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SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Governor Wolf Announces $25 Million Federal Investment in Pennsylvania’s Rural Health System Healthcare, Human Services, Press Release, Public Health, Results Harrisburg, PA – As in other states across the nation, providing access to quality health care for Pennsylvanians residing in rural communities has become increasing challenging. Since 1990, health outcomes in rural communities across America have deteriorated. While people living in urban areas have seen better health outcomes and an improved access to care, those in rural areas face much starker health challenges.For the past 18 months, the Wolf administration has been developing a plan to transform rural health across Pennsylvania. Earlier this year Pennsylvania submitted a plan to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to implement a Rural Health Transformation Initiative. The federal government reviewed Pennsylvania’s proposal and today announced that they would grant Pennsylvania a $25 million grant to put this model into place.“Today, I am proud to announce that the federal government has awarded Pennsylvania a $25 million grant to enact our initiative to transform rural health,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “The Pennsylvania Rural Health Transformation Initiative is designed to address the challenges faced by rural hospitals and promote a transition to higher quality, integrated and value-based care through several changes to the current model. This will improve health outcomes in rural areas, which face significant challenges and have been especially hard hit by the opioid and heroin epidemic. Rural hospitals are the economic engines of many of these communities and the success of health care in our rural communities impacts every Pennsylvanian.”The goals of this new rural health model are to improve population health and quality of care that is delivered locally and to enable rural hospitals to move toward greater financial sustainability through an all-payer global budget model.‘Shortly after Governor Wolf took office and we assessed the state, it became clear to us that our rural hospitals, like those across the nation, were challenged,” said Secretary Karen Murphy. “It also quickly became clear that all health outcomes – particularly opioid and heroin addiction – were significantly worse in rural communities. We believe that the Pennsylvania Rural Health Transformation Initiative will help the incredibly committed, rural health-care leaders and health-care workers improve the overall health of their communities.”“CMS looks forward to teaming with Pennsylvania health officials on the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model. We believe it represents a historic opportunity for rural hospitals, which through the model will be able to improve the quality of care they provide to their patients and help address the underlying health needs in their communities,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer. “Also, the model will help rural hospitals remain financially viable and continue to provide essential services to the people in their communities.”“The Pennsylvania Rural Health Transformation is an incredibly innovative payment model that will strengthen hospitals across the Commonwealth by creating a path to sustainability for struggling rural hospitals,” said Geisinger CEO David Feinberg. “We at Geisinger applaud State Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy and her leadership in transforming health care delivery models to better meet the needs of our patients.”Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf January 12, 2017
Steve King audio Jeremy Taylor FOREST CITY — None of the four Republican candidates running for the 4th District congressional seat attacked their opponents during a fundraising dinner in Forest City last night. Incumbent Steve King is being challenged by State Senator Randy Feenstra, former Irwin mayor Bret Richards and Woodbury County supervisor Jeremy Taylor.King has been scrutinized for his comments last week before a conservative group as he was attempting to justify his support for a ban on abortions without exceptions for rape and incest. “You know who I am, you know what policies I’ve stood on, you know my work ethic, and all of you have known that whatever I told you, you could believe, and that I never equivocated, that caused some problems not equivocating. I never polished that up very well. I want you to know what I think because I don’t want to steal your time or your trust.”King is hoping Republicans take over control of the House so illegal immigration can be properly addressed. “It’s got to be fixed. I don’t believe it’s going to be fixed as long as Democrats are beneficiaries of this. They’re watching hundreds of thousands of undocumented Democrats poor across that border, and we’re letting it happen, and the president’s doing all he can, but we failed because we had weak leadership.”Feenstra says he’d fight to curb non-stop spending in Congress. “We have out-of-control spending in Congress…out of control. I look at my four children, they’re going to get hung with all this debt. We’re can get close to bankruptcy if our country doesn’t change the way they do it. Our economy is growing, we have to curb our spending and get balanced budgets, and I will shout from the mountaintops to make that happen.”Feenstra says the Iowa Legislature was recently successful in addressing illegal immigration-related bills. Now he wants to see Congress take action. “I stand with President Trump. We must build a wall, we absolutely must, we must get a grip on immigration. In the Iowa Senate, we passed and banned sanctuary cities we passed E-verify. These are things that need to be done in Congress. These are things that we can do for immigration.”Richards says the Affordable Care Act needs to be addressed by Congress. “In 2016, rank-and-file Republicans, Republican leaders told us ‘Give us the House back, give us the Senate, give us the White House and we’ll fix it’. Well, sadly we still have it. Good intentions or not, we’ve got to solve problems, we cannot keep kicking the can down the road on the Affordable Care Act, on repealing or replacing it, doing something better. We need real world solutions.”Richards says the leadership lessons he learned while in the Army and experiencing hard choices he’s made as a business person make him the best candidate for the position. “We cannot keep kicking the can down the road on the budget. This is a serious national security matter and we don’t do anything about it. We’ve got to solve these problems.”Taylor says he believes he can win more votes in the bigger counties in the district. “In Woodbury County on election night this last cycle, I won with 19,000 votes, about the same number as the governor. We lost the congressional seat by over 4,000 in my county. We lost in Webster, we lost in Boone, and we lost in many others, so that we only won by 3%, with a 70,000 voter registration advantage, and who was that victory eeked out over? The declared candidate right now, JD scholten, who was parading around the 4th District with a baseball and Bernie Sanders.”Taylor says he’s tired of Democrats touting their socialist views while on the presidential campaign trail in Iowa. “Socialism is evil, and it’s time we said so.”The four spoke at a joint Winnebago and Hancock County Republican Party dinner held at Waldorf University. You can listen to their speeches in full below. Randy Feestra Bret Richards
MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors this morning held their first regularly-scheduled meeting with the requirement that all individuals entering any county-owned or leased facility must wear a cloth or surgical mask to protect others from the potential spread of COVID-19. The supervisors passed a resolution with the face mask mandate during a special meeting at the end of last week.County health director Brian Hanft says it just makes sense, especially with the county’s COVID-19 case numbers jumping in the last month. “We support that and I think it makes sense. We’ve been wearing masks for a couple of months now in our space while working, and again, it just makes sense.”Hanft says it’s all about protecting others while you are around them. “Especially if you’re within the six-feet space. A cloth mask is a simple way that people can take those precautions. An N-95 mask would be the best, but the availability of masks and such is key, they’re just not readily out there for most people. Cloth masks are definitely the next step and a logical move for at least our public office spaces.”Hanft says they’ve had a few calls wondering if it was a mandate that masks had to be worn in any public place in the county. He says the resolution only covers county owned and leased spaces. “We have some limitations on applying mask utilization in public spaces. We got calls in some instances about that, and impacts on businesses, and so we’ve had to clarify the action that was taken strictly just addressed county owned and leased buildings.”Under the resolution, if an individual will not wear a mask, they will need to leave the county facility immediately. Residents are encouraged to conduct county business by phone, email or online if possible. Individuals at the Courthouse may drop off payments or documents at the outside Treasurer drop slot on the south side of the Courthouse to be delivered to the appropriate office.