Governor Tom Corbett administration is being sued by a union representing state employed health care workers. 5 Democrat lawmakers also filed a suit against the administration. The SEIU says Corbetts plan violates a 1996 state law as well as a provision of the State Constitution barring the government from suspending laws enacted by the legislature. The SEIU further contends that only the legislature can approve such closings. They also say that Corbetts proposal to reduce state funding for the centers in the 2013-2014 budget has yet to be approved by lawmakers.
The Corbett administration has a 2 phase plan to close 26 state health centers out of a total 60 statewide. This would also eliminate 73 nursing jobs. The nurses monitor local health data, track trends and investigate first hand accounts in the field. They have also been credited with several health crisis throughout the state. They contained the nations largest Hepatitis A outbreak that claimed 3 lives and over 650 confirmed cases by immunizing 9,500 people; prevented the spread of Hepatitis A outbreak amongst 30 kinderdarteners, discovering the rise in infant deaths and educating new parents to prevent it; organizing a dental clinic in response to children and adults showing up on emergency rooms with painful abscesses; identifying and treating an exchange student with tuberculosis, among several others.
The state run centers also provide immunizations, TB screenings, STD/HIV services. They do not provide primary care. Corbett explains that the closings will help modernize the health system and saving a whopping $3.4 million. The 60 centers cost about $20 million a year. Many in the industry worry that closing the centers will reduce residents access to health care.Michael Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Pa. Department of Health, said that about 70-77% of the operational funds go to leases at state health centers and not to services. He also said that they did a couple thousand immunizations at the Harrisburg Farm Show, while the 3 local centers only did 90 in a month. Joe Sunbathe, superviser at Community Health, explained that certain services they need in the county departments had not been made available to them.
What Corbett is doing obviously violates the Pa. Constitution. It also does nothing to help the people of the state. Instead of Corbett taxing Natural Gas Drilling he again goes after the people. Corbetts brand of cronyism is blatantly obvious, he and the Republicans have an agenda and it is forcing Pa. down into the dumps. It is another case of Republicans not liking something and throwing a hussy fit. We need to vote Corbett out in 2014.
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