Jul. 13, 2018

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District Office Grand Openings Next Week
I will be hosting grand openings in my district office the week of July 16.

The Houston office event will be held on Tuesday, July 17, from 3-6 p.m., at 102 W. Pike St. The Washington office grand opening will be held on Wednesday, July 18, from 3-6 p.m., at 190 N. Main St., Suite 308. Both events will include light refreshments.

I hope to see you there!

Celebrating the Whiskey Rebellion 
                                  
Last week, I participated in a number of events surrounding the 2018 Whiskey Rebellion Festival. It was great to see so many community members and visitors enjoying the activities.
 

O’Neal Fighting Against School Funding Changes
Late last month, the governor announced that he wants to change the way public schools are funded.

His proposal would distribute 100 percent of the state’s Basic Education Funding through the revised Basic Education formula. Currently, only new money added since 2015-16 is allocated this way.

This change would dramatically cut school funding to 357 of the state’s 500 public school districts, including all in Washington County. For more details, please click here
 

Investing in Health, Human Service Needs

Budget Directs Funding to Lyme Disease
This year’s 2018-19 state budget addresses many of the state’s critical health needs by directing resources to several important line items, including Lyme disease.

With Pennsylvania leading the nation in the number of Lyme disease cases, $2.5 million in state funding will help combat and treat those affected by the disease.

Efforts will include building a more robust Lyme disease prevention and education program, conducting more well-rounded surveillance through activities like a statewide environmental survey, and improving participation in tick-borne disease surveillance with providers and local health departments. The funding specifically addresses many of the recommendations outlined by the Lyme Disease Task Force, which was created by Act 83 of 2014.

Other health-related funding priorities include increases to support the state’s West Nile Virus and Zika Virus control program; take care of those with intellectual disabilities; and offer evidence-based home visiting services to families affected by the opioid epidemic. Bio-technology research, ALS support services and regional cancer centers also will receive increases in this budget.
 

Hospitals Must Alert Child Welfare about Drug-Exposed Newborns
To help ensure that babies who are born dependent on controlled substances are safely cared for and receive critical medical and developmental services, a new law closes a loophole in the reporting of such cases to proper authorities.

The legislation is designed to ensure that mothers and their babies get help rather than punish the mothers for drug use.

Act 54 of 2018 requires that child protective services develop a plan of care for the infant and puts the state in compliance with a 2003 federal law. It also clarifies how authorities should respond while focusing on providing help to the babies’ families rather than automatically treating the mothers’ drug use as a criminal act.

According to state data, more than 920 babies were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome in Pennsylvania in the first six months of 2018.
 

Improving Delivery of Human Services
To help ensure a more efficient delivery of human services programs, the Human Services Code portion of the 2018-19 state budget package contained a number of reforms and updates that seek to save taxpayers money while still taking care of our most vulnerable citizens.

Act 40 of 2018 makes several changes to the state’s Medicaid program to ensure maximum efficiency, including new ways for counties to provide nonemergency medical transportation services to eligible and enrolled Medical Assistance recipients.

Another change establishes two Medicaid outcome-based programs to increase efficiency in hospital services and managed care programs.

Finally, the new law aims to reduce long-term care expenses by providing information about the Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE) program to individuals seeking long-term care services and supports. Studies show that seniors recover faster and have a better quality of life in their own residences.
 

Empowering Parents in Substance Abuse Cases
Legislation that will give parents the final word on treatment in substance abuse cases involving their children has been signed into law.

Act 47 of 2018 allows a parent or legal guardian to provide consent over the objection of a minor with respect to furnishing medical care or counseling related to diagnosis or treatment of substance abuse.

It also seeks to protect the patient’s rights in that anyone providing medical care may only share with the parents information that would reduce the threat of harm to the minor.

The new law takes effect in late August.
 
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Office Locations
 District office: Details coming soon  
 Capitol office: 143B East Wing, P.O. Box 202048, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2048 | Tel: 717-787-3315 
                                                 
Email: toneal@pahousegop.com
 
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