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.
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.
Honoring Our Veterans
It was my pleasure to speak at the Pine Grove Cemetery with the Berwick-Nescopeck Joint Veterans Council on Sunday, May 28. The council marched in a parade from the Nescopeck VFW across the Berwick-Nescopeck Bridge to the Pine Grove Cemetery.
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.
Work on Route 44 in Columbia County Scheduled
On Monday, June 5, a contractor will begin installing a traffic counter along Route 44 just west of Route 42 at Buckhorn in Hemlock Township, Columbia County.
The company will be excavating along the road and saw cutting the pavement. There will be intermittent lane closures under daylight flagging.
Work will be completed by Friday, June 30.
Motorists should be alert and drive with caution through the work zone.
• Celebrate Historic Berwick will be held on Saturday, June 3, beginning at 11 a.m. on the 500 block of Market Street.
• The Bloomsburg YMCA Community Yard Sale will be held on Saturday, June 3.
• A representative from the American Legion will be in the Bloomsburg district office on Tuesday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. by appointment. Call 570-387-0246 to make an appointment.
• A representative from Congressman Lou Barletta’s office will be in the Bloomsburg district office on Thursday, June 8, from 1-3 p.m.
• The Park Place Village-Berwick Community Yard Sales will be held on Saturday, June 10.
• The Sherwood Village-Bloomsburg Community Yard Sales will be held on Saturday, June 10.
• Mifflinville Community Yard Sales will be held on Friday, June 16, and Saturday, June 17.
• The Benton Fire Department Carnival will be held from Wednesday, June 21, through Saturday, June 24.
• The ALS George Curry Memorial Walk will be held on Crispin Field beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 24.
• The 114th Six County Fireman’s Convention and Parade will be held on Saturday, June 24, in Jermyn.
• Monthly Radio Address: Thursday, June 29, at 8:30 a.m. on WHLM 94.7 FM.
• The Millville Fire Department Carnival will be held from Friday, June 30, through Saturday, July 8.