The Wright Center Launches COVID-19 Command Center in Partnership with State Dept. of Human Services

Assisted-living facilities, home to more than 65,000 people in Pennsylvania alone, have quickly become a new and dangerous theater in the war against the coronavirus. Although these centers care for some of the most susceptible and at-risk citizens in the Commonwealth, they normally lack clinical staff, leaving direct-care workers ill-equipped to deal with cases of COVID-19.

As part of its commitment to serving the most vulnerable patient populations, The Wright Center for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education has joined forces with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and seven other prominent hospital systems across the state to provide clinical care and guidance to personal-care home and assisted-living facilities in the face of this public health crisis.

A COVID-19 Education and Outreach Command Center has been established on the second floor of The Wright Center’s South Scranton location, 501 S. Washington Ave. Five days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., a dedicated team of resident doctors led by Internal Medicine Faculty Physician Erin McFadden, M.D., and Project Coordinator Melissa Watson are calling nearly 200 assisted-living facilities in the Northeast region of the state to offer Telehealth medical appointments and educational guidance, track coronavirus cases and assess PPE supply and staffing needs. This data is then shared with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health to arrange for PPE delivery and compile more accurate statistics on COVID-19.

“During this unprecedented time, we must go the extra mile to protect the residents of personal-care homes and assisted-living facilities, who are among the most at-risk patient populations. We must also look out for the staff that care for these vulnerable citizens and link them to desperately needed resources. This command center is critical to ensure they all have access to medical guidance and education,” said Dr. McFadden.

The Wright Center joins Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Geisinger Health System, Allegheny Health System, and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on this statewide taskforce. “This is a frightening time for these DHS-licensed facilities and the vulnerable residents they serve. But we have their backs. Collectively, we believe that with the additional educational support and clinical coaching that we are providing, personal-care homes and assisted-living residences will finally have the support they need,” said Ali Fogarty, Communications Director for the Pa. Dept. of Human Services.

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