Hospitals are the front line for providing health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet there is a lack of partnership with the Pennsylvania state government to protect hospitals, health care workers and the communities they serve.
Throughout this pandemic, The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania has worked in partnership with the Department of Health and other state agencies to protect the health of the people of Pennsylvania. But we have not always felt the support of elected officials during this time.
- A telemedicine bill that would have provided greater access to care was vetoed.
- An executive order establishing medical liability protections did not include hospitals.
- And the response to a request for financial relief to support hospitals as they face economic challenges of more than $10 billion was only a short-term loan program.
There’s no point in planning for a resurgence of COVID-19 if we cannot protect the hospitals that will potentially be gearing back up to hold that front line again in a few short months. The hospitals and health systems of this commonwealth stood to protect patients during this public health crisis, and now we are asking the governor and General Assembly to stand with us.
Pennsylvania’s hospitals are hubs of community health, teachers of tomorrow’s doctors and nurses, leaders in medical research, and community economic anchors, and they support more than 650,000 people with jobs. They are among the largest employers in 85 percent of Pennsylvania’s counties, and they contributed more than $136 billion to the state economy in 2018.
A loss of more than $10 billion and the lack of important protections will create a ripple effect on the physical and economic health of communities across the state. This is why we need the governor and General Assembly to support Pennsylvania hospitals.
Andy Carter is president and CEO of The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.