Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to sign a bill on Friday that would deposit $50 million in transferred state funding to be used for medical equipment and supplies by the state’s health care providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both the Pennsylvania Senate and House approved House Bill 1232 on Wednesday and are now awaiting approval from the governor. The bill would give the state additional funds for emergency equipment used in COVID-19 cases if the funds provided by the state’s disaster proclamation run dry.
“The legislation allowing this use of funding was one of our top priorities this week. Legislators in both parties pulled together to pass it,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny and Westmoreland). “Pennsylvania’s heroic medical workers are in the thick of a life-and-death battle and we have to make sure they have the tools to carry on the fight for everyone’s good.”
If approved by Wolf tomorrow, the bill would allow the state to place the $50 million into a restricted account under the governor’s jurisdiction. If needed, the funds would be given to hospitals, nursing homes and emergency workers in need of medical equipment related to treating or preventing COVID-19.
“We need more beds, more ventilators, more personal protective equipment and so much more and we need it as soon as possible because the virus is here,” Wolf said. “I am working to get this funding moving as quickly as I can. We need to do everything we can to support our front-line medical workers to protect them and ensure they have the equipment to care for patients. This funding is a step in the right direction.”
This week the U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion aid package that the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on this Friday. The “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARE) Act” would provide $130 billion to hospitals nationwide currently battling the pandemic.