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 Recommends J&J Booster Dose, Reviews Mix-and-Match Approach

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advisory panel unanimously recommended approving a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine this afternoon.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee said there was enough evidence to support the safety and effectiveness of an additional dose of the vaccine at least two months after individuals received their initial shot.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available under emergency authorization for people 18 and older. About 15 million American adults have received the vaccine to date and would be eligible for boosters if the recommendation is approved.

The decision comes after presentations from the FDA and company representatives evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a booster dose.

Johnson & Johnson officials said their vaccine provides protection against severe disease, but an additional dose would raise that level of protection. FDA staff highlighted a recent study indicating the level of protection from Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine fell below the mRNA-based options.

The advisory panel’s recommendation is non-binding. The FDA is expected to make a booster recommendation in the coming days. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel will review booster information next week.

The CDC also will review the recommendation to allow booster doses for certain high-risk groups who received the Moderna vaccine.

In addition, the FDA panel reviewed results from a study from the National Institutes of Health evaluating the safety of a so-called mix-and-match approach for booster doses. The advisory panel did not make a formal recommendation, but expressed a desire to be agile to respond to pandemic.

HAP will continue to provide COVID-19 vaccine updates to members and the general public.

A replay and presentations from today’s meeting are available online.