Welby, Kosierowski announce nearly $3 million to support local health care workers

SCRANTON, March 29 – State Reps. Thom Welby and Bridget M. Kosierowski, both D-Lackawanna, announced that funding totaling $2.97 million from the American Rescue Plan Act will be utilized to support the health care workforce needs of three hospitals in Lackawanna County.

“Health care workers have been at the front lines fighting the pandemic for over two years and unfortunately, many health care facilities are struggling to keep these heroes on the workforce while these facilities remain at or exceeding capacity for patients,” Welby said. “This funding, which I was pleased to support and vote for, will allow these health care centers to recruit the critical personnel they need to serve our community.”

Kosierowski added, "The need for qualified nurses to take care of those who need care is a critical problem that has only been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. I am pleased to see this funding will be used to help solve understaffing and overworking issues these professionals face on a daily basis." 

According to Welby, the following health care centers in Lackawanna County are receiving funding:

  • Geisinger Community Medical Center - $1,730,169.
  • Moses Taylor Hospital - $720,412.
  • Regional Hospital of Scranton - $520,644.

Welby said the funding is part of Act 2 of 2022, and provides $225 million to support the following health care areas: 

  • $100 million to acute care, critical access, and children’s hospitals licensed by the Department of Health on a per-bed basis. The funding will be used strictly for recruitment and retention payments to direct care staff. 
  • $110 million on a per-bed basis to high-Medical Assistance hospitals, designated Critical Access Hospitals, and inpatient and residential behavioral health facilities for recruitment and retention payments to key staff. 
  • $15 million to quadruple the funds available for the nurse loan forgiveness program at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, a high-demand program which had already received more than 20,000 applications by the March 1 deadline.

Further details on hospitals and facilities receiving allocations are available on the Department of Human Services website: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/coronavirus/Documents/Act-2-of-2022-Payments_032322.pdf.