Maximus To Hire Hundreds In Jenkins Twp.

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania h...

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania higlighting Jenkins Township (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JENKINS TWP. — A Virginia government contractor is expanding its operations in Northeastern Pennsylvania with a new service center in CenterPoint Trade Park East promising between 500 and 700 new jobs for the area.

Maximus, a company that provides support for health and human services at all levels of government, expects to occupy its new location sometime in January and will be accepting job applications for the next several months.

The company is filling seats to support its Medicare and Medicaid appeal review operations, which first appeared in the region last April at a smaller center in Moosic with about 100 employees. When Medicare and Medicaid determinations are appealed, Maximus provides an independent review service for those disputed claims. The new building represents Moosic’s expansion.

Modifications to a new building in CenterPoint, which is owned by Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, are likely to be finished by the end of the week. The company plans to set up shop next month, according to Lisa Miles, Maximus’ vice president of investor relations and corporate communications.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/1030582/Maximus-to-hire-hundreds-in-Jenkins-Twp.

Senior Health Expo Thursday, November 14, 9am-1:30pm, Sunnybrook Ballroom

Over 90 vendors - Free lunch - Free tote bag - Door prizes

Expo Workshop Schedule

Brought to you by TriCounty Community Network

9:00am – 9:30am Emergency Preparedness for Seniors

Presented by Robyn Slater, Chester County Department of Emergency Services

9:30am – 10:00am VA Benefits for Seniors

Presented by Tracy Pennycuick, MontgomeryCountyVA

10:00am – 10:30am It’s Not Your Mother’s Senior Center Anymore

Presented by Bob Hager, PottstownAreaSeniorsCenter & Virginia Cox, Boyertown Area Multi-Service

10:30am – 11:00am The Importance of a Will and Power of Attorney

Presented by John A. Koury, O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei

11:00am – 11:30am Senior Living Options

Presented by Stacey Petroff, HomeInstead Senior Care

11:30am – 12:00pm Medicare 101

Presented by Monique Scott, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Sunnybrook Ballroom is located at 50 Sunnybrook Road, Pottstown, PA  19464.  Their website is http://thesunnybrookballroom.net/Home_Page.html

Savings Slow In Reading Purge Of Insurance Rolls

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city had budgeted savings of nearly $900,000 this year by purging its health insurance rolls of ineligible employees, dependents and police retirees.

It also budgeted a contingency fund of $980,000, if the purges didn’t go as planned.

They haven’t.

Managing Director Carole B. Snyder said the city has seen little savings so far because the police retiree purge got bogged down in arbitration and in complex evaluations that may not be complete by year’s end.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=505866

Half Of U.S. Seniors One ‘Shock’ Away From Poverty, Report Warns

NEW YORK  (TheStreet) — Are U.S. seniors “truly vulnerable” to spending their retirement in poverty?

That thought, almost unthinkable almost 15 years ago, is inching closer to reality, says a study from the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute.

Older African-Americans (63%) and Hispanics (70%) are especially vulnerable to spending their golden years in economic peril, the study says, with 48% of all U.S. seniors, or about 19.9 million Americans, “one bad economic shock away” from falling off a financial cliff after age 65 — a fall from which they may not recover.

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/philly/story/half-of-us-seniors-one-shock-away-from-poverty-report-warns/11947636

Hospital Charges A Mystery To Many

If you need hip replacement surgery, you will face a wide range of charges here, depending on the hospital you choose.

Lancaster Regional Medical Center charged the most for major joint replacement surgery, $60,434, of the four hospitals here, according to a recent federal report on 2011 charges.

Across town, Lancaster General Hospital charged the least, $37,761, about $23,000 less than Regional.

But hang on to your crutches, patients.  There’s more.

Though LGH charged the least, Medicare, the federal insurance for the elderly paid it the most of all the hospitals here, $13,400.

Confused yet? Join the club.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/848413_Hospital-charges-a-mystery-to-many.html#ixzz2T2HQPO3o

Reading Health System Lays Off 210 Employees

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The parent company of Reading Hospital, Reading Health System, laid off 210 employees today as part of a cost-cutting plan that also will eliminate an additional 181 jobs through attrition and change the employee retirement package from a defined-benefit pension to a 401(k) plan.

Hospital officials said the cuts are in response to changes in the national health care system, including cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals.

Also, fewer patients are getting elective surgeries because the patients themselves have been laid off or experienced reductions in their medical benefits, said Therese Sucher, chief operating officer.

The cuts are in part due to the 2010 Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which required hospitals to implement electronic health records so all patients and physicians have immediate access to patient information.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=470221

Hazleton General Ranks First In State For Health Care Value

Hazleton General Hospital ranks first in the state in a new measure that the federal government uses to assess value in health care.

Through the Affordable Health Care Act, the federal government will increase or decrease a small percentage of Medicare payments to hospitals based on the ratings.

For the past few years, the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania used federal data and formulas to let hospitals know how they compare under value-based purchasing.

“For Hazleton General Hospital, of 136 hospitals which we have data for, they ranked No. 1,” Martin Ciccocioppo, vice president of research for the hospital association, said.  “Out of the whole country … Hazleton General Hospital, in our analysis, is 23 of 2,843.”

Read more: http://standardspeaker.com/news/hazleton-general-ranks-first-in-state-for-health-care-value-1.1469528

President Proposing Tax Hikes

WASHINGTON — Seeking an elusive middle ground, President Barack Obama is proposing a 2014 budget that embraces tax increases abhorred by Republicans as well as reductions, loathed by liberals, in the growth of Social Security and other benefit programs.

The plan, if ever enacted, could touch almost all Americans.  The rich would see tax increases, the poor and the elderly would get smaller annual increases in their benefits, and middle income taxpayers would slip into higher tax brackets despite Obama’s repeated vows not to add to the tax burden of the middle class.  His proposed changes, once phased in, would mean a cut in Social Security benefits of nearly $1,000 a year for an average 85-year-old, smaller cuts for younger retirees.

Obama proposed much the same without success to House Speaker John Boehner in December. The response Friday was dismissive from Republicans and hostile from liberals, labor and advocates for the elderly.

But the proposal aims to tackle worrisome deficits that are adding to the national debt and placing a long-term burden on the nation, prompting praise from independent deficit hawks.  Obama’s budget also proposes new spending for public works projects, pre-school education and for job and benefit assistance for veterans.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/national-news/412726/President-proposing-tax-hikes

Obamacare Regs Force Medical Business Out Of Downtown Pottstown

Editor’s note:  This sucks!

POTTSTOWN — A medical equipment supply business that has been quietly thriving in downtown Pottstown is set to move the bulk of its operation to Oaks this spring, taking as many as 75 jobs with it.

Royal Medical Supply’s 34 E. High St. location will remain open and return it to its original purpose, a showroom, said Roy Repko, who founded the company in Royersford in 1984 with his father-in-law and brother-in-law.

Even as late as the 1990s, the majority of its business was comprised of referrals from Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, Phoenixville Hospital and the Pottstown Area Visiting Nurse Association.

But now it’s the big providers: Medicaid, Medicare, Blue Cross, Aetna, Cigna and United Health Care.

 

House, Senate Approve ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Bill

Official portrait of United States House Speak...

Official portrait of United States House Speaker (R-Ohio). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Well it’s about damn time!

WASHINGTON — Congress’ excruciating, extraordinary New Year’s Day approval of a compromise averting a prolonged tumble off the fiscal cliff hands President Barack Obama most of the tax boosts on the rich that he campaigned on.  It also prevents House Republicans from facing blame for blocking tax cuts for most American households, though most GOP lawmakers parted ways with Speaker John Boehner and opposed the measure.

Passage also lays the groundwork for future battles between the two sides over federal spending and debt.

Capping a holiday season political spectacle that featured enough high and low notes for a Broadway musical, the GOP-run House voted final approval for the measure by 257-167 late Tuesday.  That came after the Democratic-led Senate used a wee-hours 89-8 roll call to assent to the bill, belying the partisan brinkmanship that colored much of the path to the final deal.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=440254

House Republicans Balk At Deal; Fiscal Cliff Coming

WASHINGTON — Last-minute efforts to step back from the “fiscal cliff” ran into trouble on Tuesday as Republicans in the House of Representatives balked at a deal that would prevent Washington from pushing the world’s biggest economy into a recession.

House Republicans complained that a bill passed by the Senate in a late-night show of unity to prevent a budget crisis contained tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans but no spending cuts.  Some conservatives sought to change the bill to add cuts.

That would set up a high-stakes showdown between the two chambers and risk a stinging rebuke from financial markets that are due to open in Asia in a few hours.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-fiscal-cliff-reuters-20130101,0,6257078.story

Senate Approves “Fiscal Cliff” Deal, Crisis Eased

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate moved the U.S. economy back from the edge of a “fiscal cliff” on Tuesday, voting to avoid imminent tax hikes and spending cuts in a bipartisan deal that could still face stiff challenges in the House of Representatives.

In a rare New Year’s session at around 2 a.m. EST (0700 GMT), senators voted 89-8 to raise some taxes on the wealthy while making permanent low tax rates on the middle class that have been in place for a decade.

But the measure did little to rein in huge annual budget deficits that have helped push the U.S. debt to $16.4 trillion.

The agreement came too late for Congress to meet its own deadline of New Year’s Eve for passing laws to halt $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts which strictly speaking came into force on Tuesday.

Read more:  http://www.nbr.com/news/story?id=tag%3Areuters.com%2C0000%3Anewsml_BRE8A80WV#.UOMJA-TAdcz

Progress Seen In Last-Minute ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Talks

English: President Barack Obama addresses a jo...

English: President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of the United States Congress in the chamber of the House of Representatives at the United States Capitol on 24 February 2009. Español: Presidente Barack Obama dando un discurose por una sesión conjunta del Congreso de los Estados Unidos en la cámara de la Cámara de Representantes en el Capitolio de los Estados Unidos, 24 de febrero de 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — Working against a midnight deadline, negotiators for the White House and congressional Republicans in Congress narrowed their differences today on legislation to avert across-the-board tax increases.

Congressional officials familiar with talks between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said one major remaining sticking point was whether to postpone spending cuts that are scheduled to begin on Jan 1.

Republicans want to replace across-the-board reductions with targeted cuts elsewhere in the budget, and the White House and Democrats were resisting.

At the same time, Democrats said the two sides were closing in on an agreement over taxes.  They said the White House had proposed blocking an increase for most Americans, while letting rates rise for individuals with incomes of $400,000 a year and $450,000 for couples, a concession from President Barack Obama’s campaign call to set the levels at $200,000 and $250,000.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/Article.aspx?id=439707

Berks Hospitals Get High Ratings

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Medical treatment available at Reading Hospital and St. Joseph Medical Center is as good as or better than any other hospital in Pennsylvania.

But the cost of that treatment is more expensive at Reading Hospital, 16 percent more expensive on average.

The Hospital Performance Report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council measures the in-hospital death and readmission rate of all hospitals in the state in 2011.  A readmission is defined as being admitted to the hospital within 30 days of being hospitalized for the same condition.

It also measures the average cost for treating some common medical conditions.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=437228

Health Care Law Includes $63 Annual Fee Per Person

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON – Your medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably are, too. It’s a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say.  Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers.

Employee benefits lawyer Chantel Sheaks calls it a “sleeper issue” with significant financial consequences, particularly for large employers.

“Especially at a time when we are facing economic uncertainty, (companies will) be hit with a multimillion dollar assessment without getting anything back for it,” said Sheaks, a principal at Buck Consultants, a Xerox subsidiary.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=434478

Small Increase Likely In Social Security Benefits

Seal of the United States Social Security Admi...

Seal of the United States Social Security Administration. It appears on Social Security cards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON – Social Security recipients shouldn’t expect a big increase in monthly benefits come January.

Preliminary figures show the annual benefit boost will be between 1 percent and 2 percent, which would be among the lowest since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975. Monthly benefits for retired workers now average $1,237, meaning the typical retiree can expect a raise of between $12 and $24 a month.

The size of the increase will be made official Tuesday, when the government releases inflation figures for September. The announcement is unlikely to please a big group of voters – 56 million people get benefits – just three weeks before elections for president and Congress.

The cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is tied to a government measure of inflation adopted by Congress in the 1970s. It shows that consumer prices have gone up by less than 2 percent in the past year.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=421002