Senate Passes New Funding for Hospitals, Health Care Workers

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania General Assembly approved critical funding for hospitals and frontline health care workers who continue to keep Pennsylvanians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27).

As amended, House Bill 253 would allocate a total of $225 million to hospitals and their employees. The additional dollars will be allocated as follows:

  • $100 million for acute care general hospitals.
  • $110 million for critical access hospitals, facilities with a high volume of Medicaid patients, and behavioral/psychiatric providers.
  • $15 million for the PA Student Loan Relief for Nurses Program.

“A drastic increase in COVID cases over the last few months have caused hospitals to experience a critical level of patient needs,” said Senator Gordner.  “The most important people on the front line are the nurses that sacrifice every day to help care for critically ill patients in their care.  This bill will help to ensure that our hospitals can continue to provide an adequate level of care during this pandemic.”

“This pandemic has taken its toll on health care workers both personally and professionally, and as an organization we have worked diligently to help our employees through these unprecedented circumstances, said Janet Tomcavage, MSN, RN; Executive Vice President, Chief Nursing Executive, Geisinger.  “Health care workers need our collective support right now, and we’re grateful the General Assembly has recognized the incredible challenges they continue to experience now, two years into this deadly pandemic, by providing this assistance when our health care heroes need it most.”

Funds would be taken from a portion of the state’s share of the American Rescue Plan.  HB 253 requires the funding to be directed to retention and recruitment programs for front line nurses.  Executives, administrators, physicians and contracted staff would be ineligible for payments under the legislation.

CONTACT: Mike Stephens  mstephens@pasen.gov