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DHS COVID-19 PROVIDER RESOURCES // OLTL

Guidance Suspending and Restricting License Requirements for Personal Care Homes and Assisted Living Residences 

Issued: March 29, 2020

The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) has suspended, with conditions, specific license regulations for Personal Care Homes (PCHs) and for Assisted Living Residences (ALRs). Also, OLTL has imposed restrictions on visitations and temporarily suspends annual inspections. 

On March 6, 2020, Governor Wolf issued a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency (“the Disaster Proclamation”). In the Disaster Proclamation, the Governor suspended both regulations and regulatory statutes, if strict compliance with those provisions would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. 

Pursuant to the Disaster Proclamation, and pursuant to OLTL’s authority under the regulations, OLTL does the following:

Facility Program Requirements 

OLTL suspends the regulations listed in the attachment. The attachment states if there are conditions or substitute requirements. 

The suspension shall end when Governor Wolf ends the Disaster Proclamation, unless OLTL has stated a different time in the attachment or unless OLTL later sets another time. 

This suspension only addresses licensing requirements. The suspension does not bind any other agency and does not change any other law. 

Visitation 

PCHs and ALRs shall restrict all visitations except for medically necessary visits and except for compassionate care situations, such as end-of-life situations. 

A PCH resident and an ALR resident may usually receive visitors. However, Governor Wolf issued statewide Mitigation Efforts beginning March 17, 2020. The Mitigation Efforts require PCHs and ALRs to restrict visitations. Additionally, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that long term care facilities restrict visitations except for compassionate care situations, such as end of life situations. These restrictions shall end when Governor Wolf ends the Disaster Proclamation, unless OLTL later sets another time.

Annual Inspections

OLTL suspends annual inspections for the length of the Governor’s Disaster Proclamation or until OLTL sets another time. OLTL shall continue onsite complaint and incident investigations. 

OLTL will complete annual inspections as soon as possible. If the license expires before an annual inspection, then the licensee may continue to operate under the existing license. The continuation of operation is subject to any licensing enforcement action OLTL may take in response to a complaint or based on violations at the time the annual inspection. If, after an annual inspection, OLTL finds that the licensee is in strict compliance with all licensing requirements, OLTL will issue a retroactive license.

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