Bucks lawmakers announce passage of bill to support health care workers

H.B. 253 passes unanimously, it would release $225 in federal funds

HARRISBURG, Jan. 26 – Stepping in to provide the support needed for people who have fought on the front lines of a pandemic for almost two years, Bucks County lawmakers Reps. Tina Davis, John Galloway and Perry Warren announced the unanimous passage in the House of H.B. 253 on Wednesday.

The measure would deliver $225 million in federal money set aside by the American Rescue Plan for health care employees in Pennsylvania.

“Nurses and health care workers in Bucks County have selflessly sacrificed for the greater good since the first days of the pandemic,” House Democratic Caucus Secretary Tina Davis said. “I am proud to support this measure to help dedicated nurses and provide the money needed to help health care workers and improve health care in Bucks County and throughout the state.”

House Bill 253 would provide $110 million to hospitals that provide behavioral health services, serve a high amount of Medical Assistance clients, or are in some of our most rural parts of the state so they, too, can retain and recruit the staff they need at the bedside. It would also provide $100 million for needed retention and recruitment funds for direct care staff. Another $15 million would be used to increase the amount of student loan forgiveness that can be provided to nurses in various settings, including the Student Loan Relief for Nurses Program.

“The pandemic placed additional stresses on society, resulting in a rise of mental health issues,” Galloway said. “Throughout the commonwealth, behavioral health provider staff have been addressing the increased need for care for nearly two years without a break. They have literally saved lives, but at cost to their own health. Thanks to this legislation, these heroes will get the additional assistance needed to continue to provide lifesaving care to our families and communities.”

“The past two years have been a challenge for everyone, and perhaps most of all for our health care workers,” Warren said. “Yet, whether in hospitals, or in public or private health care settings, our dedicated health care workers have come to work every day, caring for the sick, preserving health and saving lives. This bill recognizes their commitment and will help Pennsylvania health care providers retain and recruit essential frontline workers."