COVID-19 Updates and Resources


As the world continues to respond to the developing Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak, officials in Pennsylvania are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in monitoring the outbreak as well as taking steps to protect our communities and public health.

PCNP Resources (Updated on March 30, 2020):

March 30, 2020

March 27, 2020

March 26, 2020

March 25, 2020

March 24, 2020

March 23, 2020

March 20, 2020

State and Global Resources


March 30, 2020

PA Department of Health Update | Symptoms | Add Diarrhea as a Symptom

Click here to see a link to the symptoms of COVID-19, which now includes diarrhea as a symptom.


PA Department of Health Update | Update of Number of Cases by County  

Click here to view the number of cases of COVID-19 in each county of the Commonwealth.


March 27, 2020

Department of State Update | March 27, 2020
Please see below for information on license renewal deadline extensions for Nurses, Graduate Medical Trainees, Nursing Home Administrators, Barbers, and all license types regulated by the Real Estate Commission.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | March 27, 2020
Pennsylvania Extends License Renewal Deadlines for Nurses and Others During Coronavirus Emergency

Harrisburg, PA – In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department of State is giving nurses, graduate medical trainees, nursing home administrators and other professionals more time to renew their occupational licenses.

April, May and June license renewal deadlines for these professionals -- as well as for barbers, navigation pilots and real estate professionals -- have been extended to July, August and September.

“The Pennsylvania Department of State is giving many professionals, including nurses, more time to renew their occupational licenses as our commonwealth fights the COVID-19 pandemic,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “We have already waived some regulations for nurses, removed barriers for pharmacies to provide services, enabled retired health care professionals to practice, and announced that in-state and out-of-state health-care practitioners can treat patients via telemedicine during the coronavirus emergency.” 

The following professional and occupational license renewal deadlines will be extended:

  • Under the State Board of Medicine, the Graduate Medical Trainee license renewal deadline has been extended from June 30, 2020, to Sept. 28, 2020.
  • Under the State Board of Nursing, Registered Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner and Prescriptive Authority license renewal deadlines will be extended from April 30, 2020, to July 29, 2020. The Practical Nurse license renewal will be extended from June 30, 2020, to Sept. 28, 2020.
  • Under the State Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators, the nursing home administrator license renewal deadline will be extended from June 30, 2020, to Sept. 28, 2020.
  • Under the State Board of Barber Examiners, Barber license renewal will be extended from April 30, 2020, to July 29, 2020.
  • Under the State Navigation Commission, Navigation Pilot license renewal will be extended from May 1, 2020, to July 30, 2020.
  • Under the State Real Estate Commission, renewal deadlines for all license types will be extended from May 31, 2020, to Aug. 29, 2020.

The Department of State is working with the governor’s office, the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services to identify regulations and requirements that can be suspended to give medical providers and facilities the flexibility they need to respond to COVID-19. The Department of State website will be updated regularly as additional requirement suspension information becomes available. 

Visit the commonwealth's Responding to COVID-19 guide for the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.


CMS UPDATE | COVID-19: Enrollment Relief, Open Payments, Beneficiary Notices | March 26, 2020

2019-Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Medicare Provider Enrollment Relief Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

CMS released Frequently Asked Questions on Medicare Provider Enrollment Relief related to COVID-19 including the toll-free hotlines available to Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs). CMS has established toll-free hotlines at each MAC to allow physicians and non-physician practitioners to initiate temporary Medicare billing privileges. These hotlines provide expedited enrollment and answer questions related to COVID-19 enrollment requirements. FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Enforcing Open Payments Deadlines

CMS released an updated comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Open Payments program. Tuesday, March 31, 2020 is the Open Payments Program Year 2019 data submission deadline for applicable manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to submit and attest to data for the June 2020 publication of Program Year 2019 data. The deadline cannot be extended past March 31, 2020, therefore, CMS will exercise enforcement discretion for submissions completed after the statutory deadline due to circumstances beyond the reporting entity’s control related to the pandemic. FAQ

Beneficiary Notice Delivery Guidance in light of COVID-19

If you are treating a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, CMS encourages the provider community to be diligent and safe while issuing the following beneficiary notices to beneficiaries receiving institutional care:

  • Important Message from Medicare (IM)_CMS-10065
  • Detailed Notices of Discharge (DND)_CMS-10066
  • Notice of Medicare Non-Coverage (NOMNC)_CMS-10123
  • Detailed Explanation of Non-Coverage (DENC)_CMS-10124
  • Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice (MOON)_CMS-10611
  • Advance Beneficiary Notice of Non-Coverage (ABN)_CMS-R-131
  • Skilled Nursing Advance Beneficiary Notice of Non-Coverage   (SNFABN)_CMS-10055
  • Hospital Issued Notices of Non-Coverage (HINN)

In light of concerns related to COVID-19, current notice delivery instructions provide flexibilities for delivering notices to beneficiaries in isolation. These procedures include: 

  • Hard copies of notices may be dropped off with a beneficiary by any hospital worker able to enter a room safely. A contact phone number should be provided for a beneficiary to ask questions about the notice, if the individual delivering the notice is unable to do so. If a hard copy of the notice cannot be dropped off, notices to beneficiaries may also delivered via email, if a beneficiary has access in the isolation room. The notices should be annotated with the circumstances of the delivery, including the person delivering the notice, and when and to where the email was sent.
  • Notice delivery may be made via telephone or secure email to beneficiary representatives who are offsite. The notices should be annotated with the circumstances of the delivery, including the person delivering the notice via telephone, and the time of the call, or when and to where the email was sent.

We encourage the provider community to review all of the specifics of notice delivery, as set forth in Chapter 30 of the Medicare Claims Processing Manual. https://www.cms.gov/media/137111.

CMS has taken several recent actions in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), as part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts.  A summary of recent CMS activities can be found here: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-news-alert-march-26-2020.

To keep up with the important work the Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19, visit www.coronavirus.gov. For information specific to CMS, please visit the CMS News Room and Current Emergencies Website.

March 26, 2020

CRNP Program Directors & Nurse Educators | Curriculum – Clinical Hours | Announcement from March 11, 2020

To All CRNP Program Directors:

In response to inquiries the State Board of Nursing (Board) has been receiving from certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP) education programs regarding the Coronavirus, please refer to the PA Department of Health website and specifically: Coronavirus Information for Education.

If a CRNP program determines it is necessary to alter its method of curriculum delivery or clinical hours during the period of the emergency declaration, please inform the Board of the proposed action to be taken along with a plan that provides for students to attain the learning objectives. You may send this information in a formal letter by mail or as a PDF by email. Unless you are sent a discrepancy, the Board will acknowledge receipt of your planned change and maintain it with the Program's record.

Please note: The Board’s statement only addresses its requirements and not those of the national certifying bodies.


Joint Coalition Letter | Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund

PCNP continues to work on behalf of its members. Click here to see a joint coalition letter supporting the creation of a statewide Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund.


March 25, 2020

Pennsylvania Health Alert Network Update March 24, 2020
Click here for the Pennsylvania Department of Health 2020–PAHAN-490–3-24 UPD Update: Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Known or Patients Under Investigation for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019nCoV) in a Healthcare Setting.

Summary:

  • Due to receipt of many questions regarding the CDC guidance for infection prevention and control in healthcare facilities updated on March 10, 2020, and issued by DOH on March 11, 2020, DOH has clarified specific points within the guidance by communicating directly with CDC.
  • CDC and DOH recommend a combination of standard precautions and transmission-based precautions for COVID-19 patients including:
    • Eye protection, gloves and gown;
    • A filtering facepiece respirator (e.g., N95) is preferred; facemasks are an acceptable alternative if the supply chain of respirators cannot meet demand; and
    • Patient placement in a single-person room with the door closed; reserve airborne isolation rooms for aerosol generating procedures.
  • The supply chain for PPE continues to be severely strained across the nation. Facilities must evaluate their current stockpiles and supply chain to guide local decisions for PPE use and allocation.
  • Implement PPE optimization strategies to extend supplies. See CDC guidance and checklist.
  • Please report any confirmed cases of the COVID-19 by calling DOH at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) or your local health department.

Pennsylvania to Allow Retired Health Care Professionals to Bolster COVID-19 Response
Pennsylvania is acting to enable retired health care professionals to assist with the COVID-19 response by waiving certain licensing regulations.

Previously, the Department of State waived some regulations for nurses, removed barriers for pharmacies to provide services, and announced that in-state and out-of-state health care practitioners can treat patients via telemedicine during the coronavirus emergency.

“Many retired and inactive health care professionals want to help bolster our health care system during this crisis,” Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said. “This action will allow people with inactive or retired licenses in good standing to reactivate their licenses and immediately lend their assistance in this challenging time. We thank these retirees for their willingness to serve.”

The Department of State’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) requested, and Governor Wolf granted, suspensions of several regulations related to the state boards of Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy for the duration of the coronavirus emergency. A previous suspension allows for retired nurse-midwife license reactivations.

These new regulation suspensions increase the number of available and qualified health care practitioners in Pennsylvania by allowing retired practitioners to re-enter their field more easily without paying reactivation fees:

  • Registered Nurses (RNs), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs), and Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNPs) whose licenses are expired/inactive for less than five years can apply for reactivation of their licenses. Their CE requirements and license reactivation fees will be suspended.

March 24, 2020

Board of Nursing Update and Further Clarification on Suspended Regulations:

Please see below for directions related to the licensure requirement waivers put into place on temporary permits, renewals, and CRNP applications. Please share these throughout your networks to relevant members. Additional waivers will be released through the day and week to help continue to provide licensed healthcare providers with as much flexibility as possible as we continue to confront the challenges posed by COVID-19:

Directions to State Board of Nursing Applicants and Licenses Regarding Temporary Permits, Renewals and CRNP Applications

On March 18 and March 21, 2020, Governor Wolf suspended various provisions of the Professional Nursing Law and the Practical Nurse Law as well as the Board’s regulations enabling applicants and licensees to practice during the COVID-19 emergency declaration.

March 18, 2020 Press Release
March 21, 2020 Press Release

Follow the directions below for each of the suspended provisions:

  • Temporary nursing practice permits and graduate permits will be extended beyond one year and extension fees will be waived.     
    The Board will process the extension automatically without the need for permit holders to take any action. 
  • Registered Nurses will not have to apply for extensions of their RN graduate or temporary permits. All temporary and graduate permits that would normally expire during the next 90 days will be automatically extended for an additional 90 days.  
    The Board will process the extension automatically without the need for permit holders to take any action. 
  • Practical Nurses will not have to apply for extensions of their PN graduate or temporary permits. All temporary and graduate permits that would normally expire during the next 90 days will be automatically extended for an additional 90 days.
    The Board will process the extension automatically without the need for permit holders to take any action. 
  • Registered Nurses (RNs), Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNPs) and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) can continue to care for patients if their licenses are currently “in renewal” and set to expire on April 30, 2020. These licenses will be extended for an additional three months until July 31, 2020.   
    The Board will process the extension automatically without the need for licensees to take any action. 
  • Nursing school graduates who: 
    • have been issued “Authorizations to Test” by the Board, and
    • have been unable to sit for the licensure examinations due to cancellation of the examinations because of COVID-19, and
    • do not already have a graduate permit

can immediately apply for a graduate permit so they can assist in the COVID-19 response. The graduate permit authorizes graduate nurses to practice under supervision of a registered nurse. Supervision requires that a registered nurse is physically present in the area or unit where the graduate nurse is practicing. The permits expire if the graduate permit holder fails the examination.

March 18, 2020 Press Release
Pearson VUE Website
COVID-19 Impact to NCLEX Candidates FAQs

  • More than 14,000 CRNPs can practice to their full capabilities and assist in the COVID-19 response without the usual requirement that they practice within a specific clinical specialty. They also are allowed to prescribe drugs outside the established formulary. 
    CRNPs will not have to take any action with the Board in order to practice outside of the specific Board-recognized clinical specialty during the period of the emergency declaration. Additionally, the Board will grant prescriptive authorities for drugs outside of the formulary during the period of the emergency declaration. 

PCNP NOTE: Please submit on the PCNP website if you need a change to your prescriptive writing authority

PCNP will send a list of names of PCNP members to the BON of those waiting for the approval of a change to their prescriptive authority, including prescribing drugs outside of the formulary. This will help to expedite your approval process with the BON for your prescription-writing authority.

  • On a CRNP’s initial application for prescription-writing authority, the State Board of Nursing will require only one collaborative physician and one substitute physician, rather than the entire list of substitutes.
    CRNPs will not need to take any action, the Board will grant prescriptive authority with one collaborating physician and one substitute.
  • Since the Board-recognized national CRNP certification examinations are becoming unavailable during the coronavirus emergency, CRNPs will not have to hold national certification in a particular specialty.
    The Board is aware that certification exams for CRNPs may not be available during the emergency; therefore, national certification will not be required during the emergency. The Board will apply the same procedure for recertifications.
  • Out-of-state applicants for certification as a CRNP by endorsement in Pennsylvania, who are active licensees of other states and have national certification, will not have to meet the educational equivalence requirement.
    The CRNP applicant will not need to take any action. The CRNP will be granted if licensure and national certification are current.    

PCNP NOTE: If you are waiting for other types of approvals from the Board of Nursing, please submit here to give us your name and the type of approval you are waiting for from the Board of Nursing. We will provide that list to the Board of Nursing.


March 23, 2020

Governor Updates
On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Governor provided additional guidance for the closure of non-essential businesses.Click here to review the news release. The one change to this news release is that enforcement for the closure of businesses began today, Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:00 a.m., and not this past Saturday, March 21. The PA State Police will help to enforce this rule for all non-life-sustaining businesses. Criminal penalties are possible, including fines and jail time.

Department of Health/Department of State
Click here to view the joint letter from DOH and DOS.

Department of Health Updates
As of Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:00 a.m., there were 479 confirmed cases on COVID-19 in PA.Click here to see the number of cases, deaths and other important information.Click here to see how each county is impacted.

Click here to obtain the March 19, 2020 Updated Interim Guidance on Discontinuing Home Isolation/Quarantine and Returning to Work Criteria for Healthcare Providers.

Click here to view all health alerts, advisories and updates.

Click here to register for the Pennsylvania Health Alert Network.

Board of Nursing Updates
There are several updates for the suspension of various licensing regulations. Click here to review the Board of Nursing website.

Click here to view all suspended licensing regulations from the Department of State.

Click here to view suspension of some nurse licensing requirements.

Click here to view changes to continuing education requirements.

Click here to view suspension of some nurse-midwives requirements.

Business Closure Updates
Click here to access the most updated Industry Operation Guidance, dated March 21, 2020, at 5:45 p.m.

Click here to access theBusiness Waiver Application Form to apply for an exemption to the closure of a business. You may also contact the Department of Community and Economic Development at ra-dcedcs@pa.gov or by calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH and selecting option 1.

Click here to obtain the Life-Sustaining Business Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for a link to the PA Department of Community and Economic Development for the most updated changes to any guidance for businesses. For COVID-19 Business Resources, click here.

 


March 20, 2020

State Board of Nursing and Department of Health Updates 

Board of Nursing Updates on Collaborative Agreements, etc:
PCNP is in direct communication with the Board of Nursing (BON). They are aware of every comment we received from our membership regarding the issues with the Collaborative Agreements and the need to suspend some of the requirements regarding the same to address the COVID-19 outbreak. Based on PCNPs communications with the BON, it is imperative that you continually check the BON website for changes for the possible suspension of rules related to your existing or pending collaborative agreements. It is possible we may see some changes as early as Monday, March 23rd. Any updates we are aware of directly from the BON or otherwise, we will apprise you.  

If you have any additional comments to share regarding the restrictions or other barriers you are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, submit them here. We are taking your comments directly to the BON. Please continue to share your issues/concerns with us so we can address them promptly. Click here for a direct link to the BON website. Please click here to see some regulation suspensions for health care professionals as of March 18, 2020.

Department of Health Updates:
The Department of Health is updating on a daily basis the number of deaths and other key information.  As of today, Friday, March 20, 2020, there are 268 confirmed cases. This is a huge jump from yesterday. Please protect yourself and follow the guidance from your organizations, the Governor and the Secretary of Health.
Click here to view the direct link to the COVID-19 information on the Department of Health website.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the Department’s webpage, you will also see the number of deaths each day and the locations of COVID-19 cases per county on the county map provided.

Gov. Wolf Orders Closure of Non-Sustaining Life Businesses

PCNP is requesting feedback from its members on their experience in the COVID-19 crisis. Yesterday, Governor Wolf made an announcement for the closure of non-life sustaining businesses effective at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, 2020.  All prior declarations are superseded with this new guidance.  Mandatory enforcement begins March 21, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

  1. To view Governor Wolf’s release and announcement, click here.  
  2. To view Governor Wolf’s Order for the closure of non-life sustaining businesses, click here.
  3. To view the CHART to determine if the business and its classification is essential and non-life sustaining, click here.
    Health Care and Social Assistance Sectors are listed below.
  4. To view the Secretary of Health’s Order for closure of non-life sustaining businesses, click here.

State and Global Resources

For all Pennsylvania Department of Health updates: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

For all national CDC updates: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

For global updates: https://ncov2019.live/data

CMS posts FAQs on Medicaid.gov: 

On March 12, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to the Medicaid.gov website to aid state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in their response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  CMS is taking this action in its continuing efforts to protect the health and safety of providers and patients, including those who are covered by Medicaid and CHIP.

A press release with further information can be found here:  https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-publishes-first-set-covid-19-frequently-asked-questions-faqs-state-medicaid-and-childrens-health

The COVID-19 FAQs for State Medicaid and CHIP agencies can be found here:  https://www.medicaid.gov/state-resource-center/disaster-response-toolkit/covid19/index.html

These FAQs, and earlier CMS actions in response to the COVID-19 virus, are part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work CMS is doing in response to COVID-19, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.

Important Information: 

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats. The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath 

The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. 

How can the coronavirus spread?

Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it;
  • Occasionally, fecal contamination.

How can I help protect myself?

Prevention:

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
  • Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.
In addition, it is recommended that Pennsylvanians take time to prepare now. View the PA Emergency Preparedness Guide.

 

Resources

Contact

© Pennsylvania Coalition of
Nurse Practitioners
2400 Ardmore Blvd
Suite 302 : Pittsburgh, PA 15221
P: (412) 243-6149
F: (412) 243-5160