Energy - April 26, 2013

Pennsylvania to close rural health centers, furlough nurses

The Service Employee International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania lost a request for an injunction to halt the closing of some of Pennsylvania’s rural health centers in Commonwealth Court this week.  The union is suing the state to block the closure and merger of 60 rural health centers down to 34.  Kevin Hefty, SEIU VP for the state sector said that closing and consolidating “will threaten an already fragile public health system in Pennsylvania.”  The lawsuit alleges that the closures are illegal because state law requires a minimum number of centers in the state and approval by the legislature before any of them can be closed.  Twenty-six nurses will also be furloughed as part of the consolidation.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health argues that closing some of the centers allows for modernization.  Nurses will be more available to the public by being out in the community as opposed to clients having to travel to the state health centers for treatment.  The lawsuit will continue even though the injunction against beginning the closures was denied.  The union has said it is considering appealing the ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.


Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter expresses interest in 2024 Olympics

Mayor Nutter wrote in a letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee that Philadelphia is “enthusiastically embracing the prospect of bidding on and hosting the Olympics and Paralympics in 2024.”  Nutter also wrote that “Philadelphia, the birthplace of democracy, is a city founded on faith tolerance and brotherly love - values which are wholly consistent with the spirit of the Olympics.”  In February the USOC offered bidding invitations to 25 of the largest US cities and 10 that the committee thinks could also host the Olympics.  The committee now has to pick five finalists and then one from those five to send to the International Olympic Committee for consideration.  Philadelphia has bid before, for the 2006 and 2016 games.  The 2016 games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro.