Hospital Funding, Programs, Local Jobs Protected in State Budget

POTTSVILLE – Senator David G. Argall (R-29) and Representative Jerry Knowles (R-124) stood with various healthcare professionals this afternoon in the board room of the Schuylkill Medical Center to discuss the recently passed state budget.

Senator Argall and Representative Jerry Knowles (R-124) discuss hospital funding in the recently passed state budget with healthcare professionals. PHOTO: (L to R) Geoffrey Roche, Community/Government Relations Coordinator, Pocono Medical Center on behalf of Kathleen E. Kuck, President and CEO, Pocono Medical Center; John Simodejka, President/CEO, Schuylkill Health System; Senator Argall; Bill Moyer, President, St. Luke’s Hospital – Miners Campus; and Representative Jerry Knowles.

Included in the recently-approved Fiscal Year 2012-2013 state budget are protections for local hospitals to ensure funding is maintained for important health and human service programs, as well as family-sustaining jobs. Senator Argall pointed to the Senate’s efforts to restore $12.5 million for hospitals across Pennsylvania. Representing Schuylkill County’s largest employer with approximately 1,500 employees, John Simodejka, President and CEO of Schuylkill Health System, said these much-needed funds will protect mothers and newborns. “Our goal is to provide the right care, at the right time, in the right setting,” said Simodejka. “Budget support for safety-net health-care services ensures the most vulnerable among us — newborns and the elderly; people with disabilities, mental illnesses, and addictions— have access to needed treatment. Many times hospitals are the only provider of these services in a community. I thank Senator Argall for his work on behalf of our patients and Schuylkill Health System.” St. Luke’s Hospital – Miners Campus President Bill Moyer agreed that protecting these vital funds have a positive impact on the local economy. “As a non-profit organization, St. Luke’s Miners recently added oncology, cardiology, orthopedics and other specialists to provide specialized care for our local community while still providing more than $3.7 million in charity care, which far exceeds our income from operations,” said Moyer. “Restoring funding for our local hospitals is so important because more and more patients are increasingly counting on their area hospitals to provide specialized services. I know we are here to talk about funding but what this is really about is the great people of the communities we serve, many of which have transportation challenges and count on their local hospitals to provide great care close to home. The funding restorations will help St. Luke’s and other hospitals continue our mission to provide high quality services regardless of their patient’s ability to pay.” Pocono Medical Center’s Geoffrey Roche, who serves as Community/Government Relations Coordinator, spoke on behalf of President and CEO Kathleen E. Kuck, stated that the budget allows hospitals to address needs of the communities they serve. “I would like to take this time to thank Senator Dave Argall, our entire State House and State Senate delegation, and the Governor for protecting critical hospital funding during the passage of the 2012-2013 state budget,” said Roche. “This budget will allow us to continue to meet the health care needs of our community, maintain jobs, and regional economic stability. We are particularly appreciative of the successful efforts to restore the Normal Newborn Payment so we can continue to serve the mothers and children of our region. We will continue to work closely with Senator Argall and his colleagues at both the state and federal level and The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania as we seek to build a healthier community.” Argall focused his efforts, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, on restoring $3.5 million for various supplement payment programs, including burn centers, critical care hospitals, OB/neonatal hospitals and trauma centers after hearing concerns from local hospitals. “This year’s budget was another difficult one where we really had to tighten our belts,” said Argall. “Everyone realizes the important role our hospitals provide to our local communities. I am thankful that we could protect these necessary programs and good-paying jobs at our local hospitals. Pennsylvania’s hospitals are a stable job sector in uncertain economic times. Hospitals account for nearly 600,000 jobs, and have an economic impact of nearly $100 billion a year.” Representative Knowles noted the important role hospitals play is a reason for protecting funding, even in tough economic times. “While holding the line on taxes and controlling spending was a most important part of this budget, we also needed to keep in mind the assistance government provides in funding core and essential services,” said Knowles. “Because of the important role small town hospitals play in our lives, we need to do whatever is possible to assist them as they provide necessary health care.” Senate Bill 1466, the state budget, passed with bipartisan support in the House and Senate and was signed on-time by Governor Corbett on June 30.   Contact: Jon Hopcraft (717) 787-2637 (570) 773-0891

Back to Top