PA Orders Inventory of Critical Medical Resources From Providers and Suppliers

April 14, 2020Alerts

To ensure the efficient allocation and effective use of critical medical resources, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued an Order on April 8, 2020 that requires health care providers, health care facilities, and manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE), pharmaceuticals and other medical resources to submit current inventories of such resources to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).

The purpose of the inventory is to facilitate the Commonwealth’s purchase of such resources for distribution to hospitals throughout the state, in anticipation of a surge of patients in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 13, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to the Order 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 this Order, all health care providers and facilities should pay close attention to its requirements. A summary of key questions and answers about the Order follows:

To whom does the Order apply?

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, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, ambulatory surgical facilities, hospices, end stage renal facilities, other DOH licensees, and others that may have these critical assets on hand. This appears to include dental practices.
  • manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of the equipment, drugs and supplies listed below must report their inventory physically located in PA using the Online Portal (even if the manufacturer, distributor or supplier is not based in PA).

Although veterinary practices are not required to comply with the Order, they are encouraged in the FAQs to do so to the extent they have any medical resources that can be donated in anticipation of the expected medical surge.

The FAQs also specify that Hospitals and Ambulatory Surgical Facilities already reporting inventory must submit such data again, as these are two different reporting systems that collect similar, but separate, information.

What supplies must be reported?

The supplies that must be reported are detailed on the Online Portal. They include:

  • 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
  • Certain pharmaceuticals that may aid in the support and treatment of individuals with COVID-19 (e.g., paralytic drugs for intubated patients, pain medication (such as opiates), and airway support drugs). Please see the Online Portal for a complete list of pharmaceuticals.

How should providers, facilities and suppliers report?

Providers, facilities and suppliers 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, facility or supplier continue as normal with respect to its reported inventory?

Yes, unless the Commonwealth orders otherwise. The business 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.

The DOH has also launched a Hospital Preparedness Dashboard designed to monitor the present capacity of the Commonwealth’s entire health care system. The Dashboard provides county-level information, including the number of available beds and ventilators in use at facilities across the state. The Dashboard can be accessed here: Hospital Preparedness Dashboard.

If you have any questions regarding the reporting requirements of the Order or its applicability to your health care business, please do not hesitate to contact us.