Harrisburg, Pa. − January 26, 2022 − On Tuesday January 25, 2022, Senator Maria Collett (D-12 Montgomery/Bucks) made powerful remarks in support of HB 253, which has since passed. Earlier that day, HB 253 was amended in the Senate Appropriations Committee to allocate $225 million of American Rescue Plan dollars to health care workforce supports, including $15 million of additional funding for PHEAA’s Student Loan Relief for Nurses (SLRN) program.
In her remarks, Senator Collett emphasized the importance of and barriers to keeping Pennsylvania’s health care workers in the field: “During the pandemic, we’ve seen a mass exodus of health care workers retiring early, moving away from clinical and bedside settings and flat-out leaving the field because of the added physical risks and mental strain put on them during COVID, not to mention the added risk to their patients caused by chronic short staffing. Our nurses and direct care workers have done a phenomenal, and frankly awe-inspiring, job of responding to an ongoing pandemic with limited resources which makes them the heroes that they are. But words only go so far when it comes to showing our health care workers that they are needed and valued.”
Today, Gov. Wolf, Sen. Collett and leaders of the legislature joined together to celebrate the passage of the legislation. Sen. Collett noted: “The swift vote on this legislation is evidence that Harrisburg can work together in a bi-partisan fashion when we focus on the real and urgent issues facing Pennsylvanians and their pocketbooks. I have urged my colleagues to join me to push our legislative leaders and the administration for even more funding to support programs like SLRN that will attract and keep health care workers – and other essential workers – on the job. I am hopeful that this is just the beginning.”
HB 253 passed the Senate and House unanimously. Sen. Collett joined Gov. Wolf and other legislators to celebrate the bill’s passage. The Governor is expected to sign the bill later today.