Penn State Health announced a three-part strategy to support long-term care facilities and nursing homes throughout southcentral Pennsylvania after receiving $22.9 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
The Hershey-based health system is one of nine Pennsylvania hospital and health systems to be awarded part of $175 million in grants as part of the state’s Regional Response Health Collaboration Program. The program, announced in June, provides clinical, operational and administrative support to protect residents in long-term care facilities from COVID-19.
As the program’s southcentral Pennsylvania system, Penn State Health will work with facilities in Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry and York Counties.
“Penn State’s broad range of expertise positions us well to help support long-term care facilities in the southcentral region and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Nicole Osevala, an internist and geriatrician at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center who is coordinating the system’s work within the program.. “Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are susceptible to COVID-19 outbreaks and our goal is to help these facilities to mitigate and effectively manage any future outbreaks they experience.”
As part of its strategy within the program, Penn State Health will coordinate site visits with nursing homes and long-term care centers to assess their readiness for another outbreak of COVID-19.
The system will also use the money to educate administrators and staff at the facilities about the proper use of personal protective equipment to effectively managing a business during a crisis and other subjects.
Penn State officials said the program will involve the university’s colleges of Business, Engineering and Medicine to increase testing capacity, provide reliable PPE supply and support contact tracing at the homes in the 13 counties.