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HAP through the Years: 1970–1980

July 16, 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 1970s, a period marked by the formation of The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania Political Action Committee (HAPAC), dramatic inflation and challenges with cost-containment, and HAP’s expanding role to help hospitals across the commonwealth.

The 1970s

“Be a Nurse” campaign:  During the early 1970s, HAP launched a statewide “Be a Nurse” campaign, recruiting student nurses through posters, newspapers, radio, and television. A 1971 HAP Bulletin indicated the campaign was widely successful, helping the state’s nursing schools fill more than 500 vacancies and reach their enrollment goals. HAP received nearly 11,900 inquiries to its headquarters in response to the campaign.

A period of growth:  As HAP approached its 50th anniversary during 1971, leaders noted the organization’s continued growth, going from 34 charter members to more than 3,000, and from 30 institutional members to more than 300.

Responding to a crisis in malpractice coverage:  Through 1974, Pennsylvania’s hospitals were covered by a group contract by a national insurance company. During 1975, the insurance company abruptly informed HAP’s members that it was canceling coverage. HAP’s Board of Trustees quickly took action, endorsing the creation of the Pennsylvania Hospital Insurance Company (PHICO), which insured more than 190 member hospitals by 1977.

Founding of HAPAC:  During 1976, HAPAC raised more than $31,000 for 116 candidates in the General Assembly in its first full year. HAPAC emerged as HAP and its members realized the growing need for a central voice in Harrisburg and Washington. Throughout the decade, state and federal political leaders decided critical issues to the hospital community, including new payment and delivery models, inflation and cost containment, and the funding of public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

A new leader:  James Neely began his tenure as HAP’s CEO during 1972. Neely oversaw a dramatic expansion of HAP’s operations in insurance, legislative advocacy, hospital services, human resources, and information technology, among other areas.

Growing quarters:  With its continued growth, HAP expanded its Camp Hill campus with a 25,000-square-foot addition to the existing facility. The new facility housed HAP and 11 other health care-related organizations and was known as the Health Associations Center.

An enduring mission:  HAP’s updated 1971 mission statement emphasized the association’s enduring aim: “The ultimate purpose of the Association is to bring better health to the people of Pennsylvania,” it read.

Quotable:  Nearing its semicentennial, a HAP historian wrote: “Although 50 years old, (HAP) is a young organization, continuing to grow and to respond with vigor to new challenges and opportunities. Its successes and its expansion are a tribute to its membership which for 50 years has worked tirelessly and fervently for improvement of hospitals for the benefit of all mankind.”




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