HARRISBURG — Rep. Kathy L. Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest), Republican chair of the House Health Committee, voted against legislation that could hurt Pennsylvania hospitals’ ability to care for patients.
House Bill 106
passed on a party-line vote in the House Health Committee this morning. It would mandate nurse staffing ratios in hospitals across the Commonwealth. The committee also voted along party lines to amend the bill. Now if hospitals fail to meet these ratios, they will be subject to unlimited fines from the Department of Health for each violation. Too many fines could eventually lead to hospitals losing their licenses.
“Forcing nurse staffing mandates on our hospitals will not change the fact that we are mired in a nationwide nursing shortage,” Rapp said. “Health systems want fully staffed nursing teams, but there simply aren’t enough of them to go around. This mandate doesn’t account for this reality. In order to avoid losing their license, I fear hospitals would have no choice but to close beds or stop offering certain specialty services altogether to ensure they meet these strict nurse staffing requirements.”
The House Health Committee also reported out legislation to help families navigate the financial realities of admitting a loved one to a nursing home. House Bill 754
, sponsored by fellow House Health Committee member Rep. Tim Bonner (R-Butler/Mercer), would provide a standard notice to each nursing home resident and their designated representatives at the time of their admission into a nursing home facility that they have the option of having legal representation to assist with the application for Medicaid benefits.
“Unlike House Bill 106, this is the type of common sense legislation this committee should be producing,” Rapp said. “Medicaid eligibility rules are extremely complex. Every Pennsylvanian should know help is available to pay the high costs for skilled nursing home care.”
In addition to these two bills, the House Health Committee reported out two resolutions. House Resolution 123
would recognize June 29, 2023, as "World Scleroderma Day" in Pennsylvania.
House Resolution 124
would designate July 22, 2023, as "Hemihyperplasia Awareness Day" in Pennsylvania.
House Bills 106 and 754 and House Resolutions 123 and 124 now head to the full House for consideration.
Representative Kathy Rapp
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jake Gillespie