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.

KFF: Unvaccinated COVID-19 Patients Cost $5.7B in Avoidable Care

More than 280,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations could have been prevented from June through August

The preventable hospitalizations from unvaccinated COVID-19 patients rose to an estimated $3.7 billion during August, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

From June through August, there were 287,000 preventable hospitalizations among unvaccinated adults, resulting in $5.7 billion in avoidable care, the report said. The KFF researchers used estimated hospitalization costs and vaccine efficacy data to project the financial costs to the health care system from the unvaccinated.

The report highlighted the growing toll of the Delta variant and the need to encourage COVID-19 vaccination across the United States.

“These COVID-19 hospitalizations are devastating for patients, their families, and health care providers,” the report noted.

Among the key takeaways:

  • Rising hospital cases:  With the Delta variant, preventable hospitalizations among the unvaccinated rose from 32,000 during June to 187,000 during August
  • True costs:  The researchers note that $5.7 billion is likely an underestimate of the true cost burden from preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations, as it does not take into account the outpatient services unvaccinated patients may need
  • Vaccine advocacy:  Lagging COVID-19 vaccination rates put a strain on the health care system. About 65 percent of Americans and 67.2 percent of Pennsylvanians 18 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Improving COVID-19 vaccination rates will have a significant impact beyond health care costs by improving the nation’s public health, ensuring the safe re-opening of schools, supporting the pandemic’s economic recovery, the KFF researchers said.

HAP joins organizations across the country urging everyone who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated. This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health highlighted data from the commonwealth’s hospitals indicating that more than 94 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths were among the unvaccinated.

If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact your health care provider for more information. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine online.