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News Release: HAP Statement on House Bill 262, “Right to Refuse” Vaccines and Testing

June 14, 2021

Harrisburg, PA – The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) opposes both Amendment A01591 to House Bill 262, as well as the underlying bill. This legislation is a direct challenge to the long-established duty of doctors and nurses to keep contagious diseases out of hospitals so care for the patients can be conducted safely.

HAP President and CEO, Andy Carter, released the following statement in response to this bill being voted on tomorrow in the House Labor and Industry Committee:

“People come to hospitals to be cured. Caregivers likewise seek to avoid becoming carriers of disease to and from the bedside. Interfering with these guiding principles will place lives at risk. Hospitals and their clinicians need to be able to design the best infection control practices they can, free from government bans on what may be the best way for giving care.

House Bill 262 would in effect prohibit hospitals from mandating vaccination or medical testing of employees. House Bill 262 makes no exception for hospitals or other direct care facilities. The bill, even with amendment A01591, will permit any employee of a hospital to refuse a vaccination of any kind for ‘moral’ reasons or because they were at some point previously infected with the illness. Such ‘reasons’ will render any hospital mandate all but meaningless. 

If enacted, this bill will immediately run counter to the growing number of health care providers around the United States that have begun to mandate COVID-19 vaccination, and already mandate testing, for their caregivers. This bill will likewise overturn decades of hospital practices in our country which routinely mandate, for example, flu vaccination and testing of employees to avoid other contagious diseases from entering the hospital. For example, hospitals routinely mandate tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and of course, COVID-19 tests. This bill may just prohibit many of those safe practices.”

About HAP:  HAP is a statewide membership services organization that advocates for nearly 240 Pennsylvania acute and specialty care, primary care, subacute care, long-term care, home health, and hospice providers, as well as the patients and communities they serve. Additional information about HAP is available online at www.haponline.org.


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