Gov. Wolf Approves $25 Million for EMS Workers Hardest Hit by Pandemic
February 10, 2022
Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Senate Bill 739, which appropriates $25 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to support Pennsylvania’s emergency management services (EMS) companies.
“A month ago, my administration convened a working group including all four caucuses to identify immediate investments to support the health care workforce in Pennsylvania,” said Gov. Wolf. “This legislation was the outstanding piece of the puzzle needed to ensure Pennsylvanians can continue to receive quality care for emergency health issues and life-saving procedures. I am proud to sign this bipartisan legislation into law featuring work from both Democrats and Republicans to get this funding to our heroic health care workers.”
Senate Bill 739 is a continuation of the multi-layered approach the Wolf Administration is taking to address and mitigate the current crisis in Pennsylvania, including the signing of House Bill 253, which appropriated $225 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to support the health care workers hardest hit by the pandemic’s most recent spike in hospitalizations. The previously announced funding is set to support health care workers by directing funding specifically for recruitment and retention payments to staff in the following areas:
- $100 million to all acute care, critical access, and children’s hospitals licensed by the Department of Health on a per-bed basis.
- $110 million to high-Medical Assistance hospitals, designated Critical Access Hospitals, and inpatient residential behavioral health facilities.
- $15 million to quadruple funds available for the nurse loan forgiveness program at Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
“It is no secret that our health care workers and emergency responders have shouldered great burdens throughout the pandemic,” said Gov. Wolf. “They rightfully deserve this support after the care and support they have provided our loved ones and neighbors. Sadly, we know they aren’t the only Pennsylvanians suffering. I, again, call on members of the General Assembly to continue appropriating necessary funds to deserving Pennsylvanians like our seniors, families with small children, small businesses. The commonwealth’s financial house is in order, so we must support our fellow Pennsylvanians.”
In addition to the funding to support Pennsylvania’s EMS companies, Senate Bill 739 implements the May 18 ballot question permitting municipal and paid fire and EMS companies to participate in the Emergency Services Loan Assistance Program as approved by Pennsylvania voters. Historically, that program was limited to volunteer companies.