Editor’s Note: The following is a statement issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today announced that the department has placed a temporary manager at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver, Beaver County.
“Our temporary manager will assist with the safe operations of the facility and provide information directly to the department regarding the health of residents and the needs of patients and staff,” Dr. Levine said. “COVID-19 is a particularly challenging situation for congregate care settings, and we are committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable. Public health and safety are and always will be the department’s number one priority.”
The temporary manager, Allaire Health Services, of New Jersey, will remain in place until Brighton is able to achieve substantial compliance with the recommendations or the rate of infection at Brighton is substantially reduced. The department will pay the fees and costs for the temporary management from the state’s civil monetary penalty fund; however, Brighton still remains responsible for all expenses in maintaining the operation of the facility including: payroll; food costs; medications and supplies; payment for contracted services; facility lease, operation and maintenance costs; liability insurance and other operational costs.
The Pennsylvania National Guard is providing support to the care of patients at the facility from May 11 to May 18. By May 18, staff contracted by the owners of Brighton will be on site to help care for patients.
“We will continue to be actively involved in this facility, including performing inspections,” Dr. Levine said.
Since the start of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes, the department has worked to assist facilities in need through a number of different avenues, including:
Operational assistance and guidance from the quality assurance team, healthcare acquired infection (HAI) team, ECRI, the Patient Safety Authority and the Pennsylvania National Guard; Sharing information through bulletin boards, nursing home associations, and our normal channels of communication such as Health Alert Network messages; Prioritizing nursing homes and long-term care facilities to receive PPE, and for testing among symptomatic individuals.
On March 18th, guidance was provided to nursing homes to assist facilities in the decision-making processes on cohorting, visitation and testing of employees and staff.
The department also has been working with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) who has outlined guidance on inspections of health care facilities, including nursing homes.
Annual inspections are not occurring, but complaint, infection control and other surveys are taking place. While these surveys are being done virtually, in-person surveys are also being conducted as needed and a number of in-person surveys have already occurred.
Close to 1,700 distributions of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been sent to nursing homes and additional long-term care facilities. This includes distributions of materials to all nursing homes. Among items sent to all health care facilities, the department has shipped close to 5 million N95 masks, more than 282,000 gowns, more than 1.6 million procedure masks, close to 1.47 million gloves, more than 134,000 face shields and more than 170,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.
The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
– Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
– Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
– Clean surfaces frequently.
– Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
– If you must go out for a life-sustaining reason, please wear a mask.