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DMVA Responds to Investigative Report about Southeastern Veterans’ Center’s Early Handling of COVID-19

12/31/2020

Annville, PA - Today the Wolf Administration released the independent investigative Report on the Southeastern Veterans’ Center’s (SEVC) early handling of COVID-19. The review was conducted by an outside law firm to independently assess the SEVC’s and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ pandemic response efforts during the first half of 2020. The report is redacted in certain instances to protect confidential information, including the identities of certain employees. Individuals whose identities could not be concealed were given the opportunity to respond to the report prior to today’s release and to have their responses published with the report.

Below is the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ (DMVA) statement regarding the findings:

“The DMVA has carefully reviewed the outside counsel’s investigative report regarding the Southeastern Veterans’ Center’s (SEVC) operations earlier this year during the COVID-19 pandemic. The DMVA has implemented most of the recommendations in this report that could be implemented immediately and is now in the process of reviewing and implementing additional recommendations, to include a review of its organizational structure; crisis management; communications; and infection control procedures.

To date, all the six state-owned veterans homes have implemented heightened safety measures, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PA Department of Health (DOH) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance.  We have received increased supplies of Protective Personal Equipment (PPE); our staff has received extensive education/guidance on infection control/prevention; and we developed ways to classify residents to control the spread of the virus.  Also, through frequent screening and testing of all staff/residents, we are able to better mitigate any additional outbreaks of the virus. 

Just as the state has learned more about how to manage and alleviate this virus, so, too, have our veterans homes.  As cases have spiked across the state, our veterans homes have also seen a surge in cases; however, we are currently maintaining a plateau in new COVID-19 cases, and have begun implementing a vaccination program throughout our homes.

DMVA’s priority remains the health and safety of our state veterans homes’ residents and the staff, who serve them.  Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to our workforce for their dedicated and selfless service throughout this pandemic. The DMVA will continue to combat and prevail against COVID-19 and vows to keep our veterans, staff and their families safe and healthy.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Joseph Butera - jobutera@pa.gov

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