Regional Congregate Care Assistance Teams (RCAT)
During this unprecedented time, long-term care facilities (LTCF) have experienced all too often the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the Regional Response Health Collaborative Program (RRCHP) was based on the Educational Support and Clinical Coaching Program (ESCCP), a learning network that provided technical assistance and educational support to long-term care facilities earlier in the pandemic. In 2021, the initiative was continued as the Regional Congregate Care Assistance Teams (RCAT) with additional state and federal funding. The RCAT program continues today to provide prevention, preparation-for and response support for long-term care (LTC) providers in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) and Personal Care Homes (PCHs) as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The RCAT program is a partnership between the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Health (DOH), Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and ten Health Systems. The health systems established partnerships covering six regions across Pennsylvania to support preventative and emergent assistance between healthcare systems and LTC facilities. The health systems involved and counties they cover are defined below.
- Thomas Jefferson University in partnership with Main Line Health
- University of Pennsylvania in partnership with Temple University Hospital, Inc.
- Geisinger Clinic in partnership with UPMC Susquehanna
- The Pennsylvania State University
- LECOM Health
- UPMC Community Provider Services in partnership with Allegheny Health Network
- Testing — Universal Testing Needs Assessment Form
Where needed, RCATs will provide guidance and training to facilities to improve data management as it relates to test results and isolation and quarantine periods.
- Rapid Response Teams — RCATs will be deployed to visit and assess facilities identified by DOH or DHS. Support may be provided by the RCAT as a combination of virtual and onsite assistance. At present, requests will only be considered in urgent situations.
- Facility Staffing Support — Staffing Support Request Form
RCATs will work with facilities where an outbreak has occurred to assess, consult and identify appropriate staffing and link any identified staffing needs to appropriate and available state resources, in addition to incorporating staffing strategies and best practices. Please note the RCATs will not provide any direct clinical care to facility residents or staff.
- Onsite Consultations for Facilities — RCATs will provide onsite consultations to facilities identified as in need of additional consultation to develop or maintain the capability and capacity to respond to an outbreak.
- Alternate Care Settings — RCATs will provide assistance to facilities in identifying other care settings and opportunities for mutual aid where necessary and practicable.
- Call Center — 24/7 call center for LTCFs needing assistance will continue. Facilities are encouraged to contact their assigned RCAT call center in the county where their facility is located for direct support and assistance.
If you have questions about the RCAT program, please continue to email RA-PWRRHCP@pa.gov for program information.