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Department of Health Updates Nursing Home Data Reporting Order to Support Facilities, Improve COVID-19 Data Integrity

05/26/2021

Harrisburg, PA - Department of Health Acting Secretary Alison Beam today amended the skilled nursing facilities COVID-19 case and death data reporting order transitioning from daily reporting requirements to weekly. The move is intended to improve data integrity reported by facilities and provide one comprehensive report on a weekly basis to reflect the impact of COVID-19 in these communities.  

“We know that nursing homes have been challenged by extraordinary circumstances this past year as they work to protect the safety and well-being of residents and staff within their communities,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “We continue to offer support and resources to help facilities understand how to report COVID-19 data properly. We are changing reporting from daily to weekly to make it easier for facilities to report the cumulative totals to us accurately once a week.”

Since the reporting requirement was originally implemented on May 14, 2020, the Department of Health has held meetings and webinars to discuss the importance of data reporting and will continue to provide support to assist nursing home facilities in reporting correctly. All data is reported on the COVID-19 long-term care facility (LTCF) data page. This page represents data from nursing homes licensed by the Department of Health and personal care homes, assisted living facilities and other LTCFs licensed by the Department of Human Services to provide COVID-19 data to the public on all LTCFs.

In addition to self-reported data, the department provides county and statewide COVID-19 case and death data for all LTCFs from the state’s disease surveillance system, PA-NEDSS. A county breakdown can be found here.

While the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory in nursing facilities, it is strongly encouraged as the best protection against COVID-19. Following the vaccination clinics offered through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership, the department shared a vaccine strategy to ensure all residents and staff continue to have access to the vaccine at all LTCFs. As of April 26, the average statewide skilled nursing facility vaccination rate for residents was 80 percent, and staff was 52 percent, rising above the national rate of vaccination - 77.8 percent for residents and 37.5 percent for staff. You can find the quarterly reported vaccine data on our LTCF Vaccine Strategy website.

“New residents and staff at skilled nursing facilities are able to receive vaccine and we are seeing encouraging data showing declining rates of cases within these communities,” Beam said. “Out of an abundance of caution, it is essential that everyone remain vigilant regarding the potential spread of COVID-19 in congregate care facilities. We thank all the staff at these facilities for their tireless and continued efforts to keep residents protected from the spread of COVID-19.”

More information can be found on the department’s COVID-19 nursing home page.

You can find the latest guidance on nursing home visitations here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Barry Ciccocioppo - ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov

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