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February 28, 2019
Legislation Reintroduced to Provide Full Practice Authority for Nurse Practitioners
The availability of health care continues to be a serious concern in rural Pennsylvania. In many smaller communities, more physicians are retiring and fewer new doctors are coming in to replace them. This leads to fewer health care options, longer travel times and reduced availability of specialized services.
Nurse practitioners are uniquely positioned to fill the growing demand for health care services in rural areas. This week, I re-introduced a bill that was passed by the Senate last session to give qualified Advanced Practice Registered Nurses the authority to practice in their field of specialty independently after they fulfill a three-year, 3,600-hour collaboration agreement with a physician.
Twenty-two states and Washington D.C. have already passed similar laws to allow nurse practitioners to practice to the fullest extent of their knowledge and skills, and I am hopeful that Pennsylvania will join these states in the near future.
More information about my bill is available here.
Budget Hearings Continue in Harrisburg
Public hearings on Governor Wolf’s budget proposal continued in Harrisburg this week, including a hearing with the Department of Labor and Industry. As the new Chair of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, I appreciated the chance to lead the questioning of Secretary Jerry Oleksiak and discuss a number of areas of concern for local communities.
Some of the issues I raised during the hearing included delays in Workers’ Compensation system upgrades, problems with Unemployment Compensation call centers, and how we can better meet the state’s growing workforce development needs. Video of some of those questions is available here:
I also questioned ways the Department could help incarcerated individuals learn the job skills they need to reenter the workforce. As Chair of the Criminal Justice Reform Caucus, I am very interested in exploring new avenues to help people transition from incarceration to successful careers so we can stop the revolving door of our current prison system.
Video of those questions and more is available here:
Bipartisan Bill Would Improve Screening, Treatment of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a serious condition that can create a number of health risks to both mothers and babies. I recently introduced a bipartisan bill that would help improve screening for postpartum depression and facilitate treatment for mothers who are affected by this condition.
The legislation, which I am sponsoring along with my colleague Senator Judy Schwank, would require health care providers to offer information on postpartum depression to pregnant women so they can be aware of the signs and symptoms. The bill would also require screening of new mothers to help connect them with the resources they may need to deal with this condition.
More details about our legislation is available here.
State Grant Supports Washington Redevelopment Project
A grant awarded by the Department of Community and Economic Development this week will aid in the redevelopment of the Washington Trust Company Building. The project will convert the building into a mixed-use structure featuring commercial offices, retail, and 24 affordable housing units.
The grant was awarded as part of the Keystone Communities program. More details about the grant are available here.
Free Income Tax Help Available
AARP and a number of other organizations are offering free tax counseling and preparation services for many taxpayers. Some of the locations offering free tax help are listed below. Assistance is available by appointment only. A list of other organizations offering tax assistance is available here.
The locations and contact information are as follows:
Center in the Woods
Donora Public Library
Peters Township Public Library
Presbyterian Senior Care
The Bible Chapel
Washington Senior Center
Waynesburg Community Center
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