All PA skilled nursing facilities complete universal COVID-19 testing

By completing universal testing, facilities are one step closer to being able to offer visitation, communal dining and more

The Department of Health announced all 693 nursing homes in Pennsylvania have completed testing all residents and staff for COVID-19 at least once, in accordance with Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s universal testing order, issued June 8.

“This was an essential step to ensure that we further protect residents and staff within these vulnerable communities,” said Levine. “We provided nursing home owners and operators with the resources they needed to complete this huge task and we are appreciative for their cooperation. Through our partnership with CVS Health and Eurofins we will continue to provide skilled nursing facilities with access to testing services at no cost.”

Universal testing requires each nursing home to test all staff and residents for COVID-19 at least once to better understand the scope of how COVID-19 has impacted these vulnerable communities across the state. The department’s goal with implementing this universal testing in nursing homes is to rapidly detect asymptomatic positive residents and staff, manage their care or appropriately exclude staff from work, and prevent further transmission of COVID-19 in these living settings.

By completing universal testing, facilities are one step closer to achieving all prerequisites for their implementation plan to allow safe visitation, communal dining, activities and more based on the Department of Health’s Reopening Guidance for Nursing Homes.

For frequently asked questions on universal testing in nursing homes, click here.

In addition, the department has completed more than 98 percent of the infection control surveys CMS required to be completed by the end of July. The remaining surveys will be completed in the next few days.

Personal care homes, assisted living residences and immediate care facilities, licensed by the Department of Human Services, are ordered by Levine to complete universal testing for COVID-19 at least once by Aug. 31.

All long-term care facility data is updated weekly each Tuesday. This long-term care data ordered by the Department of Health includes the number of cases, number of employee cases and number of deaths that have occurred at each facility. Facilities that are not reporting, or not reporting properly, have been assisted to ensure the data is being shared properly.

For facilities with fewer than five in any of the collected data points, the information is redacted to protect patient confidentiality at that facility. If a facility does not have any COVID-19 cases or deaths, it will still be shown on the Department of Health spreadsheet.

More information on data reporting requirements for nursing home facilities can be found here.

Individuals with complaints about a nursing home can file that complaint with the Department of Health in several ways. Complaints can be made anonymously by calling 1-800-254-5164, filling out the online complaint form, emailing or sending the complaint in the mail to the department.