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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 12, 2020 09:56 AM
From: Representative Todd Stephens and Rep. Joshua D. Kail
To: All House members
Subject: COVID-19 Testing in Long Term Care Facilities
We are introducing legislation requiring the Pennsylvania Department of Health to ensure all employees and residents in PA’s long-term care facilities are tested for COVID-19.

Long term care facilities serve approximately 123,000 residents with 143,000 employees. Sadly, the coronavirus has severely impacted our senior population in Pennsylvania and that impact is clear from the data surrounding positive cases and deaths associated with long-term care facilities.  As of May 10, 2020, the PA Department of Health reported that approximately 68% of all COVID-19-related deaths occurred in the state’s long-term care facilities.

Recent testing in another congregate care setting in Montgomery County showed 96% of those testing positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic.  Allowing untested, asymptomatic healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents to continue having contact with one another allows the disease to be passed unknowingly between them.  As a national nursing home advocacy group explained, “To not [test] is nothing short of passive euthanasia…We’re going to lose a generation of our parents and grandparents if we don’t do testing.”

Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin have committed to testing all long-term care residents and staff and Pennsylvania should too.  It is imperative that we understand the magnitude of this virus in the Commonwealth’s long-term care facilities so appropriate actions can be taken and resources may be deployed to protect our most vulnerable population and the caregivers on the front lines of this disease.

Please join us in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2543