(HARRISBURG) – The state Senate has approved critical funding for hospitals and frontline health care workers who continue to keep Pennsylvanians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Senator Lisa Baker (R-20). It is anticipated that the House of Representatives will also swiftly consider the measure.
“I am pleased that the General Assembly has come together to advance this legislation to aid health care workers across our Commonwealth,” Senator Baker said. “The support will be distributed from the money Pennsylvania received as part of the federal American Rescue Plan.”
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.
Geisinger Executive Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive, Janet Tomcavage, emphasized how this support will help with the challenges currently facing local health care workers.
“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,” Ms. Tomcavage said. “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.”
A full break down of the estimated funding distribution for hospitals and behavioral health facilities can be viewed here: https://www.senatorbaker.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/01/hb253-est-funding.pdf
The legislation requires the funding to be directed to retention and recruitment programs for staff. Hospital executives and administration, contracted staff and physicians would not be eligible for payments.