommunications.com

Shayna Varner, Director of Communications
Pennsylvania Health Care Association
svarner@phca.org | 717-221-7935

Karen Gownley, Communications Director
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania
717-805-6070
Karen.gownley@seiuhcpa.org