The history of Pennsylvania hospitals throughout the last 100 years is rich and full as they worked closely with HAP to improve the health of the people they serve.


The Arc of History

HAP Centennial 1921-2021

When HAP was founded 100 years ago, its objective was to promote the welfare of the people of the commonwealth, and that remains HAP’s goal today. During the course of 2021 we will reflect on HAP’s tremendous strides and struggles throughout each decade, highlighting milestone moments including the creation of the Quality Care Assessment, advances in our quality improvement, emergency management, advocacy, and research capabilities, the merger with the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council, HAPevolve’s creation, and HAP’s triumphant return to downtown Harrisburg after a multi-decade self-imposed exile to the suburbs. We will use the anniversary as a springboard to amplify thought leadership from hospital leaders and, of course, we’ll reflect upon HAP’s leadership and Pennsylvania hospitals’ response to COVID in our 100th year.

Most important, however, is to use the anniversary to connect the past to our bright future. In fact, the anniversary year logo symbolizes the “arc of history” and our tagline reinforces that we’ve been working “100 years toward better health,” which means we’re not there yet.

Every member of the HAP staff is grateful to be part of this history. HAP is dedicated and committed to representing the hospitals and health systems of the future as they strive to improve the health status of every Pennsylvanian.

HAP Centennial Articles

HAP through the Years: 1960–1970

June 25, 2021

During 2021, The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) proudly marks its centennial with a look back at 100 years of milestones, advocacy, and support for Pennsylvania’s hospitals.

This week, HAP provides a look at health care during the 1960s, a decade that saw the founding of the Medicare and the transformation of America’s health care system.

The 1960s

The launch of Medicare: The 1960s saw the growth of government-supported health insurance, first through The Kerr-Mills Act and later through the implementation of the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs. Earlier in the decade, HAP advocated for Pennsylvania lawmakers to participate in the Kerr-Mills program to receive matching federal funds. By 1962, Pennsylvania began its Medical Assistance to the Aged program, bringing in $30 million annually for Pennsylvania hospitals to care for people 65 and older.

The nation’s Medicare program was signed into law on July 30, 1965. In addition to providing coverage for older Americans, the federally funded health care program played an important role in the desegregation efforts of the 1960s, historians note. Hospitals across the nation looking to access funds from the nascent government health care program could not participate until they complied with Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Fun fact: At the bill-signing ceremony, President Lyndon B. Johnson enrolled President Truman as the first Medicare beneficiary and presented him with the nation’s first Medicare card.

Quotable: “The benefits under the law are as varied and broad as the marvelous modern medicine itself,” President Johnson said during the ceremony signing the Medicare Bill into law at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri.

Advocacy: HAP founded the Hospital Educational and Research Foundation of Pennsylvania during 1961. The foundation received its first major grant four years later from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support hospital services in long-term care.

On the move: Citing a need for more space, HAP leaders decided to move from their office in downtown Harrisburg at 610 North Third Street to a location in Camp Hill on the west side of the Susquehanna river. The HAP staff moved into the headquarters on the Monday after Thanksgiving 1968. Construction on the 17,000-square-foot building took 11 months to complete, records show.

The dawn of computers: Records indicate Harrisburg Hospital was the first hospital in the state to install an electronic computer, marking the beginning of a technological trend across the commonwealth. During 1967, HAP launched a statewide study to determine the feasibility of the state’s hospitals to participate in a shared computer program.


HAP Centennial Timeline


January 1, 1950

A New Affiliation

HAP affiliated with the American Hospital Association, prompting HAP’s trustees to take a critical look at HAP’s headquarters in the PA Chamber of Commerce building in Harrisburg.

During 1951

Hospital Auxiliaries 

HAP, recognizing the importance of volunteers, played a role in the formation of the Pennsylvania Association of Hospital Auxiliaries. A year later, HAP added a Council on Hospital Auxiliaries to its organizational structure.

August 1952

The Rabbit Hutch

HAP moved to the second floor of the Masonic Building at Third and State Street, however, the sale of the building a short time later resulted in HAP relocating to 610 N. Third Street. The new, unappealing, offices were labeled “a rabbit hutch” by staff.

During 1953

A Realistic Reimbursement

HAP successfully lobbied for an increase in the daily rate of reimbursement by the state to hospitals for inpatient care, taking it from $6.50 to $7 (approximately $68 today).

During 1954

Adequate Aid

HAP, heavily involved in a broad spectrum of hospital interests, still focused its its primary efforts on the state legislature. HAP undertook a public relations program as it intensified its campaign for adequate state aid for hospitals.

July 1955

Another First

The newly HAP-affiliated Pennsylvania Association of Hospital Auxiliaries held a workshop at The Pennsylvania State University. It was the first to be held in the United States.


During 1940

An Early Response

In response to the threat posed by the widening war in Europe, a massive national defense program by the U.S. was started. HAP immediately participated in the program with the purchase of a $5,000 ($92K today) National Defense Bond.

During 1940

Committee on Preparedness

HAP established a Committee on Preparedness to coordinate with an American Hospital Association committee working on plans for the active participation of hospitals as the nation readied for almost certain entry into World War II.

During 1941

The Legislative Committee

Legislative priorities included: obtaining increased state aid for hospitals; encouraging voluntary participation in the State Medical Care program; and supporting amendments to restore the hospital as “a party in interest” under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

December 7, 1941

War Conference

Marking its 20th anniversary, HAP, along with the rest of the nation, quickly became caught up in war efforts after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. HAP’s annual conference was labeled “War Conference” and focused the personnel shortages.

May 1944

Second War Conference

HAP’s annual conference labeled the “Second War Conference” held at Pittsburgh’s William Penn Hotel focused on public health after the war, and plans for postwar hospital construction and planning.

August 1944

A First

HAP sponsored a public relations institute in State College. It was the first ever sponsored by a state hospital association.

During 1946

The Hill-Burton Act 

The Hill-Burton Act triggered a hospital building boom throughout the nation. Cognizant of the act’s impact, HAP prepared legislative initiatives that would pave the way for participation by PA’s hospitals.

During 1946

The HAP Emblem

Moving to enhance HAP’s growing presence in state affairs, the delegates approved an official HAP emblem; a keystone with an eagle perched on top.

During 1947

Unprecedented Construction

An unprecedented program of hospital facility construction and expansion was underway throughout PA. HAP played a major role in the program, with efforts bringing to the state millions of federal dollars.

During 1947

State-Aid Patient Rate 

HAP successfully lobbied to increase the state aid patient rate from $4 to $5.50 per day (approximately $64 today).

During 1948

Drafting a New Plan

Inconsistent management of hospital expansion became a cause for concern. HAP helped draft a plan for construction and coordination of hospital facilities under the direction of the Department of Welfare.

April 1948

Broadcasting Success

HAP’s growing stature was noted when the annual meeting, held at Philadelphia’s Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, was televised; the first TV broadcast of a hospital association convention.

During 1948

Middle Atlantic Assembly

HAP joined the hospital associations of New York and New Jersey to create the Middle Atlantic Assembly, designed to assist hospitals in improving service, encouraging professional education, and aiding public health education.


March 4, 1935

State Appropriations to Hospitals

Gov. George Earle provides $1 million in hospital aid after action is demanded to save 71 hospitals in critical financial condition and 17 more that would close without immediate assistance.

November 1, 1936

A Permanent Presence

A growing legislative agenda called for a permanent presence in the state capital, thus establishing HAP’s first Harrisburg office in the Pennsylvania State Chamber of Commerce building, 222 North Third Street.


December 7, 1921

First Meeting

A few administrators in PA hospitals perceived the advantages of a statewide association, and organized a meeting in Harrisburg. From their aspirations would grow The Hospital Association of Pennsylvania.

May 18, 1922

First Annual Conference

Attended by PA’s prominent health care institutions, meetings dealt with cooperative hospital purchasing and economics, nursing problems, and hospital relations with the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare.

December 3, 1928


A meeting held at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital led to the creation of the Northeastern Section of HAP; the first of what would become four HAP regional councils, each addressing geographic policy issues and concerns.