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Health Care Waivers and Flexibilities Extended through October

Lawmakers also approve bills supporting workforce, behavioral health care

June 30, 2022

Emergency regulatory waivers and flexibilities for health care, which have helped hospitals prioritize patient care through the COVID-19 pandemic, will be extended another four months.

The General Assembly passed legislation today extending the waivers until October 31. The measure now goes to Governor Tom Wolf for his expected signature.

“HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospital community thank the General Assembly and Governor Wolf for recognizing that regulatory flexibility remains important to hospitals,” HAP President and CEO Andy Carter said. “We are grateful for this extension and will continue to work with the General Assembly to harness pandemic-era innovations—such as the expanded use of telehealth—to permanently improve health care throughout the commonwealth.”

The waivers—which were set to expire today—expand access to telehealth services, increase vaccine access, allow hospitals to quickly adapt to emergencies by altering space as needed for influxes of patients, and ease regulatory barriers to clinician licensing.

Along with the waiver extension, lawmakers also sent other health care priorities to Wolf’s desk, including legislation that:

  • Strengthens the health care workforce by expediting professional licensure for veterans and military spouses, including in health care fields (House Bill 1868)
  • Improves coordination between physical and behavioral health care providers by aligning state information-sharing laws with HIPAA and other federal requirements (House Bills 1561 and 1563)
  • Extends the reach of home health care providers by allowing certified registered nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to order and oversee orders, and allowing registered nurses to remotely supervise visits in certain circumstances (House Bill 2401)

The General Assembly has scheduled additional session days over the weekend to continue work on the 2022–2023 state budget. HAP is advocating for investments to expand behavioral health services and for maintaining Medicaid supplemental payments to hospitals that support essential services.

For more information, contact Heather Tyler, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy.