Health - June 27, 2014

PinnacleHealth-Penn State Hershey talk “consolidation”

On Thursday PinnacleHealth System and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center announced that the two groups plan to combine forces, or “consolidate” the two health care groups into one. The intent being that patients will have access to the vast array of services currently provided by the two groups under one single health care system.  According to both systems are bringing something to the table: PinnacleHealth offers community hospitals and a network of doctors and specialists “across the region” while Penn State Hershey “brings the medical school, national research presence, broad range of organ transplants and trauma center.”  The move will require government approval and will take a year to finalize.  There will be some kinks to work out over time but a new board will oversee the single organization.  The consolidation is a response to the continually changing landscape of health care today. reports that financial pressures, changes in government and insurer payments were all reasons cited the ongoing trend of consolidations and mergers.

Senate to vote on legislation to cut size of legislature

The Senate is set to vote on legislation that proposes cutting the size of the legislature.  The legislation proposes two constitutional amendments that would cut the House from 203 members to 153 members and the Senate from 50 members to 45 members.  The House has already approved the measure to decrease the size of the House.  Because it would take a constitutional amendment to reduce the size of the legislature the process for approval is different than other legislation. Identical measures would have to be approved by the House and Senate in two consecutive sessions and then it would go to voters for a final decision. Should that happen the downsizing wouldn’t go into effect until after the 2020 legislative redistricting.  Movement on the legislation is historic considering the last time constitutional amendments to change the size of the House and Senate were put to the general public for a vote was 1874.  Originally the legislation also proposed eliminating the lieutenant governor’s position and reducing the size of the appellate courts. Both of those provisions were ultimately eliminated.