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News for Immediate Release

January 11, 2024

Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), in collaboration with The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), has released a new report examining how the coronavirus pandemic affected and changed Pennsylvania and its health care system.

The report, COVID-19, The Impact on Health Care in Pennsylvania, details the toll that COVID-19 has taken on Pennsylvanians and their communities as well as the financial impact on the Commonwealths’ hospitals.

“PHC4 hopes this statistical representation of the coronavirus pandemic found in this summary gives stakeholders the opportunity to learn from this experience,” said PHC4 Executive Director Barry D. Buckingham.

The report also examines how Pennsylvania hospitals responded to the pandemic and the challenges they continue to experience.

“Throughout the pandemic, Pennsylvania hospitals stepped up as leaders to care for and protect their communities,” HAP President and CEO Nicole Stallings said. “In its wake, hospitals continue to navigate persistent challenges, including a health care workforce shortage and threats to financial stability.”

Among the key findings are:

  • The overall hospitalization rate was 196.7 COVID-19 hospitalizations per 10,000 Pennsylvania residents from March 2020 through December 2022. Rates were statistically higher for older residents, especially ages 45 and older, male residents, black (non-Hispanic) residents, and residents living in areas where 10% or more of the population lives in poverty.
  • Of the $8.1 billion total COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue reported by Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems through December 2022 (Jan 2020 – Dec 2022), costs related to COVID-19 staffing amounted to $1.3 billion—the largest expense reported.
  • The coronavirus pandemic intensified workforce shortages throughout the health care sector with hospitals reporting average statewide vacancy rates of more than 30% at the end of 2022 for key clinical positions, including registered nurses, nursing support staff, and medical assistants.

For more information, visit or view the report page here.

PHC4 is an independent state agency formed under Pennsylvania statute (Act 89 of 1986, as amended by Act 15 of 2020) in order to address rapidly growing health care costs. The Council continues to produce comparative information about the most efficient and effective health care to individual consumers and group purchasers of health services. In addition, PHC4 produces information used to identify opportunities to contain costs and improve the quality of care delivered. For more information, visit

HAP is a statewide membership services organization that represents more than 230 hospitals and health systems as well as the patients and communities they serve. Additional information about HAP is available at

Media contacts:

Barry D. Buckingham, Executive Director, PHC4 | [email protected]

Chris Daley, Vice President, Strategic Communications, HAP 717-561-5378 | [email protected]

225 Market Street, Suite 400
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: (717) 232-6787
Fax: (717) 232-3821