Berks Slips In Annual Statewide Health Ranking

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

For the first time in three years, Berks County slipped three spots in the annual health ranking of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

But while Berks dropped to 17th best for health outcomes, the overall health outlook for residents remained much the same.

The statistics used to determine the rankings – low birth weights, premature deaths and residents’ reports of being in fair or poor physical or mental health – were nearly identical to last year’s.

“I think overall we have a lot of work to do,” said Mary Hahn, St. Joseph Regional Health Network’s vice president of strategy and business development.  “A lot of it does start beyond the walls of hospitals and doctors offices.”

Read more:

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: