Bill to Boost Reimbursement for Ambulance Services Advances
Ambulance companies would be reimbursed for providing medical treatment, even if the patient is not transported to a hospital, under legislation approved by the House recently.
Under current law, EMS agencies can only be reimbursed by insurance companies if they transport the patient, even though time is spent, supplies are used and services are provided regardless of whether a transport takes place. This is a significant contributor to the financial challenges facing ambulance companies.
House Bill 1013 would allow for reimbursement when transport does not take place as long as the following conditions are met: The Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Life Support (ALS) unit must be dispatched by a county 911 center, and the EMS provider must have rendered care even though the transport was declined.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Satellite Hours Set for Next Week
I will offer satellite office hours for residents of the 111th District on Thursday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Preston Township Building, located on Crosstown Highway (Route 370) and then at the Forest City Borough Hall, located at 535 Main St., Forest City, from 1-3 p.m. Please note the time change for Forest City.
Area residents are encouraged to attend these office hours to receive assistance with PennDOT, SNAP and Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms; information regarding state agencies and programs; and more.
Strengthening Penalties for DUI
To help keep repeat offenders of driving under the influence off the road, the House passed legislation recently to strengthen penalties for those who have been convicted of DUI and continue to operate a vehicle under a suspended driver’s license.
Currently, anyone convicted of a DUI who then operates a vehicle despite their driver’s license suspension currently faces the same penalty – a $500 fine and 60-90 days in jail -- no matter how many times they get behind the wheel.
House Bill 1049 would create a tiered system that increases the fines and sentences with each subsequent offense. Those sentence enhancements would range from a $1,000 fine and a minimum 90-day jail term for a second offense, to a $5,000 fine and no less than two years in jail for a fourth offense. In addition, the legislation would allow a judge to impose a maximum five-year jail sentence if the offender is also convicted of homicide by vehicle.
The bill is now with the state Senate.
Legislation to Safeguard Children from Online Sexual Predators
To help keep children safe from online predators, the House approved legislation to allow the state attorney general and district attorneys to continue to have the authority to use administrative subpoenas to identify information pertaining to child sex predators transmitting child pornography.
This bill was first enacted in 2014 but included a sunset date of Dec. 31, 2017. House Bill 561 would remove the sunset date and give this authority to prosecutors permanently.
Since its enactment, this law has been a vital tool for law enforcement to make it easier to track child sex predators.
The bill is with the Senate for review.
New Immunization Requirements for PA Schools This Fall
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has revised Pennsylvania’s school immunization requirements for the 2017-18 school year.
The new rules require parents to get their children fully immunized prior to the fifth day of school or the students will be excluded from school. Previously, parents had eight months to meet school immunization requirements.
If a student is in the middle of an immunization series and it is too soon for the next dose, the parents must provide the school nurse with a written plan, signed by their health care provider, within the first five days of school.
For more information, contact your health care provider, visit www.health.pa.gov or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
Wayne County Historical Society Celebrates 100 Years
Rep. Mike Peifer and I presented a House citation to Carol Dunn, executive director of the Wayne County Historical Society, recognizing the historical society’s 100th anniversary. The Wayne County Historical Society does great work and is a tremendous asset to the community.