Pennsylvania Celebrates 20th Anniversary of HealthChoices Program; Highlights Necessity of Providing Affordable, Quality Care Healthcare, Medicaid Expansion, Press Release, Seniors Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Department of Human Services (DHS) celebrated the 20-year anniversary of HealthChoices, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program. Since implementation in February 1997, the program has expanded to cover all 67 counties and serves over 2.8 million children, individuals with disabilities, pregnant women, and low-income Pennsylvanians by providing primary and specialty care, preventative care, dental care, prescription drugs, and behavioral health services.“The success of the HealthChoices program highlights why Pennsylvania needs to continue to provide affordable, quality care to residents who need it most,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “While Pennsylvania’s Medicaid system is providing quality medical care and timely access to services, Republicans in Washington are proposing to roll back coverage. Their proposal would pull the rug out from under our most vulnerable citizens, including seniors, children, and individuals with disabilities, by slashing their health care and putting their lives at risk.”In 2015, Governor Tom Wolf announced Medicaid expansion. As a result, over 700,000 more Pennsylvanians have enrolled in HealthChoices. Of those 700,000 individuals, almost 125,000 have received vital drug and alcohol treatment which has been instrumental in battling the opioid and heroin crisis. If Republicans in Washington rolled back Medicaid, these Pennsylvanians would be robbed of the opportunity to seek substance use treatments, which would exacerbate our already crippling opioid and heroin crisis.In the recently revealed Republican health care proposal, Medicaid expansion would be scrapped, future reimbursement for states would be capped, and people with pre-existing conditions may no longer be guaranteed coverage. This would force more people to rely on the emergency room for uncompensated care, which translates to higher costs for all of us, and likely push many small and rural hospitals in Pennsylvania to close.“Over the last two decades, the department has delivered access to critical health care to Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable. HealthChoices has given Medicaid recipients access to a wide array of services in a cost-effective manner through a more streamlined, consumer driven system,” said DHS Secretary, Ted Dallas. “ Any rollback of Medicaid could be fiscally devastating to the commonwealth or force us into rationing care for Pennsylvanians, which is unconscionable.”Currently, Pennsylvania has the lowest uninsured rate in the state’s history at 6.4% for the general population and 4.1% uninsured rate for children.Provider enrollment in the MA program has also increased. Today more providers than ever are enrolled in the Pennsylvania MA program, increased from 92,801 in 2014 to 108,776 currently.“One of the department’s main goals is to provide access to high-quality services. The HealthChoices program does just that,” said Dallas.Key design features of HealthChoices have contributed to its success over the long term:Inclusivity – MA recipients of all ages and most eligibility groups, including older Pennsylvanians and individuals with disabilities, participate;Focus on special needs – The definition of special needs for HealthChoices recipients is not limited by clinical diagnosis allowing for individuals to access treatment easily;Comprehensive array of services;Enrollment assistance – enrollment specialists provide accurate, unbiased information to enrollees to help them select their health plan;Continuous open enrollment – MA recipients may request a health plan change at any time;Consumer choice – participants are able to choose from the participating health plans;Health home – Access to primary, preventative, and specialty care through their primary care provider; andOngoing public input through consumer committees.For more information on the HealthChoices program, visit www.HealthChoicesPA.com. March 01, 2017 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
LINCOLN, New Zealand, (CMC) – Assistant coach Roddy Estwick believes West Indies fast bowlers will have a critical role to play if the Caribbean side are to make an impact in the two-Test series against the Black Caps starting next month.Coming off the recent Zimbabwe tour where spinners were vital because of the slow, turning tracks, Estwick said the conditions in New Zealand provided the opportunity for the Windies attack to show their quality.“Obviously the spinners played a bigger role in Zimbabwe because the pitches were low and slow and the ball spun quite a bit,” Estwick said following Sunday’s second day of the three-day tour match against New Zealand A.“Here in New Zealand the ball bounces a lot more and carries through a lot more to the keeper, so you expect your fast bowlers to really do the bulk of the bowling.“It was a good that the fast bowlers got a run out [on Sunday]. You’re trying to cover all your bases depending on which pitch turns up in the first Test match.”Frontline pacers Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and captain Jason Holder all turned in solid shifts while Miguel Cummins and the uncapped Raymon Reifer also impressed, as the hosts were dismissed for 231 in their first innings at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval.West Indies had declared at their overnight 451 for nine.Estwick said it was important for the pace attack to use the outing to familiarise themselves with conditions, ahead of the Test series.“They’re trying to get accustomed to the conditions, the different lines and different lengths you have to bowl,” he explained.“The pitches are completely different to what we encountered in Zimbabwe so all in all it was a very good day.”West Indies arrived here last week on a quest to win their first series on New Zealand soil in 22 years. They beat minnows Zimbabwe, 1-0, in a two-Test series in Bulawayo last month, to win their third Test in eight outings this year.Estwick said the Windies’ performances had been improving steadily, and this had been in part owed to the outstanding work from the seamers.“The fast bowlers have gone well for the last year. During that time you would realise we’ve won a Test match in every series so the fast bowlers have been doing a decent job,” he contended.“What we have to try and do now is look to do even better in this series, so the fast bowlers are going to be very, very important. The thing about it is to get some miles in their legs, make sure they’re up and ready to go at New Zealand from ball one.”The first Test gets underway at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on December 1.