HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, expressed satisfaction that many health care consumers in Lawrence County will enjoy uninterrupted coverage thanks to a UPMC-Highmark deal that will provide Highmark customers access to all UPMC doctors and facilities for the next 10 years. “This agreement represents a huge victory to thousands of Pennsylvania’s health care consumers, who no longer have to live in fear that they are days away from losing access to their trusted, chosen doctors,” Sainato said. “I want to commend UPMC for stepping up to the plate and recognizing its responsibility as a charitable institution holding a special position of trust with the state’s consumers. I also want to applaud UPMC and Highmark for working together to prevent a rift that could have had lasting repercussions for millions of Pennsylvanians. “We have been working for a long time to encourage these two corporate giants to come together for the good of Pennsylvania’s patients. Thanks to their efforts – and the efforts of the attorney general in encouraging them to come to the table – we have a partnership that will provide Pennsylvanians ongoing access to the quality care they need and deserve. It’s a huge step for the residents of Lawrence County and health care consumers all over western Pennsylvania.” Sainato added that additional details have yet to be released and suggested residents Read more
HARRISBURG, June 24 – Combatting fraudulent pyramid schemes that target innocent consumers is the goal of a bill the House passed unanimously today, according to the bill’s author, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny. House Bill 1534 would update and clarify the state’s existing anti-pyramid law by highlighting the difference between legitimate direct selling companies and fraudulent pyramid schemes. “Pennsylvania’s consumers need the best possible protection from fly-by-night operations that attempt to target innocent members of the public,” Matzie said. “To provide that protection, we need to ensure that outdated language in our anti-pyramid scheme law is brought up to date. “My bill would update the law and provide the necessary teeth to bolster law enforcement’s prosecution of bad actors. At the same time, it would provide much-needed clarity that would guide legitimate direct-selling companies as to what constitutes acceptable business practices. I’m encouraged that the House unanimously passed my bill, which is a great first step toward protecting the state’s consumers.” Matzie, the Democratic chairman of the House Consumer Affairs Committee, noted that the new law would encourage companies to adopt two important consumer protections common in the direct-selling industry: an anti-inventory loading provision that would discourage companies from saddling individual direct sellers with Read more
HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Brandon Markosek, D-Allegheny, on Monday released a statement following the announcement that UPMC and Highmark have entered into a 10-year contract that will extend UPMC facilities to Highmark-insured patients: “It’s with great pleasure that I announce that UPMC and Highmark have come to an agreement that will finally put an end to their longstanding dispute. Residents who would have been affected by this – had the decree expired – can now rest easy knowing they have access to one-of-a-kind medical services, regardless of the insurance listed on their insurance cards. “I’d also like to thank state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Governor Tom Wolf for bringing both parties together so that a deal that would provide western Pennsylvanians with the heath care they deserve could be made. “While details regarding this contract will come with time, it’s my hope that this 10-year contract will eventually transition into a long-term contract so that residents never again have to undergo the anguish this dispute has put them through. “Most importantly, I want to remind residents that since the contract has yet to be formalized, please contact your health insurer before making any important health care decisions.” Read more
HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, has released the following statement regarding the announcement of a contract extension between UPMC and Highmark, which will extend UPMC facility access to Highmark-insured patients for a period of 10 years. The original contract between UPMC and Highmark was scheduled to expire on Sunday, June 30. “Today’s announcement that Highmark and UPMC have reached an agreement is great and will, without a doubt, ease the concerns of many families in my district,” Burns said. “It’s shameful to make people jump through hoops when all they really want is access to quality health care. It shouldn’t matter what is on their insurance card.” Read more
HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, has released the following statement regarding the announcement of a contract extension between UPMC and Highmark, which will extend UPMC facility access to Highmark-insured patients. “First off, I want to thank state Attorney General Josh Shapiro for his hard work to ensure health care access for all Pennsylvanians. I am pleased to learn of the new contract extension between UPMC and Highmark, which will extend UPMC facility access to Highmark-insured patients in western Pennsylvania for 10 years. Today’s announcement eases the concerns and anxieties of thousands of Pennsylvanians, who were left wondering about their health care access, as well as the coordination and management of that care, including those who are undergoing significant medical treatment. They can breathe a much-needed sigh of relief. “Moving forward, I still believe that much more needs to be done to protect consumers, and I will continue to advocate for legislation to require charity hospital-insurance company hybrids to behave in the public interest and stop from taking advantage of sick and vulnerable Pennsylvanians. “I hope that over the next 10 years that these non-profits will do the right thing. As a public charity, these entities should be focused less on profits and more about patient care. “Let me be clear – while this is certainly great news, keep in mind that Read more
PITTSBURGH, June 24 – Today, state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding the end of the UPMC/Highmark dispute. “Today UPMC and Highmark did the right thing and agreed to a new 10-year deal that will ensure the people of western Pennsylvania will continue to be able to access the doctors and healthcare providers they choose. “As I said earlier this year, it is critical that patients and family members be able to continue to access the doctors and healthcare providers they know and trust, and I am pleased to see that we have obtained that outcome. “This agreement should settle many of the fears and concerns that patients and their families have felt over the last several months. They and the community organizers and activists who stood with them to raise awareness of this issue should be commended, as should those on Attorney General Josh Shaprio’s team who negotiated on their behalf. “While this agreement is a good, new beginning, we as a legislature must address the underlying problems that allowed this situation to develop. We must continue to work to ensure that all Pennsylvanians, regardless of their health insurer are able to access high quality, affordable healthcare.” Read more
HARRISBURG, June 24 – Calling the announcement of a 10-year contract between UPMC and Highmark great news for the state’s health care consumers, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, issued the following statement: “Today’s announcement that UPMC and Highmark have entered into a decade-long agreement to make all UPMC facilities and doctors available to all Highmark customers is tremendous news for the people of western Pennsylvania. “Our residents have been living under the threat of losing access to their trusted care providers, and with the clock ticking on expiration of the UPMC-Highmark consent decree, there was much at stake. I’m relieved that UPMC has decided to step up to the plate and do the right thing, and I applaud both UPMC and Highmark for crafting a solution that makes Pennsylvania’s consumers the big winners. "Thanks to their efforts and the efforts of the attorney general in bringing everyone to the table, Pennsylvanians can look forward to a decade of care with their chosen providers, free from worry over whether that care will be covered. “There will undoubtedly be more details to come, so I’d encourage everyone to check with their insurer with any questions or concerns regarding their coverage and this agreement.” Read more
HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, today released a statement following the announcement that UPMC and Highmark have entered into a 10-year contract that will extend facilities to Highmark-insured patients: “As Democratic Chairman of the House Insurance Committee, I am proud to announce a 10-year deal between UPMC and Highmark that was orchestrated by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Governor Tom Wolf. “I have also worked tirelessly, holding hearings in Pittsburgh, introducing legislation, and speaking out publicly to put pressure on UPMC to come to their senses and contract with Highmark for the good of our region and its residents. “Today, it all finally came together, and we should all be grateful to the attorney general and Governor Wolf for finally closing the deal. It has been a long eight years for the people of western Pennsylvania and, finally today, we can breathe a sigh of relief moving forward. “However, I’d like to note that while this is excellent news, contracts have yet to be worked out, so the details are still to come. Please contact your health insurer before making any important health care decisions.” Read more
HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins, and Bob Merski, all D-Erie, lauded today’s news that UPMC and Highmark have entered into a 10-year contract, beginning July 1, that will provide Highmark customers continued access to all UPMC doctors and facilities. “News of this agreement to preserve Highmark customers’ access to UPMC doctors and facilities for the next decade comes as a tremendous relief to the millions of Pennsylvanians who were living under the specter of losing access to the trusted relationships they had formed with chosen providers,” said Bizzarro. “As lawmakers, we were prepared to do whatever was necessary – including crafting a legislative solution – to preserve those relationships, but thanks to the efforts of both sides and work of the attorney general in helping to bring them together, Pennsylvanians won’t have to worry and wonder any longer because the promise of continued care has been restored.” Harkins agreed, saying, “Today’s agreement comes as the best possible news for the people of western Pennsylvania. The possibility of Erie residents losing access to their chosen care providers has been foremost on my mind since the clock began ticking on this consent decree nearly five years ago. I’ve received hundreds of calls and emails from constituents worried about how this was going to negatively impact health care options for themselves and their Read more
HARRISBURG, June 24 – A Latrobe-based manufacturing company will benefit from a state grant program that connects manufacturing companies and research institutions designed to spur economic growth and innovation, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced today. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said Kennemetal in Latrobe has established a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh through the Manufacturing PA fellowship program. The program embeds the state’s best and brightest undergraduate and graduate students with local manufacturers. Once paired, the students begin working on research projects to develop new technologies and advance innovation. Through the Manufacturing PA program, Carnegie Mellon University received $69,883 in state grants, while the University of Pittsburgh received a grant of $67,720. “These partnerships will spur strong, lasting relationships between academia and the business sector, positioning our commonwealth to be a leader in manufacturing,” Petrarca said. “The students will receive valuable career experience, and companies – like Kennemetal – will benefit from the students’ research in innovation and technology.” The 26 approved projects help advance innovation in several sectors of manufacturing, including energy, consumer goods and advanced medical. A total of 11 universities partnered with local manufacturing Read more
HARRISBURG, June 24 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody is crediting Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro with overcoming stiff resistance to get agreement by UPMC and Highmark to extend their current contractual relationship for an additional 10 years. “There was nothing easy about this but the governor and attorney general wouldn’t quit. Because of their persistence, health consumers across Pennsylvania can breathe a little easier,” Dermody said. Dermody, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, noted that House lawmakers held hearings on the issue and introduced legislation, including Dermody’s own bill (H.B. 734) to require a charitable, nonprofit healthcare provider to accept payment by any willing insurer. “Today’s announcement is great news and it’s proof that strong political leadership can make a positive difference in people’s lives,” Dermody said. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, released a statement following the announcement that UPMC and Highmark have entered into a 10-year contract. “I’m excited and relieved to hear of the new contract extension between UPMC and Highmark, which will extend UPMC facilities to Highmark-insured patients for 10 years. This is a historic contract, ending a longstanding dispute that for years left many worried about the future of health care coverage in the region. “Residents – especially western Pennsylvanians – can now breathe a sigh of relief, as they will no longer have to worry about being denied health care because of the name on their insurance card. “As Democratic vice chairman of the House Insurance Committee, I want to thank Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Governor Tom Wolf for their continued commitment to ensuring all Pennsylvanians have access to quality health care services. “Lastly, I’d like to note that while this is great news, contracts have yet to be worked out and details are yet to come, and this will take some time. I want to remind all health insurance card holders to call their insurer before making any important changes or decisions having to do with their health insurance policy,” Davis said. Read more
PITTSBURGH, June 24 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and the Democratic Chair of the House Health Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the new 10-year agreement between UPMC and Highmark: “I'm relieved that Pennsylvanians no longer have to worry about their health care being upended at the end of this month. I’ve been proud to stand alongside of our residents, many of whom are quite ill, and call for UPMC to comply with the standards of a purely public charity worthy of the tax exemptions, philanthropic dollars, and state support that helps build its facilities. “Attorney General Shapiro did an extraordinary job bringing these organizations together and facilitating a long-term solution that puts the public first. “Now that our patients are out of immediate danger and able to focus on their health and healing, UPMC can start the hard work of restoring trust with the public they serve, and the legislature can ensure that we never find ourselves in this mess again. “If UPMC is serious about restoring the confidence of our communities, it must prove that the organization’s moral compass points in the direction of the public good – proving they care about patients and community, not just profits. Otherwise, they should bring in new leadership who can rebuild confidence in the institution’s ability to respect its own workers, put patient care first, and ensure that the benefits they offer Read more
EBENSBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, will offer a state Transportation Department-approved class at the Mainline Senior Center that could earn participants a 5% automobile insurance discount for three years. Burns said the discount, mandated by state law, is one benefit of the $16 class, which is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 18. The other benefit from the class is that it helps sharpen awareness for older drivers. “My office has previously offered these classes and they’ve been well received and well attended,” Burns said. “Any time we can do something to help our seniors save money, while also providing them with ways to stay safer behind the wheel, we’ll do it.” The Mainline Senior Center is located at 715 Front St. in Cresson. This will be classroom instruction only; no on-the-road driving or classroom testing will occur. Burns said the course is geared toward mature drivers – those 55 or older – and provides them an opportunity to refresh driving techniques, regain lost confidence and develop a positive driving attitude. Lunch is also available for a donation to the senior center. Class size is limited; to register or for more information, please contact Burns’ Portage office at (814) 736-7339. Interested participants must provide their driver’s license number when registering. Registrations must be received no later than Read more
Daley plans to discuss her work as a state representative in Harrisburg and to take questions from attendees. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, congratulated two organizations from her district on receiving a portion of $708,354 in city grants for grassroots efforts to stem gun violence in Philadelphia. The two organizations, Community of Compassion and Muslims 4 Humanity, were among two dozen city-based organizations to receive the grants comprised of funding from city tax dollars and state grants, which McClinton was instrumental in securing from last year’s state budget. “Many members of these organizations live in the affected communities, are survivors, or have relatives or neighbors who have been affected by gun violence. They’ve collectively turned their frustrations, pain and fear into action, making them more invested in ensuring communities across Philadelphia are safe by combating the problem at the source, which stems from a myriad of issues, including poverty and lack of opportunities for our young people,” McClinton said. “I’ve always been an advocate for grassroots organizations and their efforts in curbing gun violence and it’s important that state government does its part in supporting and encouraging their mission, which is why I ensured funding was allocated for this purpose.” The individual award amounts range from $5,000 to $20,000 to support new and existing programs in neighborhoods impacted by violence to help prevent or reduce gun violence among youth and young Read more
State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., House Democratic Whip, released the following statement in response to this morning’s explosion at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery:“First and foremost, I’m relieved to hear that as of this point, officials believe there are no injuries in the explosion that ripped through the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery on Passyunk Avenue early today. The safety of the employees, first responders and citizens that live in South and Southwest Philadelphia is of the utmost importance. Read more
The state continued its investment into the workforce and economy of tomorrow with a series of grants that will strengthen partnerships between manufacturers and research institutions. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, June 21 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., welcomed The Food Trust’s Night Market Philadelphia for the first time to the Overbrook section of her district on Thursday. The event took place along Lancaster Avenue, between 61st and 63rd streets – lined with food trucks, vendors and live entertainment. “As a community partner of this event, I was excited to work with Overbrook West Neighborhoods to bring the Night Market Philadelphia to the 192nd Legislative District,” Cephas said. “It was a great opportunity for people to come together and enjoy plenty of food and entertainment. Night Market Overbrook also provided us with an opportunity to encourage civic engagement while promoting community and economic development. I look forward to the opportunity to welcome Night Market Philadelphia to the district in the future.” Cephas added Night Market Overbrook was made possible by several sponsors including first timers Mann Music Center, Please Touch Museum, Overbrook School for the Blind, The Friends of the Dell Music Center, West Philadelphia Financial Services Institute, Keystone First and Saint Joseph’s University, in addition to Green Mountain Energy, Xfinity, Penn Beer, Lankenau Medical Center, Together for West Philadelphia and Bath Fitter/Kitchen Saver. Entertainment included West Philadelphia’s own Joie Kathos, who headlined the event. The Food Trust’s Night Market event takes place in Read more
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