Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Dan Meuser (PA-9)
December 1, 2020
POTTSVILLE, Pa. – Yesterday, Congressman Dan Meuser sent a letter to Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, asking whether the Commonwealth is utilizing all available federal resources to expand testing capacity and help our healthcare system mitigate the spread of COVID-19:
“The current increase in COVID-19 cases across Pennsylvania is challenging our healthcare system. In particular, hospitals in my district have expressed significant need for increased testing capacity. I am writing to inquire whether the Commonwealth is utilizing all available federal resources to expand testing capacity and help our healthcare system mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is providing both tests and funding to implement state testing plans directly to states and local jurisdictions. I would like to know how the Commonwealth is utilizing these resources to expand testing in Pennsylvania. Specifically, I am aware that HHS is distributing shipments of approximately 250,000 Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests per week to the Commonwealth. I also understand that Pennsylvania and Philadelphia have access to federal funds to implement their testing plans but have utilized little of this funding to date.
“I am concerned that neither Pennsylvania nor Philadelphia is maximizing its use of federal funding made available in April through the Paycheck Protection Program & Health Care Enhancement Act. It is my understanding that, as of November 20, 2020, the Commonwealth has utilized approximately $2.4 million of its total $301,036,686 allocation, or 0.08%. Similarly, Philadelphia has spent $1,500 of its allotted $92,417,870. It is critical these funds be used now to augment our testing capabilities during this surge in cases and as many healthcare workers are tested two times per week to limit spread.
“Congress approved this funding to enable states and local jurisdictions to improve testing through state plans and I am aware that the Pennsylvania Department of Health has developed a plan to utilize these funds in their entirety. There are several FDA-approved options for COVID-19 testing and a critical need among healthcare providers for these supplies in Pennsylvania. If there are challenges in procuring or distributing testing supplies, please let my office know how we can help accelerate the process to provide these resources without delay.
“I appreciate your timely response to my inquiry and your swift action to utilize these federal resources to expand testing capabilities in Pennsylvania.”
To read the full letter, click HERE.