16:59 PM

New Pennsylvania Travel Mandates and Exceptions for Health Care

Answers as you seek care at LVHN

New public health mandates related to COVID-19 were announced Nov. 17 by Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, MD, with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Many of the rules are easily understood – Everyone in an indoor public space must wear a mask; if you are outdoors, you must wear a mask if you can’t maintain 6 feet of distance from others who are not part of your household. However, other new rules related to travel may raise questions, especially if you are seeking medical care in Pennsylvania and you live in another state or have visited another state.

“LVHN will never deny care to anyone,” says Timothy Friel, MD, Chair, Department of Medicine, with Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). “While COVID-19 patients are encouraged to postpone face-to-face, non-urgent care until they have recovered, they ALWAYS have options for virtual care through the many platforms that LVHN offers.

Even during periods of isolation, patients with active COVID-19 infection and those under quarantine following significant exposures are always permitted to leave their homes to receive urgent or emergent care. These patients are encouraged to alert their health care providers about their current condition and utilize best practices like masking, hand washing and social distancing during travel to healthcare facilities.

Q&A concerning Pennsylvania Department of Health travel mandates (Nov. 17) and health care 

  1. Do I need to have a negative COVID-19 test to receive care at an LVHN hospital or outpatient location, or to provide comfort and support to a patient, if I am coming from out of state?

    No. The mandate exempts people from COVID-19 testing if they are traveling from another state to seek medical care or providing comfort and support to a patient. LVHN will provide care for those who are sick, however, we ask that a visitor/support person is healthy, not experiencing a fever or have other signs of illness, and must wear a face mask at all times.

  2. What if I am traveling home from vacation from another state or happen to work in New Jersey – will I need a negative COVID-19 test to receive care at an LVHN hospital or outpatient location in Pennsylvania? 

    No. Since you are seeking care at an LVHN facility (or providing comfort and support to a patient), you will not need to have a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before.

Don’t delay care

For all people, continuing regular medical care is encouraged. Since the pandemic started, people have delayed necessary health care, including wellness care, preventive screenings and even emergency care. Delaying care can lead to more serious problems later. At LVHN, we are taking all steps to ensure you receive care in a safe manner, including temperature checks for patients and employees, requiring face masks for all people, frequent hand-washing and cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.

As an alternative to an in-person visit, remember you can schedule a video visit through MyLVHN, the patient portal, or access other types of virtual care. Your health care partners are available to help you get well and stay well.

Visit LVHN.org/virtualcare for more information.