Expired funding has Pa. scaling back COVID-19 outbreak support at long-term care facilities

By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A program in Pennsylvania that provides long-term care facilities with operational support during the pandemic is dramatically scaled back due to the expiration of federal funding. The Wolf administration is hoping congress and the incoming Biden administration will offer assistance.

About six months ago, the Regional Response Health Collaborative Program, or RRHC-P, was made possible by federal CARES Act funding. The program was established to aid approximately 2,000 long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania with vital rapid response services in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Infection control, cleaning and additional staffing were among the resources provided.

With the ending of federal funding last month, the state is only able to come up with about 20% of the funding and about 20% of the staffing assistance.

“Typically now, we will put staff in at a more limited package of staff for the three- to five-day window,” said Keara Klinepeter, a special advisor to the state Department of Health.

As opposed to the two weeks or so afforded by the former RRHC-P program.

“We had at least one or two incidences this week that I’m aware of where the three- to five-day mission was completed. That wasn’t sufficient for the facility and so the guard took a mission assignment to go to that facility to stabilize it,” she explained.

The new reduced support services program is called the Regional Congregant Care Assistance Team or R-CCAT program.