Take Action: State Advocacy

HAP continues to advocate with state officials and lawmakers to support Pennsylvania's hospitals during this challenging time. The Pennsylvania health care community cannot fight this pandemic, nor recover from it, alone. Learn more below about how organizations and individuals can advocate to support the health care community.

HAP's 2021 COVID-19 Advocacy Priorities

  • Dedicating state and federal funding to provide financial support to hospitals 
  • Retaining administrative flexibilities and waivers 
  • Securing COVID-19 related liability protections Providing appropriate payment for COVID-19-related care
  • Ensuring hospitals have the resources they need, including PPE and testing supplies, and that equitable distribution of the vaccines occurs for Pennsylvania and for hospitals within Pennsylvania

Take Action Items

Establish Liability Protections During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Background: Frontline health care workers are risking their lives to care for and protect Pennsylvanians during this pandemic. During these unprecedented conditions, Pennsylvania should allow these workers to continue to treat COVID-19 patients without fear of being sued.

HAP is asking lawmakers to provide legal protections to health care workers, hospitals, and other health care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 6, 2020, Governor Wolf signed an Executive Order to provide medical liability protections for health care providers during the COVID-19 crisis. This order protects individual, licensed medical providers—including physicians, nurses, and other health care workers—from lawsuits that arrive from providing emergency services related to COVID-19. Unfortunately, this order does not extend to Pennsylvania’s hospitals.

HAP is asking lawmakers to include hospitals in these protections, to prevent frivolous lawsuits being brought against the facilities where medical personnel providing front line medical care are employed.

    • Call or email your lawmakers through Healthy Me PA to demand that they recognize the risks that hospitals are taking in the midst of the pandemic. A letter has been created for your use
    • Utilize and share the TAKE ACTION link with your health care community to contact your legislators in the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office and ask them for medical liability protections for health care workers
    • Share the graphic HAP has developed for your use on social media outlets or via email

Advocacy Tools:

      • Customizable Liability Protections Letter to Lawmakers
      • Protect Health Care Workers Graphic for Social Media
      • Draft letter to Governor Wolf
      • Joint letter to Governor Wolf and Members of the General Assembly
      • Joint letter to Members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation

Establish Insurer Payment Solutions

Background:  Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services made important legislative and regulatory changes to expand the Medicare accelerated/advanced payment programs, which allows hospitals and other eligible providers to request accelerated Medicare payments. This is intended to serve as a tool to help hospitals access stable cash flow.

HAP is advocating to establish periodic payments to health care providers from commercial insurers and within the Medicaid program, similar to recent changes that were made in the Medicare program.

HAP Contacts

If you have questions or would like more information about HAP's state advocacy efforts, contact  Heather Tyler, vice president, state legislative advocacy, or Sarah Lawver, director, advocacy activation. Media inquiries should be directed to Liam Migdail, director, media relations.

FDA Advisory Panel Recommends COVID Booster Dose for People 65 and Older, High-Risk Groups

Panel votes against booster doses for general population, citing need for more evidence

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advisory panel unanimously recommended a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people 65 and older, as well as those at high risk for severe COVID-19.

The vote came after the committee voted 16–2 against approving a booster dose for everyone 16 and older, citing the need for more evidence and review time.

The booster would be given at least six months after the second dose of the vaccine. In an informal poll, the panel also agreed that health care workers and others at risk for occupational exposure should be recommended for boosters.

Throughout the day, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee met to discuss the potential for booster doses, evaluating real-world data from Israel, as well as Pfizer’s assessment that a booster shot could improve protection for people six months after their second dose.

The advisory panel said it needed more data across age groups to approve booster doses more broadly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet next week to make its own independent evaluation before the agency makes a recommendation. It is expected ACIP will provide additional recommendations about who would qualify for a booster.

During a press briefing this morning, the nation’s public health leaders provided an update on the plans for COVID-19 booster shots, stressing that the regulatory review was a critical part of the process.

The White House announced its booster plan last month to give providers time to prepare for administration of a potential third dose, said Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. The plan for booster doses has always been contingent on review from the FDA and the CDC, he said.

“Our goal then, and now, is to protect the health and wellbeing of the public,” Dr. Murthy said.

HAP will continue to monitor COVID-19 public health developments and provide updates to members.