HERSHEYNurses and other health care professionals testified before the PA House Majority Policy Committee that hospitals are at or over capacity, nurses are exhausted, and the staffers who haven’t already left are considering doing so. Short-staffed hospitals are paying exorbitant prices to travel nurse agencies engaged in price gouging, according to Michele Szkolnicki, chief nursing officer at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The committee gathered at the hangar for Penn State Health’s Life Lion helicopter to hear from leaders in nursing, hospital administration, home care, and nursing homes. “We have patients waiting hours and sometimes days for beds in inpatient settings,” said Margaret DiCuccio, chief nursing officer for Allegheny Health Network. Testifiers lamented the need for retention bonuses, increased pay for nursing faculty, expanded financial aid opportunities for students, and improved methods of recruiting nurses to rural hospitals. DiCuccio testified she has 1,100 open positions to fill for registered nurses. Dauphin County Rep. Tom Mehaffie spoke about his House Bill 106 which would establish safe patient limits under the care of a single nurse. Mehaffie hopes the initiative would minimize burnout among those in the nursing profession.