Photo by Gerri Miller
Barnum Road Wetlands, Eldred, PA
Tuesday’s high, 61; Overnight low, 48; .12″ rain
WED-RAIN, THEN BECOMING CLOUDY, HIGH 55
WED NIGHT-CLOUDY, LOW 38
THU-PARTLY CLOUDY, HIGH 57
THU NIGHT-PARTLY CLOUDY, LOW 40
FRI-EARLY SHOWERS, THEN CLEARING, HIGH 60
FRI NIGHT-LOW 41
To hear today’s complete forecast, click on arrow below.
Republican lawmakers urge Gov. Wolf to sign bill dealing with the opioid epidemic in the state workers’ compensation system….Causer invites area residents to gun safety and rights seminar….Two people hurt in Tioga County collision…..Injuries also reported for Harrison Valley driver after collision last week on Route 49……
Obituary: Allen Hathaway, Coudersport
To hear today’s podcast, click on arrow below.
Earlier this year, Gov. Tom Wolf issued a disaster declaration over the opioid crisis that is ravaging communities throughout Pennsylvania. His declaration followed the General Assembly’s action in passing 13 different bills to combat this crisis and a group of Republican lawmakers is urging him to sign a bill designed to address the epidemic within the state workers’ compensation system. The lawmakers wrote an “Op-Ed” which appears below.
The Legislature has made fighting this epidemic a top priority. As we continue to look for ways to combat the opioid crisis, it has become clear that we must also address the remaining link of the rampant overprescribing that occurs within Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system. According to a 2017 study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute, Pennsylvania ranks second among states in the number of opioids given to injured workers, an alarming 87 percent higher than the median state.
Last week, the General Assembly sent Senate Bill 936 to Gov. Wolf for his signature. The bill would help to address this growing crisis by enacting a nationally recognized, evidence-based drug formulary for our workers’ compensation system.
The truth is, drug formularies are commonplace in all facets of health insurance and have been adopted for workers’ compensation in states across the country, including in Democratic strongholds like California, New York and Washington.
Why is this happening? Because drug formularies ensure consistent, high-quality care and have a proven track record of curbing opioid abuse among injured workers. For example, Ohio enacted a drug formulary program in 2011. By the end of 2016, the state recorded a 51 percent reduction in the number of injured workers receiving an opioid prescription.
This is one of the reasons drug treatment professionals support this legislation. At a press conference earlier this year, Joe Pritchard, CEO of Pinnacle Treatment Centers, which operates 12 facilities in Pennsylvania, spoke in favor of Senate Bill 936. He explained: “With our research, we are showing that at least 45 percent of those individuals that we treat every day are there as a result of an injury. They were prescribed an opioid and it has taken off from there. Implementation of a drug formulary as part of the workers’ compensation system can go a long way to prevent injured workers from even getting to the point of needing treatment.”
Those who oppose this bill claim it seeks to deny treatment for injured workers. This claim is intentionally deceiving and patently false. The bill insists on quality treatment for injured workers. Why shouldn’t we demand the same standards for our injured workers that we require for patients on Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and every private group health insurance policy – all of which have drug formularies already?
Opponents also claim that this bill seeks to pad insurance industry profits. They should read the bill, which specifically requires that all savings be passed onto small businesses and other employers who pay workers’ compensation premiums.
Opponents have also tried to paint this bill as getting between the doctor and their patient. False again. If that were truly the case, medical groups would be opposing this legislation. In fact, groups such as the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association, the Pennsylvania Occupational and Environmental Medical Society, the Hospital & HealthSystem Association of Pennsylvania, as well as Concentra (the largest provider of occupational medicine in the country), all support this bill.
Senate Bill 936 also addresses other prescribing abuses occurring in the workers’ compensation system. Last year, the Philadelphia Inquirer exposed a lucrative scheme where partners at a prominent Philadelphia law firm teamed up with a small network of doctors who prescribe unproven compound pain creams at outrageous prices. Some of these creams can cost as much as $4,000 per tube, yet have no proven medical benefit and have not been approved by the FDA.
These same profiteers are now leading the opposition to Senate Bill 936.
We urge Gov. Wolf to sign Senate Bill 936. The legislation is supported by medical professionals, pharmacists, drug treatment professionals, local governments, small businesses and over 70 local chambers of commerce. It is a commonsense approach that will combat the opioid crisis, protect injured workers, and rein in prescribing abuses within workers’ compensation.
Rep.M artin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) is inviting area residents to a free Firearms Safety and Rights Seminar set for 6 p.m. Thursday today at the Shinglehouse Volunteer Fire Department, 121 S. Puritan St., Shinglehouse.
Speakers will include Potter County District Attorney Andy Watson and Sheriff Glenn Drake, who will discuss Pennsylvania’s concealed carry laws, the Castle Doctrine and other valuable information regarding state gun laws.
People who wish to attend the seminar are encouraged to register in advance by visiting RepCauser.com or calling the Coudersport office at 814-274-9769. Seating is limited.
This scam has been around for awhile but it’s rearing its ugly head again. Sweden Township Police Chief Bryan Phelps says area residents have recently received phone calls such as “your grandson is in jail and needs bail, or a family member is in trouble and needs money” . Chief Phelps urges people to avoid sending money or giving out personal information. He was able to contact one of these scammers that had left a return # so they could call back with bail money…He admitted to being a scammer, living in Puerto Rico ( if that’s true) and he scams 1-2 a day making $500-18,000…stated he has received as much as $65,000.. and does not feel bad.He stated that it was not Violent, and that people did it on their own free will – to be helpful, then in most cases embarrassed to contact authorities .Not all information that was given to Chief Phelps is probably true ..except he did not feel bad..If you receive any of these calls hang up…do not give them any information and Definitely do not send them money.
Be alert..be aware
A Lawrenceville couple was hurt in a collision Tuesday afternoon in Richmond Township, Tioga County. According to Mansfield based state police the mishap occurred when 69 year old Cheryl Neitz of Canton was traveling behind a Toyota Camry driven by Joseph Rich III and became momentarily distracted. When she noticed she was rapidly closing in on the other southbound slowly moving car she swerved her Chrysler Town and Country into the passing lane but the front end of her sedan clipped the rear end of Rich’s car. Both drivers were able to complete a safe stop. Rich and his wife were taken to Soldiers and Sailors Hospital for treatment of undetermined injuries. Neitz and a five year old boy in her car were not hurt.
Minor injuries were reported for a Harrison Valley driver after a collision early last Friday morning on Route 49 in Harrison Township. Coudersport based state police released details late yesterday reporting Ronald Schiffler was going west when his Ford Ranger went into the opposite lane and hit a Ford 500 head-on. After impact, Schiffler’s truck hit a brick building. The other truck was shoved into a section of guardrails. Police did not say if it was occupied at the time.
State police at Kane arrested a Lewis Run woman last night on drug charges. Troopers claim when they went to a house located on Rocky Run Road just north of Route 59 in Lafayette Township on another matter, they saw suspected marijuana and drug paraphernalia in plain view. Possession charges were filed against 50 year old Jennifer Conner before District Judge Engman.
Allen W. Hathaway, 54, of Coudersport, passed away with his loving family by his side on Monday, April 23, 2018, in Sweden Valley Manor, Coudersport, after a long illness.
Born on November 13, 1963 in Fort Dix, N.J., he was a son of Wayne A. and Bonnie J. Swift Hathaway.
Allen was a graduate of Coudersport High School, Class of 1982, where he was a member of the track team and had played high school football, baseball, and basketball. He was a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Allen was a Pennsylvania State Trooper for 9 years having been stationed in Philipsburg. He later was employed in the oil and gas industry in Williston, North Dakota and lastly was employed as a corrections officer at the Potter County Jail in Coudersport until retiring due to ill health.
Allen was an avid golfer.
Surviving besides his parents of Coudersport are his loving companion, Lorrie Bastian of Coudersport; three sons, Logan M. (Jess Dause) Hathaway of Cincinnati, Ohio, Taylor L. (Joanne Martinez) Hathaway of San Diego, California, and Kyle A. Hathaway of Mercersburg; his maternal grandmother, Thelma E. Swift of Coudersport; a brother, Brian D. (Sheila Pease) Hathaway of Coudersport; a nephew, Brock A. Hathaway of Coudersport; several aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Allen was predeceased by his paternal grandparents, William and Eugurtha Hathaway; and his maternal grandfather, Elton E. Swift.
Friends may call from 10am to noon on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, 118 South Union Street, Shinglehouse, where funeral services will follow at noon with the Rev. John L. Kallerson, pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Coudersport, officiating. Burial will be in Rathbone Cemetery, Coneville.
Members of the Potter County Honor Guard will accord military honors on Thursday at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Volunteers That Care, PO Box 750, Coudersport, PA 16915 or to the Sweden Valley Manor Patient Activity Fund, 1028 East Second Street, Coudersport, PA 16915.
Allen’s family has entrusted his care to Kevin J. Dusenbury, funeral director/owner of the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, Shinglehouse.
To express condolences or share a fond memory of Allen, please visit www.virgillhowardfuneralhome.com