Supporting our Hospitals through Crisis
December 10, 2021
This is not where any of us wanted to be at the end of 2021.
Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania is under siege by another surge in hospitalizations. For perspective, close to an additional 1,050 patients now require hospitalization for COVID since Thanksgiving and nearly 190 of them are in intensive care units. This is a 30 percent increase in hospital beds for COVID-19 patients in the past two weeks alone.
This surge—combined with the beginning of flu season, a bottleneck of patients catching up on delayed care, and the worst staffing crisis we have seen in decades—threatens hospitals’ ability to deliver patient care. We’re hearing from hospitals across the state that they are at capacity and experiencing long delays in their emergency departments. We know that it will unfortunately get worse before it gets better.
Please know that I and the entire HAP team remain committed to serving the hospital community as it navigates these extreme challenges.
We are communicating to policymakers, news media, and the public that Pennsylvania’s health care system is at its breaking point. We are amplifying the message that hospitals have been communicating loud and clear—that the most important step Pennsylvanians can take to end this surge and prevent another is to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu.
We are continuing our work on both short-term and long-term solutions to address the health care workforce crisis, and to support hospitals and their staff as the fight against this pandemic continues. We are working to ensure that the right resources and policy and regulatory tools are in place to ensure that our hospitals and clinicians can care for our families and communities in months and years ahead.
To all Pennsylvanians, I urge you to get both your COVID-19 and flu vaccines, if you have not done so already. If you have not received your COVID-19 booster shot, do so now. Not only is vaccination the most effective way to protect yourself and your family, it will help alleviate the strain our hospitals are experiencing.
I also urge anyone who visits a hospital to treat their health care workers with respect and appreciation. Clinicians and support staff are under enormous strain and are working as hard as possible through challenging circumstances to ensure that all patients receive high-quality care. Violence and abuse against health care workers is never acceptable.
To the health care community: thank you. You have toiled and scarified to provide patients with high-quality care. You have done everything within your power to save the lives of our neighbors, our friends, our families.
Know that we are listening to and working with you as you navigate this crisis. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or anyone else at HAP with your requests, challenges, and needs.
On behalf of the entire team at HAP and all Pennsylvanians, thank you for your continued perseverance to keep Pennsylvania safe.