The Pennsylvania Department of Health today issued an order requiring
that all hospitals take additional steps to further protect their staff
and patients from COVID-19. The order requires all hospitals to develop,
implement and adhere to safety measures by Monday, June 15.
The order addresses several concerns raised by nurses and other
front-line workers. It requires hospitals to develop, implement and
adhere to the following policies and procedures that provide for the
safety of the hospital staff and patients by:
• Notifying hospital staff members who have been in close-contact with a
confirmed or probable COVID-19 case within 24 hours of the known
contact and provide instruction for quarantine and work exclusion.
• Testing symptomatic and asymptomatic hospital staff members who have
received notice of a close contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19
case upon request.
• Procuring and distributing nationally approved respirators to the
hospital staff member when the staff member determines the mask is
soiled, damaged or otherwise ineffective.
• Requiring universal masking for all individuals entering the hospital
facility except for people for whom wearing a mask would create a
further health risk or individuals under age 2.
These safety policies and procedures must be developed in consultation
with the medical and nursing staffs, including front-line professional
and auxiliary nursing staff members, including bed-side nurses, and must
be implemented by June 15. In addition to medical and nursing staff,
hospital staff members include therapeutic services, social services,
housekeeping services, dietary services, and maintenance.
If a patient, family member or staff member at a facility is concerned
about the safety at a facility, an anonymous complaint can be filed with
the department. All complaints filed are confidential and the
department will protect the anonymity of those who report concerns. Any
hospital staff who report concerns about worker safety should not be
The department investigates every complaint received. If there is a
complaint about a healthcare facility, including a nursing home,
contact1-800-254-5164 or fill out an online form at