LECOM Announces NWPA Regional Response Health Collaborative
Program made possible through $6.2 million state grant
If preparedness is the best defense, then LECOM Health is ahead of the game after being awarded a $6.2 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
The funds will be funneled into the NWPA Regional Response Health Collaborative, a program providing direct support for COVID-19 readiness and response planning to 81 long-term care residential facilities in our corner of the commonwealth — a region containing Cameron, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, McKean and Warren counties. Facilities will be assessed on a clinical, operational, and administrative basis in regard to their ability to prevent and control potential COVID-19 outbreaks.
The vulnerable populations within these facilities make them potential hotbeds for viral proliferation. By taking proactive measures, LECOM Health seeks to promote the entire region's health and economic stability via:
- COVID-19 readiness: enhanced disinfection protocols and care standards for other priority conditions (i.e., comorbidities that would make long-term care facility residents more vulnerable to serious or life-threatening symptoms).
- COVID-19 surveillance: asymptomatic testing of residents and staff
- COVID-19 best practices: increased testing capacity (made possible through the recent acquisition of a Cepheid GeneXpert Xpress System, which can analyze up to four samples simultaneously in as little as 20 minutes), infection controls consultation and implementation, advanced clinical care methods, and more.
LECOM Health is one of seven academic health systems statewide to receive funding through Pennsylvania's Regional Response Health Collaboration Program, which has awarded $175 million in total grants. Local and regional leaders such as U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly and Glenn Thompson, state Sens. Michele Brooks and Dan Laughlin, Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins, Robert Merski, Kathy Rapp, Curt Sonney and Parke Wentling, Erie County Executive Director Kathy Dahlkemper, and City of Erie Mayor Joe Schember all pledged their support for LECOM's application.
Said Sen. Laughlin: "LECOM Health has played an essential role over the years in ensuring the health and quality of life for the people of Northwest Pennsylvania and our neighboring states. That role will continue and expand with the Regional Response Health Collaborative. The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown the need for collaboration within the medical community. Therefore, it is essential that government at all levels takes steps to support those initiatives that improve the community's response to the needs of today and those that may arise in the future. The $6.2 million provided by the state is an important and welcomed investment in those efforts."
Matt Swanseger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org