Pennsylvania State Budget, Pennsylvania Primary Care Practitioner Program Updates

The Senate returned to Harrisburg to pass Fiscal Code legislation providing authorization for several appropriations in the enacted 2023-24 Fiscal Year budget, as well as program implementation language across numerous state agencies. Notably, the Senate passed two separate Fiscal Code bills: HB 1300 and SB 757. The text of HB 1300 largely follows the standard format and content of previous Fiscal Code legislation, with program implementation and authorization language across a broad swath of agencies, including those in the health and human services space. Notable aspects of the bill include the Pennsylvania Primary Care Practitioner Program. In the budget bill signed by Governor Shapiro, HB 611, there is $8,350,000 allocated for the Pennsylvania Primary Care Practitioner Program, an 18% increase over last year’s allocation. HB 1300 provides details on how the funds are to be allocated and is awaiting passage in the state House of Representatives. Per the drafted code bill, the funds are to be distributed as follows: a minimum of $3.45 million for loan repayments, $1.5 million for the PA Academy of Family Physicians Residency Program, $1.3 million for the PA Academy of Family Physicians Family Medicine Residency Community Health Impact Grants, and $2.1 million to be shared by the other existing grantees. With passage in the Senate, both bills move to the House for consideration and action. It is unlikely that the House will return to session before September 26 to act on these or any other legislative items with the chamber deadlocked at 101-101, pending the outcome of a special election. As stated above, the Fiscal Code legislation passed by the Senate has significant disparities and omissions in policy that will need to be rectified with the House.