I am pleased to present my electronic newsletter. These e-newsletters enable me to provide information about issues, events and activities in Harrisburg and around the 47th Senatorial District to you in a timely manner while saving postage costs.
If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatoreldervogel.com for more information about your state government. If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the page.
Update on Jameson Health Developments
**The following is a press release issued by the Lawrence County legislative delegation regarding the situation that Jameson Health System finds itself in as it moves forward with a merger that is contingent on the approval of the Attorney General’s office. I feel it important that my constituents understand where this delegation stands in relation to the situation and that we have full confidence in Jameson’s Board of Directors in identifying a partner that will meet Lawrence County’s long-term health care needs.**
As Pennsylvania’s legislative delegation representing constituents throughout Lawrence County, it has been the responsibility and priority of Senator Elder Vogel, Rep. Chris Sainato, Rep. Jaret Gibbons and Rep. Parke Wentling to stay attuned to matters surrounding the proposed merger between Jameson Health System and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
“Our priority is the health of our friends and family who have come to rely on Jameson Hospital. The proposed merger with UPMC not only expands access to life-saving healthcare services, but it also ensures the long-term viability of an acute care hospital in the community,” said Senator Vogel. “Simply put, it’s the best option available for Jameson’s patients and employees.”
On September 16, 2014, Jameson Health System and UPMC announced their intent to merge. In February 2015, the Public Protection Division of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office (OAG), expressed concerns about antitrust issues and the lack of marketplace competition in the wake of the merger. The OAG said its concerns were based on its responsibility to ensure that citizens of Lawrence County have continued access to affordable health care.
Jameson issued requests for proposals to a wide range of potential partners in August 2015 as required by the Pennsylvania Attorney General. Jameson and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office agreed on minimal acceptable standards for the bids. Jameson’s Board of Directors said the three proposals received through this stage of the re-bid do not currently appear to meet these standards or adequately provide Lawrence County with the services and support it needs.
“Jameson’s advisory team has reached out to all the bidders to determine if there is a willingness to work through the issues in the proposals to seek a solution that will position Jameson for long-term success,” according to Representative Sainato. “The CEO and President of Jameson, Doug Danko, has informed us that UPMC agreed months ago to address the competitive concerns of the OAG by agreeing to certain terms relating to payors, contracts, and hospital/physician access that appear in other OAG - hospital consent decrees. These terms make it even more certain that the UPMC agreement would preserve consumers’ rights to continue to receive affordable and accessible high-quality health care in Lawrence County and at the same time ensure that healthy competition remains.”
The Lawrence County legislative delegation collectively shares the strong interest of both the OAG and Jameson’s community-led Board of Directors in protecting local residents’ long-term continued access to affordable health care.
“Our appeal to the Attorney General’s Office is to continue to respect the Jameson Board of Directors’ fiduciary responsibility and authority by empowering them to come to agreeable terms with the partner that best upholds the highest interests for the long-term health of Lawrence County,” said Representative Gibbons.
The delegation supports the Jameson Health System’s Board of Directors’ commitment to selecting the best qualified partner that will invest significant capital, address and service all debt, focus on physician recruitment, and make certain Jameson is in the best position to serve the community into the future.
“The criteria set forth to qualify and measure an acceptable bid is objective and clearly aims to uphold the highest interests of consumers,” said Representative Wentling. “We stand by the Jameson Board in upholding those criteria to objectively make the right decision for the future of health care delivered in Lawrence County. As the Attorney General’s Office has shared, they are confident in a soon-to-come resolution, and so are we.”
Bill Increasing Support for Housing Program Signed Into Law
A House Bill increasing state support for a program that will promote housing affordability and rehabilitation efforts in communities across the Commonwealth was recently signed into law. I sponsored an identical measure in the Senate, Senate Bill 566.
House Bill 792, which was enacted as Act 58 of 2015, dedicates a portion of funds raised from the state’s Realty Transfer Tax (RTT) for use by the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE) for projects across the state. The new law does not increase the RTT rate, but solely changes how the revenues under the existing rate are used.
Prior to Act 58, PHARE’s only revenue was derived from Act 13 impact fees with the restriction that those monies could only be spent in Marcellus Shale counties.
I am pleased that the General Assembly approved this bill and that the Governor signed it into law. PHARE has a proven record of helping alleviate blight, reduce homelessness, create jobs and drive economic activity. Through this new law we have a greater opportunity to help vulnerable residents, families and communities.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, there is a statewide shortage of 272,045 rental home units for extremely low-income households. The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that 270,000 Pennsylvanians are homeless, including those living doubled up with friends or family.
Special Committee on Senate Address Holds Public Hearing
On November 9th, the Special Committee on Senate Address held a public hearing to gather testimony from a panel of county district attorneys on issues that have developed when referring cases to the Office of Attorney General and on other related matters.
Participants included David Heckler, District Attorney of Bucks County, John Adams, District Attorney of Berks County, and Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser, District Attorney of Somerset County.
The Special Committee on Senate Address was established on October 26th, 2015, under Rule 5(a)(2) of the Senate Rules. The Committee was formed to pursue possible Senate action against Attorney General Kane, pursuant to Article 6, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The Committee is bi-partisan and geographically diverse, and consists of both attorneys and non-attorneys.
Senate Panel Approves Legislation Targeting Sanctuary Cities
I voted for and the Senate Local Government Committee recently approved legislation that I’m cosponsoring that would prevent municipalities from hindering federal efforts to deport illegal immigrants who pose a danger to Pennsylvania communities. Click here to watch video of that vote.
Senate Bill 997 targets “sanctuary cities” that refuse to honor detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement for persons of interest who are arrested by local authorities.
Under the bill, governing bodies such as counties or municipalities would be prohibited from adopting rules or ordinances that contradict federal immigration policy. Municipalities that do not enforce federal immigration policy would not be eligible for state grants for law enforcement purposes and could be sued for negligence for releasing an individual with a detainer who subsequently committed another crime.
Scenes from the 47th Senate District Calendars Now Available
I’d like to take a moment to remind you that the Scenes from the 47th Senate District 2016 calendars are now available in all of my district offices, free of charge. Every photo in the calendar was submitted by a local photographer and the top vote-getters were selected for inclusion in the calendar. No taxpayer dollars were used in the production of the calendar.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently launched the “Stopping the Flu Starts with YOU” campaign, which urges Pennsylvanians to protect themselves and their loved ones against the seasonal flu by getting vaccinated and taking other preventive measures. The department will be holding flu shot clinics throughout the state, including in the 47th Senate District:
Nov. 18, 9-11AM & 1-3PM
Dec. 11, 9-11AM & 1-3PM
Nov. 19, 9AM-1PM
Dec. 9, 11AM-3PM
November 19, 9-11AM & 1-3PM
Dec. 10, 2015, 9-11AM & 1-3PM
Environmental Education Grant Applications Now Accepted
Schools, municipalities, community groups and businesses can now apply for state grants of up to $3,000 to develop projects geared toward environmental education. The deadline to apply is December 18. For more information and to apply, click here.
DEP Encourages Pennsylvanians to Winterize Their Homes
Colder winter weather is on the way and the Department of Environmental Protection wants all residents to stay safe and warm this winter by properly preparing their homes. Home winterization can help keep your home warmer while using less energy and costing less money.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average Pennsylvania family consumes more than 10,000 kWh of electricity annually and spends more than $2000 per year on energy bills. Half the energy consumed in Pennsylvania homes is for space heating. Fortunately, homeowners can take small steps to make their home safe and more efficient.
The most cost effective way to save energy in the home is to air seal and insulate.
- Be sure to air seal before insulating as insulation material will not block leaks.
- Find and seal air leaks with caulk around windows, doors, gaps around chimneys, and recessed lights in insulated ceilings.
- Fill larger cracks with spray foam. Always follow the directions on the caulking and spray foam containers to ensure proper adherence and safety.
- After all the cracks are filled, you can install the insulation. Use the U.S. Department of Energy’s insulation page to determine what kind of insulation you should use and how to put it in your home.
LIHEAP Now Accepting Applications
As colder weather moves in, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP has begun taking applications.
LIHEAP helps low-income families pay their heating bills and deal with such heating emergencies as a broken furnace, fuel shortage or utility service shutoff.
Follow Me on Twitter!
I have a Twitter account to better connect with my constituents and provide daily updates on my voting record, whereabouts, state government, and local news affecting the 47 S.D. To access my Twitter page, click here.
contact me to provide input on any state-related matter, or to
receive help in dealing with a state agency.
Senate Box 203047