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PA Lawmakers Approve $225M to Support Health Care Workforce

January 26, 2022

Pennsylvania lawmakers gave final approval today to a $225 million relief package to support the commonwealth’s health care workforce. 

Governor Tom Wolf signed the bipartisan legislation this afternoon, delivering critical funding to help hospitals address severe staffing challenges that have only intensified during the latest pandemic surge. 

In a statement, HAP President and CEO Andy Carter applauded the passage of the bipartisan legislation and thanked the General Assembly and Governor Tom Wolf for working together to support health care professionals on the front lines of the pandemic. 

“After two years on the front lines, health care professionals are exhausted. Many are leaving their jobs due to burnout. There was an industry-wide health care staffing shortage before the pandemic, which has now become a crisis that threatens to affect patient care,” Carter said. “House Bill 253 will support health care professionals immediately and begin to address some long-term challenges of the staffing crisis. This investment in our health care heroes will help Pennsylvania’s health care system provide high-quality care now and in the future.” 

The legislation includes: 

  • $210 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to help hospitals support staff and strengthen their workforce through bonuses and other retention and recruitment initiatives. That includes: 
  • $100 million to all hospitals, based on the number of licensed beds (approximately $2,800 per bed) 
  • $110 million in payments to critical access hospitals, high Medicaid-dependent hospitals, and inpatient behavioral health facilities beds (approximately $4,400 per bed) 
  • $15 million to the Student Loan Relief for Nurses Program, providing up to $7,500 per person 
  • The creation of a task force to study and make recommendations related to the impact of the opioid crisis on children 

During media briefings today, Governor Wolf and legislative leaders stressed the importance of passing the legislation quickly to help reduce the ongoing strain on Pennsylvania’s health care workforce. State officials said the funding could be available in the next 30 days. 

HAP thanks the General Assembly and Governor Tom Wolf for supporting Pennsylvania’s health care workforce and for the bipartisan passage of House Bill 253. 

For more information, contact Heather Tyler, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy.