|By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)
Lyme disease is a top health concern in Pennsylvania, which leads the nation in the number of cases. Funding was included in the 2018-19 state budget, which took effect July 1, to help combat the spread of Lyme disease and treat those affected by the debilitating illness.
The $2.5 million allocation will go toward 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.
Other health-related funding priorities in the new budget 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.
To help ensure a more efficient delivery of human services programs, the Human Services Code portion of the 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.
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office