On February 22, 2013, Senator Bob Casey addressed state, county, and local officials, health care and other business executives from northeastern and central Pennsylvania, as well as the executives, board members, physicians, practitioners, and other staff members of Allied Services Integrated Health System at their annual Legislative Breakfast at Allied Services in Scranton.
The Honorable Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Senator Casey opened his remarks with stories of the care his father, the late Governor Bob Casey, received at Allied Services after his heart and liver transplant, as well as by his daughter when she was a child. Senator Casey expressed concern with the difficulty of compromises between cutting spending and increasing revenues. “It must be done,” he said, “to prevent the implementation of across-the-board, non strategic cuts that would devastate the economy.”
He quoted statistics that say it will mean the loss of 78,000 Pennsylvania jobs, as well as cuts to benefits provided to 600,000 women and children nationwide. “’Entitlements’ is a word that is bandied about, and I don’t like it. I prefer the word ‘promises,’” said the Senator.
One bill currently proposed by Senator Casey is called the ABLE Act. He explained that it would allow families of those with disabilities to save money tax free, just like parents do for children’s college tuition. Parents of children with conditions like autism would be able to save tax free for their children’s care. “This bill has rare bipartisan agreement,” said the Senator. “We will need more going forward to pass it.”
President and CEO William P. Conaboy, Esq.
Bill Conaboy, Esq., President/CEO of Allied Services expressed concern with how proposed cuts to Medicare will affect the patients, residents, clients, and consumers who are served by Allied. He shared concerns with how the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will further affect the care the organization will be able to continue to provide to those individuals.
Attorney Conaboy reminded the audience of value of Allied Services to the Community. He announced that Allied Rehab and Heinz Rehab were recently ranked in the top one and two percent of rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. He spoke of the 400-bed Skilled Nursing and Rehab Centers being one of the largest in the commonwealth, and how it was recognized for its highly specialized services and compassionate care. And he addressed the economic impact of the organization, with 3,000 family sustaining jobs, with benefits.
“We are a system on the move,” said Attorney Conaboy. “Allied is one of the first post-acute health care organizations in the country to invest in an electronic medical records system, which will insure we remain on the cutting edge of health care. This multi-million dollar, multi-year investment is being fully paid for by Allied Services, with no government reimbursement.”
Health Care Leaders Provide Feedback
A question and answer session followed the Senator’s address. He was asked about Medicaid cuts, and expressed strong displeasure at those who suggest drastic cuts. He stated that people need to be reminded that, not only does it provide excellent health care for children, but it funds long term care for not only the middle class, but even the upper middle class. He addressed a number of additional questions, such as how the nation will prepare to handle the increase in care needed as baby boomers reach 65.
Tour Features New Technology
Following the breakfast, Dr. Michael Wolk, Medical Director of Allied Services gave a tour of the rehab hospital to legislators. He and physical therapists displayed the Zero G, a state-of-the-art over-ground body-weight support which helps treat stroke and brain injury patients, as well as other patients with neurological injuries, relearn to walk. Dr. Wolk explained that amputation patients also use it to learn to use a new prosthetic. Allied Rehab Hospital and Heinz Rehab Hospital are two of only about a dozen rehabilitation hospitals in the country to have this technology.