Jan. 27, 2022

LUZERNE – Recognizing the sacrifices local health care workers made while serving on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, state Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) today announced nearly $4 million in funding will be available to help Luzerne County hospitals and behavioral health centers recruit and retain nurses and other health care professionals.

“Our nurses and health care providers have been performing difficult work under extreme pressure and we want them to know their hard work is appreciated,” Kaufer said. “These health care professionals have worked under extremely difficult circumstances and they deserve the equivalent of combat pay.”

The funding for local hospitals and behavioral health care providers was made possible through legislation approved by the state House and Senate and signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.

The $225 million spending plan includes $210 million to provide recruitment and retention payments to nurses and other employees involved in direct patient care activities, environmental services or clinical care services. The plan calls for $100 million to be directed to all hospitals, while another $110 million goes to critical access hospitals, high Medicaid-use facilities and behavioral health providers. 

Local health care facilities will receive funding as follows:
Commonwealth Health First Hospital: $652,728.
Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center: $745,907.
Geisinger Wyoming Valley South Wilkes Barre Campus: $136,655.
Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton: $1,084,155.
The Bennet Home: $52,569.
The Nanticoke Home: $43,807.
Wilkes Barre General Hospital: $1,172,954.

“We want our local health care providers to be able to compete to attract and maintain the nurses and other health care workers our community needs to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kaufer said. “Ventilators, hospital beds and other equipment is useless if our local hospitals can’t hire or retain the talented professionals they need to treat patients.”

The plan also provides $15 million in funding for the nurse student loan forgiveness through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

Lawmakers are considering another bill to provide $25 million in funding to fire and emergency medical services providers. That measure is expected to be considered early next month. 

More information about Kaufer is available at RepKaufer.com and on Facebook at Facebook.com/RepKaufer

Representative Aaron Kaufer
120th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Stephen Miskin
RepKaufer.com / Facebook.com/RepKaufer