Governor Tom Wolf signed into law House Bill 253 on January 26, 2022, and it is now Act No. 2 of 2022.(https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/li/uconsCheck.cfm?yr=2022&sessInd=0&act=2)
This bill lay dormant since June 2021. But the governor worked with both parties’ caucuses over the past few weeks to include amendments that use America Rescue Plan dollars to provide Covid Relief (Gov. Wolf Signs Bills Supporting Health Care Workers and Students, Vetoes Unfair Congressional Map January 26, 2022)
These Covid Relief Amendments were passed unanimously by both the Senate & House:
“House Bill 253 also provides for the distribution of $225 million appropriated from the COVID-19 Response Restricted Account in the following manner: Hospitals – $210 million for payments to hospitals for the purpose of making retention or recruitment payments to hospital staff.
- All hospitals – $100 million
- To be allocated based on licensed beds for all facilities.
- All hospitals will receive approximately $2,800 per bed.
- Supplemental payments for critical access hospitals, high Medical Assistance hospitals and behavioral health providers of inpatient services – $ 110 million
- To be allocated based on a standard per-bed amount.
- All eligible facilities will receive approximately $4,400 per bed.
- Staff retention payments must be made within 90 days of receipt of funding and facilities will have 180 days for any recruitment payments.
- Student Loan Relief for Nurses – $15 million to fund the Student Loan Relief for Nurses Program. “All federal funding provided through House Bill 253 is a one-time payment for costs related to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Link to amended bill: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/BI/SFN/2021/0/HB0253P2653.pdf
Mary O'Connor, PhD, MSN, RN
Professor Emeritus, PennWest University, California campus
Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders (PONL), Legislative Committee