House bill

Governor Wolf celebrates bipartisan House Bill 253, allocating $225 million to support healthcare workers

Governor Tom Wolf was joined today by Democratic and Republican legislative members to celebrate House Bill 253, which earmarks $225 million to support Pennsylvania’s heroic healthcare workers.

“Three weeks ago, my administration convened a task force comprising all four caucuses to identify immediate investments to support health care workers overburdened by staffing shortages after years of fighting the pandemic on the front lines,” he said. said Governor Wolf. “Together, Democrats and Republicans have come together in a bipartisan effort to address this issue through House Bill 253. I am proud to sign this essential legislation to support our healthcare workforce and ensure Pennsylvanians can continue to receive quality care for emergency health issues. and rescue procedures.

Over the past few months, healthcare workers in Pennsylvania have been under extreme stress as hospitals and healthcare facilities reach and exceed capacity while seeing patients with higher levels of acuity. Staffing shortages and high patient numbers have contributed to hospitals reaching capacity and having to divert patients to other equally overburdened facilities. In response, hospitals and health care systems have applied to the Commonwealth for specific funding for the recruitment and retention of key staff.

House Bill 253, as amended, earmarks $225 million in federal funding for the U.S. Bailout Act to support healthcare workers in Pennsylvania. Funding is established to support the following healthcare areas:

  • $100 million to be distributed to all Department of Health approved acute care, critical access and children’s hospitals on a per bed basis. Funding will be used strictly for direct care staff recruitment and retention payments.
  • $110 million to be distributed per bed to high medical attendance hospitals, designated critical access hospitals, and inpatient and residential behavioral health facilities for key personnel recruitment and retention payments.
  • $15 million to quadruple funds available for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency’s (PHEAA) Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program, a high-demand program that has already received more than 8,000 applications by March 1st deadline.

Governor Wolf was joined by Democratic and Republican members of the General Assembly in the Governor’s Reception Room to celebrate the legislation.

“Our healthcare workers have been stretched to full capacity physically, financially, mentally and emotionally over the past two years as we battle the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa. “Not only do they deserve our continued support and advocacy to get every eligible person vaccinated, but they also need the resources to continue this battle against Covid-19.”

“Keeping a promise to the people of Pennsylvania, the Senate, House, and Governor took an important step toward managing the COVID-19 pandemic today by making a strategic investment to support our hospitals and care work. frontline healthcare,” the Senate majority said. Chief Kim Ward. “These dedicated, exhausted and strained nurses got us through our darkest days. This funding will help mitigate the impact of the effect of the pandemic on our frontline workers by helping our hospitals retain acute care nursing staff and care for their patients as these facilities are under maximum stress. .

“The last two years have not been like the others before them. The demand on our health care system has been enormous and our frontline health care providers who have worked tirelessly have shouldered one of the greatest burdens,” said House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton. “This $225 million relief program is an investment in the system and the professionals who gave so much to support and care for our communities before the pandemic and since.”

The convened task force and legislation is part of the multi-tiered approach the Wolf administration is taking to address and mitigate the current crisis in Pennsylvania, including deploying state-led strike teams to hospitals, by launching regional decompression sites for hospitals and long-term care. facilities, working with the federal government to set up two large-scale regional COVID-19 testing sites and expanding Pennsylvania’s testing contract to support nine high-volume testing sites across the Commonwealth.

“Throughout the pandemic, I have called on Pennsylvanians to make choices that positively impact loved ones and neighbors,” Governor Wolf said. “I am proud to stand with the Democratic and Republican members who have heard this call and sign this legislation by providing the necessary funding for the Commonwealth’s most critical asset, our healthcare workers.”

In addition to funding to support healthcare personnel, Bill 253 also creates the Child Opioid Abuse Impact Task Force to focus on improving the safety, well- being and permanence of infants and other young children exposed to the substance and touched by their parents. substance abuse disorders.