Jul. 12, 2018

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Budget Directs Funding to Lyme Disease

This year’s 2018-19 state budget addresses many of the state’s critical health needs by directing resources to several important line items, including Lyme disease.

With Pennsylvania leading the nation in the number of Lyme disease cases, $2.5 million in state funding will help combat and treat those affected by the disease.

Efforts will include building a more robust Lyme disease prevention and education program, conducting more well-rounded surveillance through activities like a statewide environmental survey, and improving participation in tick-borne disease surveillance with providers and local health departments. The funding specifically addresses many of the recommendations outlined by the Lyme Disease Task Force, which was created by Act 83 of 2014.

Other health-related funding priorities include increases to support the state’s West Nile Virus and Zika Virus control program; take care of those with intellectual disabilities; and offer evidence-based home visiting services to families affected by the opioid epidemic. Bio-technology research, ALS support services and regional cancer centers also will receive increases in this budget.

Area Independence Day Celebrations

There was a terrific turnout for the Independence Day parade in Pleasant Mount this year. This parade always brings out the tractors. It was a beautiful day for the parade and a wonderful display of rural Americana!

Thompson Hose Company enjoyed a great attendance as well for their Independence Day celebration. Activities included a parade, chicken BBQ, live music and games. There was definitely something for everyone! Pictured with me is Alan Hall, chairman of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners, and Sen. Lisa Baker.

Hospitals Must Alert Child Welfare about Drug-Exposed Newborns
To help ensure that babies who are born dependent on controlled substances are safely cared for and receive critical medical and developmental services, a new law closes a loophole in the reporting of such cases to proper authorities.

The legislation is designed to ensure that mothers and their babies get help rather than punish the mothers for drug use.

Act 54 of 2018 requires that child protective services develop a plan of care for the infant and puts the state in compliance with a 2003 federal law. It also clarifies how authorities should respond while focusing on providing help to the babies’ families rather than automatically treating the mothers’ drug use as a criminal act.

According to state data, more than 920 babies were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome in Pennsylvania in the first six months of 2018.

Empowering Parents in Substance Abuse Cases
Legislation that will give parents the final word on treatment in substance abuse cases involving their children has been signed into law.

Act 47 of 2018 allows a parent or legal guardian to provide consent over the objection of a minor with respect to furnishing medical care or counseling related to diagnosis or treatment of substance abuse.

It also seeks to protect the patient’s rights in that anyone providing medical care may only share with the parents information that would reduce the threat of harm to the minor.

The new law takes effect in late August.

Veterans Assistance Offered in Montrose, Honesdale
In order to help area veterans and their family members navigate the VA system and answer any questions they may have about benefits and services available to them, my district offices in Montrose and Honesdale are offering appointments with a veterans outreach specialist each month.

Some of the services available to veterans and their dependents include assistance with compensation, pension, death benefits, education and health care, as well as any issues pertaining to veterans benefits.

I encourage area veterans and their dependents to take advantage of this service.

The Montrose office offers veterans assistance hours on the first Tuesday of each month. To schedule an appointment, call the office at (570) 278-3374.

The Honesdale office offers veterans assistance hours on the fourth Friday of each month. To schedule an appointment at that office, call (570) 253-5533.
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Office Locations
16501 State Route 706, Suite 2, Montrose, PA 18801 | Phone: 570-278-3374 
32 Commercial Street, Suite 300, Honesdale, PA 18431 | 570-253-5533
414 Irvis Office, PO Box 202111, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2111
Email Address: JFritz@pahousegop.com