HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Billions of dollars in federal money is on its way to Pennsylvania, and hospitals across the state are asking for a chunk of it. A bipartisan group of lawmakers agree it would be just what the doctor ordered.
They have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, and now lawmakers want to put hospitals in the front of the line for federal funding.
“Our hospitals always put us first and now it’s time to ensure they have the tools they need to continue to serve us,” state Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington, Beaver, Greene) said.
The Pa. Heroes Act would take $650 million from the $7.2 billion expected from Washington and steer it toward hospitals, still smarting from canceled elective procedures.
“And have suffered like the rest of our economy has suffered through COVID. Last year, you got relief, this year you did not get anything,” Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland) said.
Rep. Steven Kinsey (D-Philadelphia) said he was impressed by Einstein Hospital in his district long before COVID. But now, “during the pandemic. No doubt the level of response, the level of commitment the level of dedication, rose ten times,” he said.
Under the bill, hospitals would apply for grants to fund everything from the workforce to infrastructure to behavioral health.
“These hospitals have to demonstrate need, also prove they can’t get the funding elsewhere it’s going to be highly audited and very responsibly reported,” Bartolotta said.
There doesn’t appear to be opposition to the Heroes Act. There will be a lot of competition for that federal cash.
“We’re out there competing for limited dollars and I think we’re making the case that we know how to invest limited dollars for the healthcare delivery system,” said Andy Carter, president of Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania.