Pennsylvania is Awarded for Performance Under the National Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
HARRISBURG (PRNewswire-USNewswire) -- Today, Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera announced that Pennsylvania has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) for its tenth consecutive year in compliance and performance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B.
"It is an honor for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be recognized for ten years of dedicated service to some of our most vulnerable populations. I am proud of the work we are collectively doing and I applaud our educators, administrators, and staff for their commitment to excellence in providing a high-quality education to our students," said Secretary Rivera.
As one of seven of the biggest states in the country, Pennsylvania alone has been the only participator in compliance with USDE's standards for IDEA, Part B. In addition, this federal distinction was given to the commonwealth for programs that serve both school-aged children from ages three to 21, and children under the age of two.
As on-going efforts continue to improve education standards for the nation's seven million children with disabilities, IDEA was amended in 2004 to expand state efforts and encourage accountability. IDEA now requires individual states to develop a performance plan and an annual performance report that evaluates the state's continuous efforts to implement IDEA.
Pennsylvania was evaluated by USDE from data collected and considered from the commonwealth's performance plan, annual performance report, student participation on statewide assessments, and participation data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The commonwealth has achieved satisfactory reports and is not required to be part of any federal assistance or improvement plan.
"I look forward to continuing our efforts to improve scholastic results and support systems for students with disabilities," said Secretary Rivera. "I am proud that the commonwealth is being recognized for its efforts to provide equal opportunities to all students."
SOURCE: Pennsylvania Department of Education
Photo credit: Megan Soule
Today, Governor Tom Wolf released the following statement on his intention to allow House Bill 218 to become law without his signature:
“In February, I proposed a budget that balanced by implementing more than $2 billion in cuts, savings, and efficiencies and closing $1 billion in loopholes. For the past several months, Democrats and Republicans have had a robust conversation about our fiscal challenges. We worked in a bipartisan way to reform our pension system to protect taxpayers and employees, and set the commonwealth on a more responsible fiscal path.
“Working with both parties in the legislature, we passed a general appropriations bill that streamlined government by making more than $2 billion in cuts, invested more money in education at all levels, and continued our efforts to fight the heroin crisis.
“This budget invests $175 million in our schools, helps Pennsylvanians who need it the most like those with intellectual disabilities, and invests in key programs to create manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania, while allowing the commonwealth to team up with businesses and institutions of higher learning to create jobs and a strong workforce.
“And today, I am going to let this general appropriations bill become law without my signature in the hope that we can continue to work together on a sustainable budget solution that sets Pennsylvania on the right path.
“Just last week, we received a warning that if we did not do the hard work to balance our budget, Pennsylvania’s credit would be downgraded. This independent call to action made it clear we must avoid gimmicks to protect from a downgrade, as we have been able to do since I took office.
“As with pensions, many of the people currently in Harrisburg did not create this problem, but we must face this challenge and address it in a responsible way.
“In the coming days, it is my hope that the General Assembly will come together to pass a responsible solution to balance our books. There are many options available to balance the budget in the long-term like those I presented earlier this year. Our creditors and the people of Pennsylvania understand a responsible resolution must take real and necessary steps to improve Pennsylvania’s fiscal future.”
Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Issues Statement on Sen. Toomey's Support for Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a Replacement
Action would endanger millions of Pennsylvanians' health
HARRISBURG (PRNewswire-USNewswire) -- Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller today said Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Pat Toomey's comment supporting repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement health care plan in place puts the health care of millions of Pennsylvanians in jeopardy.
"Senator Toomey's comment to Fox Business News Friday that he supports repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without legislation to replace this vital lifeline is irresponsible and frightening. Sen. Toomey glibly assumes Congress will come up with a replacement health plan to provide coverage for his constituents by whatever arbitrary deadline is set, but in doing so, he ignores his own history and his constituents' well-being" Commissioner Miller said.
"Sen. Toomey's support for doing away with the ACA without a replacement is putting in jeopardy the health coverage 1.1 million Pennsylvanians now have through the individual market, and Gov. Wolf's expanded Medicaid program. If the ACA simply goes away, so does expanded Medicaid, and the vital health care access it provides to 700,000 Pennsylvanians.
"This includes Anna, from York County, who recently told me her story of having two children with severe, chronic health conditions, and for whom expanded Medicaid provides a vital lifeline Her family has insurance, but the costs of continuing care for their children, even with private coverage, was forcing Anna's family to choose between paying their monthly utility bills, and buying needed medicine for their children. Under expanded Medicaid, Anna's family can now pay their monthly bills on time."
Approximately 426,000 Pennsylvanians selected a plan for 2017 through the healthcare.gov exchange, with nearly 80 percent of these individuals getting subsidies to help pay their monthly premiums, and roughly 55 percent, those with lower incomes, receiving cost-sharing reductions to help pay deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance. All of these subsidies and cost-sharing reduction payments would cease if the ACA ends, leaving health insurance unaffordable for most of these people.
"Even people with employer-sponsored coverage would be dramatically affected if the ACA simply ends, as this would also mean the end to mandated coverage of preventive services by their federally regulated plans," Miller said. "These services include colonoscopies, annual screening mammograms, well-baby and well-child visits, among others. In addition, many employer-sponsored plans could revert to having annual and lifetime benefits limits, allowed before the ACA, which would mean huge out-of-pocket costs for people who hit those limits. These are often people with chronic conditions or expensive-to-treat diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
"The ACA helps many families with employer-sponsored and individual coverage by allowing adult children to remain on these plans through age 26. These young adults may be completing their education, working part time, or in entry level jobs that don't provide benefits, and this provision of the law gives them time to get their careers started and to begin paying down other expenses, such as student loans, without worrying about paying for health insurance.
"Another important provision of the ACA is the ban on excluding pre-existing conditions from coverage. Prior to the ACA, many plans would not cover pre-existing conditions, or would only cover them after a waiting period, or they forced those with pre-existing conditions into extremely expensive plans.
"Sen. Toomey needs to speak with Carl, from Cumberland County, who before the ACA, lost his insurance because a pre-existing condition spiked his premium from $400 to $3,400 a month in two years, forcing him to drop coverage and face potential financial ruin. Under the ACA, Carl, age 62, got affordable coverage because his pre-existing condition could not be excluded and could not affect his premium rate."
Miller noted that before the ACA many policies considered pregnancy to be a pre-existing condition, and maternity care was often not included in policies.
"Placing a deadline before Congress and expecting its members to act by that deadline is far from a guarantee they will do so," Miller said. "In 2013, Sen. Toomey was part of a group in Congress known as the "super committee" that was supposed to come up with a budget plan to avoid what is known as "sequestration," or deep budget cuts to both domestic and military spending. The conventional wisdom was this deadline would force Congress to act to avoid this option. However, Sen. Toomey and his colleagues failed to come up with a plan that was even voted on and these budget cuts went into effect.
"Pennsylvanians need to keep this history in mind, and not allow their health care to be put in jeopardy with a vague promise that Congress will come up with something before an arbitrary deadline returns health insurance to the very consumer un-friendly situation that existed prior to the Affordable Care Act."
She also noted Sen. Toomey was among 13 GOP senators who crafted the current Senate health care replacement proposal in secret. This plan, which has not come to a vote, would result in 22 million Americans losing coverage, keep the age tax to penalize older people needing coverage and would drastically cut subsidies and increase out-of-pocket costs.
SOURCE: Pennsylvania Department of Insurance
Karen Murphy, RN, PhD, Secretary of Health in Pennsylvania, has been named Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer and Founding Director of the Steele Institute for Healthcare Innovation at Geisinger. She will begin her new duties in September.
“Secretary Murphy has worked throughout her career to develop innovative ways to improve health and transform health care delivery, which fits perfectly with Geisinger’s emphasis on caring and putting our patients at the center of everything we do” said David Feinberg, M.D., MBA, Geisinger President and Chief Executive Officer. “She is a proven health care executive with a history of leading complex organizations and initiatives in both the public and private sectors, and we welcome her to the Geisinger family.”
Prior to becoming Secretary of Health, Dr. Murphy served as Director of the State Innovation Models Initiative, a $900 million Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services investment designed to accelerate health care innovation across the United States. She previously served in various administrative roles including President and Chief Executive Officer of the Moses Taylor Health Care System in Scranton, as well as founder and Chief Executive Officer of Physicians Health Alliance, Inc., an integrated medical group practice within Moses Taylor.
Secretary Murphy earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Business Adminstration from the Temple University Fox School of Business, Master of Business Administration from Marywood University, Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from the University of Scranton, and a diploma in nursing from the Scranton State Hospital School of Nursing. An author and national speaker on health policy and health care innovation, Secretary Murphy also serves as a clinical faculty member in the medicine department at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.
“Geisinger is a nationally recognized and respected health care organization, and I am excited to become a member of its leadership team,” said Secretary Murphy. “It has been my honor to serve in the Wolf Administration as Secretary of Health, and I welcome this new opportunity to continue making a positive difference in my new role at Geisinger.”
“Secretary Murphy is a leader in public health and health administration and has been a valuable member of my administration,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “Among her many accomplishments are her significant contributions to our efforts to address the most important health issues facing Pennsylvania and her key role in my administration’s fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic. I know I speak for everyone in my administration when I say she will be missed, and we wish her well as she advances into her next career opportunity with Geisinger.”
Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record and the development of innovative care delivery models such as ProvenHealth Navigator®, ProvenCare® and ProvenExperience®. As one of the nation’s largest health service organizations, Geisinger serves more than 3 million residents throughout 45 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania, and also in southern New Jersey at AtlantiCare, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. In 2017, the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine became the newest member of the Geisinger Family. The physician-led system is comprised of approximately 30,000 employees, including nearly 1,600 employed physicians, 12 hospital campuses, two research centers, and a 551,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $10.5 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Geisinger has repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service.
For more information, visit www.geisinger.org.
Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern PA to be featured on PA Independent Living Radio Show during Epilepsy Awareness Month
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month, and Friday, November 20, 12:00 to 1:00 PM, Mary Loughlin, Northeast Resource Coordinator, and Daniel Dougherty, Patient Educator, with Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania (EFEPA) will join PA Independent Living online radio show host Karla Porter, to talk about living with epilepsy, available services, and the work of EFEPA.
Mary Loughlin started to volunteer for the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern PA in 2000 while actively looking for help & resources for her son, Michael, who had just been diagnosed with epilepsy. Retiring after 32 years with Verizon as a Technician she stepped up her volunteer time and eventually became the Wyoming Valley Coordinator in 2004.
Dan Dougherty resides in Glenside, and is a graduate of Cheltenham High School in Wyncote. He has lived with epilepsy for more than 30 years. Dan is a volunteer Epilepsy Advocate with the Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern PA. Dan has honed his public speaking skills through being an active member of Toastmasters, and was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow in 2014, by the Glenside Rotary for his work in epilepsy awareness.
PA Independent Living Radio Show is streamed live Fridays at 12:00 pm EST by The Arc of Luzerne County.
Click here to visit PA Independent Living Radio Show.