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 Panel OKs Moderna Booster for High-Risk Groups

5 takeaways from today’s FDA Advisory Panel on Moderna boosters

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advisory panel recommended approving a half-dose booster of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for older Americans, health care workers, and other high-risk groups.

The panel’s unanimous recommendation mirrors its guidance for those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The advisory panel said it had enough available data to support the safety and effectiveness of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose for the following groups at least six months after their two-dose series:

  • Individuals 65 and older
  • Individuals between 18 and 64 at high risk of severe COVID-19
  • Individuals between 18 and 64 whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure puts them at high risk of serious complications and severe COVID-19

The meeting is the latest in a series from the nation’s infectious disease experts evaluating the safety, effectiveness, and need for booster doses of the available COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA’s discussion is just a part of the process. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also will discuss booster doses during meetings next week before a final recommendation is approved.

Here are five takeaways from today’s meeting:

  1. Rationale for a smaller booster dose:  Moderna officials said a 50 microgram booster dose returned antibody levels, or titers, to levels seen after the second dose of the two-shot series
  2. Side effects:  Pain at the injection site was the most common side effect. Headache, fatigue, and muscle pain were the most commonly reported adverse reactions, and most were mild to moderate. FDA staff provided information about rare reports of myocarditis/pericarditis, which were highest in men between 18 and 25
  3. Workforce concerns:  The FDA’s committee expressed the importance of ensuring health care workers and others at risk of occupational exposure have access to booster doses
  4. Israel data:  Panelists again reviewed data from Israel’s COVID-19 booster campaign and its effectiveness in breaking the curve of new cases and preventing severe disease. The country has primarily relied on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for its vaccine campaign, so it was not a direct comparison, panelists noted
  5. Clear priorities:  The panel stressed that vaccinating the unvaccinated remains the top priority. The panelists expressed reluctance for a broader booster campaign, because the vaccines continue to provide strong protection against severe disease

HAP will continue to monitor public health developments and provide updates to members. Today’s meeting and presentations are available online.

Tomorrow’s FDA booster meeting about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and mixing and matching vaccine brands also will be available to watch live.