Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed a bipartisan bill late Wednesday that will give millions to hospitals to better help them during this latest wave of Covid hospitalizations.
Republicans in the Pennsylvania House on Wednesday morning held a press conference about the then-proposed bill, after the Senate passed it Tuesday and before heading to the House for the vote
House Bill 253 will allocate $225 million for hospitals and their employees, as well as money for other efforts.
Hospitals face staffing shortages and staff burnout, and lawmakers hope this will improve the situation.
“This $225 million will make sure that they can effectively address these short-term challenges,” Sen. Pat Browne (R), the Appropriations Committee chair, told the conference. “But also, like we don’t want our constituents in any regard to be casualties to this pandemic, for the long term we don’t want our world-class health care system to be a casualty to this pandemic.”
“Part of our investment is also trying to address staffing issues,” House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R) said. “I believe that about 210 million of this money will go toward staffing issues, as well, and our hospitals. We are looking at additional funding towards some educational opportunities.”
Benninghoff added that they want to help hospitals “keep retaining these employees. You know, we’ve seen a little bit [of] premature retirements as people get burned out in these facilities, and the demands, and the hours. It’s not very easy to keep that going.”
As for the rest of the money, $100 million will go to acute care general hospitals. $110 million will go to critical access hospitals, facilities with a high volume of medicaid patients, and behavioral and psychiatric providers.
“We know all too well the impact on many people who have either chronic behavioral health issues or some acute thing, subsequent to the pandemic, was just as dramatic in their lives and in their families’ lives and continues to be a challenge, even to the work force, as people try to get themselves at a stable point,” Benninghoff also said.
And then $15 million will go to the PA Student Loan Relief For Nurses program.
A task force will also be formed to better the lives of kids affected by parents going through drug addiction.