YORK- Reps. Stan Saylor (R-York) and Keith Gillespie (R-York) today applauded the passage of critical funding that will be directed to hospitals and frontline health care workers who continue to keep our communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
House Bill 253
will allocate a total of $225 million in federal disaster relief funds to hospitals and their employees. Specifically, the 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 providers of inpatient services.
• $15 million for the PA Student Loan Relief for Nurses Program.
The legislation requires the funding be directed to retention and recruitment programs for staff. Hospital executives and administration, contracted staff, and physicians would not be eligible for payments under the bill; the funding would only be directed to nurses and other hospital employees.
Saylor, who serves as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and negotiated the additional funding with the Senate and Wolf administration, highlighted the impact for York County.
“With the passage of this additional funding, York County hospitals, health care workers, and behavioral health providers will be receiving over $6 million to support their efforts,” Saylor said. “Our health care workers in York County have really stepped up to serve this community and I think it’s important our state government steps up to support them.”
Gillespie, who spent 34 years working in the health care industry, including hospital administration and EMS services, also offered his appreciation to health care workers.
“Having worked in this industry, I know firsthand how hard our nurses and other frontline health care workers perform even under normal conditions,” Gillespie said. “The conditions that these workers have worked in over the past two years are extremely difficult and we appreciate and applaud their commitment to York County residents.”
John Porter, executive vice president and chief operating officer of WellSpan, also offered comments. “In recent weeks, WellSpan Health has cared for our highest number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients at one time since the start of the pandemic. Each of our six acute-care hospitals have been operating at well over our 100% capacity. We’ve delayed elective procedures, activated emergency response plans and created nearly 200 new flex beds across our system to meet the surge in demand. Our patients have endured long wait times in emergency departments and our care teams are exhausted. Several weeks ago, we and others reached out to leaders of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to collaboratively discuss solutions to this crisis. They have responded and the proposals announced today will provide critical assistance to our frontline care teams and help them continue providing timely, compassionate and life-saving service to the patients who come to us for care. We thank the General Assembly for its support and leadership at this unprecedented time.”
Saylor and Gillespie also said they are working on securing additional funding for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and expect further legislative action in the coming weeks.
Representative Stan Saylor
94th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Neal Lesher