Rural Health Hearing Ready for Next Week in Bradford News

Rural Health Hearing Ready for Next Week in Bradford  News

The hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford — in the University Room at the Frame-Westerberg Commons Building, 300 Campus Drive. The public is invited.

Story Highlights:

  • The committee is chaired by Rep. Martin Causer, R-Turtlepoint, and is co-hosted by Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren.

  • This will not be an event where the public will have a chance to speak. Rather, it is a House committee hearing, where invited guests testify and committee members question them.

“It’s not a town hall meeting,” Causer explained. “The public is invited to attend, and the hearing is being live-streamed on our website so people who can’t make it can watch.”

On the agenda for the day are representatives from hospitals, a nursing home, an ambulance service and more.

He added that all who attend must follow the university’s COVID-19 guidelines, which includes masks are required while inside campus buildings.

The day begins at 9:30 a.m. with a welcome, followed by testimony from Keara Klinepeter, acting secretary of the state Department of Health. The hospital panel follows at 9:50 a.m., with Mark Papalia, president of UPMC Kane; Dr. Jill Owens, chief medical officer of Upper Allegheny Health System; Rick Allen, CEO of Warren General Hospital; and Janie Hilfiger, president of UPMC Cole and UPMC Wellsboro.

A health professional panel will begin at 10:30 a.m., with Dr. Nathaniel Graham, general surgeon; Anne Hardy, former director of the Bradford Regional Medical Center emergency room and nursing administration; Sally Scrivo, EMT, owner of Bradford Area Transport Service; and Charlotte Floravit, CEO of The Lutheran Home at Kane.

At 11:15 is the state and local organizational panel, with Lisa Davis of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health and Janie Walters of Rural Health Redesign Center/ Pennsylvania Rural Health Model. The agenda noted written testimony has been submitted by Chris Benson, a nurse for Mercy Flight of Western New York and for Port Area Ambulance Service.

“Bringing all the pieces together takes some time,” Causer said Wednesday. A few of the people will be testifying remotely, he explained. Owens will be accompanied by Mary LaRowe, interim CEO of Upper Allegheny Health System, and Don Boyd of Kaleida, parent company of Upper Allegheny.

“There’s a lot of great information that will be presented,” Causer said. “I think we need to take a close look specifically at rural health challenges. Health care is struggling all over, but this will take a look at rural areas and the challenges we’re facing.

Written comments are still being accepted, he added. Testimony may be dropped off at any of Causer’s district offices in Bradford (78 Main St.), Coudersport (107 S. Main St.) or Kane (55 Fraley St.), or it may be emailed to slindner@pahousegop.com. “It really is all about gathering information, talking about challenges and getting to some solutions,” Causer said. “Some hearings don’t talk about solutions, but we’re at a point where we need to talk about solutions.”

Regarding the officials planning to testify, Causer said, “They immediately accepted the invitation.” “We’re also going to discuss potential solutions,” he added.

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