Senate Passes New Funding for Hospitals, Acute Health Care Workers

Westmoreland County Hospitals To Receive More Than $1.6 Million

(HARRISBURG)The Pennsylvania Senate today approved critical funding for hospitals and frontline acute health care workers who continue to keep Pennsylvanians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Delivering on a promise to the people of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Senate took a significant step towards managing out of the COVID-19 pandemic today by making a strategic investment that will help lessen the impact of the pandemic’s effect on our frontline workers by helping our hospitals to retain acute nursing staff to take care of their patients,” said Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward.  “This funding will help lessen the impact of the pandemic’s effect on our frontline workers by helping our hospitals to retain acute nursing staff and take care of their patients.”

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 in-patient providers.
  • $15 million for the PA Student Loan Relief for Nurses Program.

“We are very appreciative of those in the Pennsylvania legislature who are aware of the financial pressures hospitals are facing and once again are providing financial support as we enter the third year of this pandemic,” said Dr. Carol Fox, Chief Medical Officer, Excela Health. “Financial support from the Commonwealth to aid in these inflationary pressures is greatly appreciated and will enable hospitals to continue the fight against COVID-19.”

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.

“Words cannot express how incredibly grateful we are to the frontline caregivers within our organization, and across the state and country, for their courage, resilience and unwavering commitment to patients and community service during this unprecedented public health crisis,” said Donald Whiting, MD, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Chief Medical Officer and Claire Zangerle, AHN’s Chief Nurse Executive. “Today, our Pennsylvania state senators and representatives took a significant and important step with funding that will help us recognize these true heroes of the pandemic through our staff retention and recruitment efforts.  On behalf of AHN and Highmark Health, we thank and applaud our state leaders for recognizing those who are making a difference in the health of our communities at this challenging time and for their steadfast support of our organization and its mission throughout the crisis.” 

The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Hospital Funds for Westmoreland County

  • Allegheny Health Hempfield                                           $28,470
  • Excela Health Frick Hospital                                           $93, 951
  • Excela Health Latrobe Hospital                                     $483,990
  • Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital                      $1,067,625

Contact: Erica Clayton Wright, ewright@pasen.gov, (412) 334-4856