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Senator Santorum Discusses Health Care in Williamsport; Delivers Funding to Clinton and Potter Counties

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Date:
Location: Wellsboro, PA


Senator Santorum Discusses Health Care in Williamsport; Delivers Funding to Clinton and Potter Counties

U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today met with administrators from Susquehanna Health Systems (SHS) in Williamsport to discuss Medicare, long-term care, electronic medical records, and rural health care needs. Senator Santorum is a member of the Senate Finance Committee that has jurisdiction over these issues.

Administrators from SHS spoke with Senator Santorum about the wage index disparity experienced through Medicare. On July 11, 2005 Senator Santorum joined U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), U.S. Representatives John Peterson (R-PA-5) and Don Sherwood (R-PA-10) in a joint letter to Michael Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services and Dr. Mark McClellan, Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about the financial disparity SHS faces. The letter states:

"Â…the magnitude of this disparity is eroding the financial foundation necessary to assure access to high quality, compassionate and cost-effective care to citizens from Williamsport, Lycoming County and the surrounding rural areas."

"The Williamsport Hospital is the only major hospital in an 11-county region that is not receiving special reimbursement under the Medicare program, an underpayment that amounts to $2.4 million in lost dollars each year," said Steve Johnson, President and CEO of Susquehanna Health Systems. "We are sincerely grateful for Senator Santorum's visit to Williamsport and for his support in this crucial economic issue. We hope with the efforts of Senator Santorum and Senator Specter, combined with those of Congressman Sherwood and Congressman Peterson, CMS will correct this inequity by expediting its processing of our Wage Index reclassification request."

Senator Santorum also had the opportunity to see the first class electronic medical record system at SHS.

"As a member of the Senate Rural Health Care Caucus I understand the needs of rural health care providers and I am proud to see that SHS is a leading provider of health care to rural Pennsylvania," said Senator Santorum. "SHS has developed an electronic medical record system that allows satellite offices to access patients medical records electronically, which is a fast and efficient way of exchanging medical information when patients can't get to Williamsport for primary care and need to use a facility closer to their home."

Following his meeting in Williamsport, Senator Santorum traveled to Lock Haven, Clinton County to deliver $98,664 of federal funding to Clinton County District Attorney Ted McKnight for the Clinton County Action Team Against Drugs. The funding will be used for a public education campaign on the harmful affects of drugs and alcohol and to develop curriculum for ninth through twelfth graders in Keystone Central School District on the harms of alcohol on the developing adolescent brain.

"The people of Clinton County would like to thank Senator Santorum for obtaining this grant to help us fight the horrible problem of drugs and alcohol impacting our youth. The best way to fight the devastating effects of the drug alcohol on the developing brains of our children is to educate our children and adults, especially parents, as to the recently discovered dangers of alcohol on children's developing brains. Family involvement is one of the best ways to protect our children from this terrible harm," said Ted McKnight, Clinton County District Attorney.

Senator Santorum then traveled to Cameron County where he met with Cameron County Commissioners and the Cameron County Emergency Manger to hear concerns about the Driftwood/Sinnemahoning Communications Tower, which is the tower that provides communication between first responders and emergency personnel in the field.

While in Potter County, Senator Santorum delivered $400,000 in federal funding for Route 6 Heritage Communities. The funding will go to one community in eleven different counties along Pennsylvania Route 6 for heritage tourism centers. The eleven counties that will benefit from the funding include Warren, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Bradford, Pike, Lackawanna, Wyoming, Wayne, Crawford, and Erie counties. The Senator also met with representatives from the Potter County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Services to discuss the future of the Potter County Recovery House for Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Senator Santorum ended his day in Wellsboro, Tioga County where he met with administrators from Experience Works at the Tioga County Career Link center. Experience Works is a non-profit organization that offers training, employment, and community service opportunities for Pennsylvania senior citizens.

http://santorum.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.View&ContentRecord_id=1366&Region_id=0&Issue_id=0&CFID=6802519&CFTOKEN=63480384

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