HARRISBURG —Joined by more than 50 of her House Republican colleagues, House Majority Health Committee Chair Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest) sent the following letter to Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine:
“Please accept this letter as a formal request from the undersigned members for the Department of Health to establish a protocol for our hospitals and health care systems to immediately begin performing elective surgical procedures in those counties who have not had a significant impact of the coronavirus resulting in COVID-19.
“As you are aware, many of our hospitals and health systems operate on razor thin margins to remain financially viable. According to recent information from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the current ban on pre-scheduled, medically necessary surgical procedures is costing the Commonwealth almost a billion dollars every month.This seems incongruent with the prior standard of the Department of Health in providing numerous opportunities for hospitals and health care systems to become financially stable.
“According to your April 20, 2020, statistics, almost 25 counties have less than 20 cases in the county and a total of two deaths across all 25 of those counties. Many counties have no deaths, yet they are treated the same as counties that have hundreds of cases diagnosed daily.This is illogical.
“With no rush of coronavirus patients and almost no hospitalizations for COVID-19, it makes little sense to continue the ban on elective surgical procedures that may not be urgent but are necessary for these patients. These elective procedures would bring in much-needed revenue to the hospitals and allow for the use of their facilities for non-COVlD-19 procedures.
“Hospital and health care practitioners are perfectly situated to provide these services in a safe and effective manner. This would not stress the system and would provide needed relief to the health care providers who are facing furlough due to a reduction in their work. I know this is not the case in all hospitals in the Commonwealth, but each hospital should be analyzed individually and not with these sweeping orders that lack a basis in reality when it comes to numerous regions of the Commonwealth.
“I appreciate your prompt consideration of these matters. Our hospitals and health care systems will soon face closure without much-needed revenue. The General Assembly has already acted to bring needed financial relief to hospitals and health care workers. It is now time to allow them to continue to operate in a deliberate manner.
“I look forward to working with you on the financial viability of all hospitals and health care systems of the Commonwealth.”
Representative Kathy Rapp
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin