In a severe act, Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf has ordered all health care providers, facilities, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers to report their inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE), certain pharmaceutical drugs and other medical resources to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) by Monday, April 16, 2020. The purpose of the reporting is to facilitate the Commonwealth’s purchase of such resources for distribution to hospitals throughout the state, in anticipation of a surge of patients due to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic.
A link to the Order can be found here: PA Medical Supplies Order
On April 13, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to the Order (accessible here: FAQs), as well as a link to the Online Portal to be used for reporting inventory in compliance with the Order.
Due to the broad reaching nature of the Order, all health care providers and facilities should pay close attention to its requirements. Below please find a summary of key questions and answers about the Order:
Whom does the Order apply to?
The order applies to all private, public, and quasi-public healthcare providers, as well as suppliers and manufacturers of these essential supplies and equipment.
Health care providers covered by the Order include, but are not limited to, physician practices, health care facilities and other DOH licensees, and others that may have these critical assets on hand. This appears to include dental practices.
*The FAQs clarify that veterinary practices are not required to comply with the Order, but are encouraged to do so to the extent they have any medical resources that can be donated in anticipation of the expected medical surge.
What supplies must be reported?
The supplies that are required to be reported are detailed on the Online Portal. They consist of the following:
- PPE (i.e., gowns, gloves, face masks and shields);
- Certain durable medical equipment (i.e., ventilators, anesthesia machines, unused vent circuits and ECMO machines); and
- The following pharmaceuticals:
- Various Paralytic agents (see Online Portal)
- Injectable benzodiazepines
- Other anesthetics (viz., Etomidate, Ketamine, Propofol)
- Respiratory treatment pharmaceuticals (viz., Albuterol MDI, Albuterol nebulized solution, Norepinephrine)
- Azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine
How should providers report?
Providers should report their inventory utilizing the online portal accessible here: Online Portal.
When is the deadline for reporting?
All covered entities are required to report inventories of the specified supplies, equipment, and pharmaceuticals by 11:59 pm on April 16, 2020.
What if a provider is closed?
If a provider has closed its offices, it must provide a baseline report through the Online Portal. However, it will not have to provide subsequent updates.
Will providers be reimbursed for the cost of their materials?
Yes, the compensation price for any supplies purchased by the Commonwealth pursuant to the Order will be the average price at which the same or similar consumer goods or services could be obtained in the affected areas during the last seven days immediately prior to March 6, 2020.
Can the provider continue as normal with respect to its reported inventory?
Yes, unless the Commonwealth orders otherwise. The provider will be contacted by the Commonwealth if it will be required to sell any part of its inventory.
How will the Order be enforced?
The Governor has not explained how the Order will be enforced, other than to say that the effort is not meant to be punitive.
How often will the inventory need to be updated?
There is no set frequency for updating the business’s inventory at this time. The Commonwealth will direct when inventory updates are required.
What criteria will be used to prioritize distribution?
The purpose of the Order is to reallocate critical supplies and equipment from areas with less need to areas or facilities with the most need. The need will be identified by a number of factors such as the number of COVID-19 patients being treated, the use or burn rate of supplies and medications, and the lack of equipment such as ventilators.
If you have any questions regarding the reporting requirements of the Order or its applicability to your practice, please do not hesitate to contact us.