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: 1980–1990

August 13, 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 recaps the 1980s, a transformative decade that saw the continued growth of health care technology, new regulatory and clinical challenges, and HAP again on the move.

The 1980s

Key challenges:  HAP and its members addressed several challenges during the 1980s, including cost containment policy debates, uncertain Medicare and Medicaid funding, and the emergence of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

HAP played a key role to support hospitals in each of these areas. During 1986, it provided critical input for the legislation that created the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. With the emergence of AIDS, the association organized a steering committee sharing up-to-date information and guidance to members. Hospitals’ growing advocacy needs also spawned the formation of so-called Grass Roots Intelligence Teams designed to spur action on important issues at the local, state, and national level.

Growing role of technology:  The 1980s saw dramatic adoption of new technology across Pennsylvania’s hospitals, including magnetic resonance imaging and coaxial tomography, as well as advances in laser surgery and cardiovascular care. These advances helped dramatically shorten the time patients stayed in the hospital, leading to the rise of outpatient surgery during the following decades.

A hub for research:  HAP formalized its longstanding interest in research with the creation of the Hospital Research Foundation during 1984. The nonprofit entity aimed to support HAP’s activities in the field and improve hospital operations.

A new leader:  James Neely’s tenure as HAP’s CEO came to an end during 1983. Neely’s successor, John A. Russell, previously served as CEO of Hershey Medical Center and as HAP’s senior vice president, hospital services.

On the move:  With a growing scope of programs, employees, and services, HAP moved to its new headquarters in Swatara Township during July 1989. The 84,000-square-foot modern headquarters was home base for more than 90 HAP employees, as well as the association’s for-profit subsidiary. The facility would serve as HAP’s home until 2016, when the association returned to downtown Harrisburg.

An enduring mission:  At the start of the decade, HAP’s leaders carefully studied the association’s strategic long-range goals and future needs. The outcome from the project included a new mission statement carrying familiar themes. HAP’s ultimate goal, the mission statement said, was to create an “effective and efficient health care delivery system through which high-quality health care is made available to every person in the Commonwealth.”

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.