Last updated: November 16. 2013 10:56PM - 1486 Views

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Expedite sharing

of health records

Not long ago, I injured my knee and discovered something else in the process: a severe sprain in the medical information system.

Here’s the story:

The emergency room took X-rays and an MRI and referred me to an orthopedist. He reviewed the tests and sent me to a specialist.

But my specialist – an expert in his field – suddenly found himself unable to read those very X-rays and MRI results because his electronic records system wasn’t compatible with the one at the hospital that ran the tests.

In a world where Mac users can read Word documents and cable subscribers can view the same shows as satellite owners, why can’t one doctor’s electronic record system read another’s?

What we need is a Health Information Exchange – a system designed to allow any medical provider to view records and tests sent by another.

We have just such a proposal on the table right now. Earlier this year, Gov. Tom Corbett proposed a sweeping health coverage plan called “Healthy Pennsylvania.” While most of the attention has focused on how to broaden medical coverage using federal dollars, one of the other details involves the use of telemedicine and a commitment to the state’s eHealth Partnership Authority.

The PA eHealth Partnership Authority is designed to expand the statewide use of electronic sharing of health records among health care providers. After all, it makes no sense for insurance providers to shell out thousands of dollars for tests at one hospital if they can’t be read at another. People move around. So should their health information.

The authority is responsible for managing a $17.1 million grant from the federal Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH. They will use this money to establish a health information exchange in Pennsylvania, including a Community Shared Services computer platform and a Public Health Gateway.

Along with making it possible for one doctor to receive and read patient records and test results forwarded by another, the platform will also enable providers to submit any required information to the state Department of Health and the Department of Public Welfare. The less time spent struggling with records, the more time spent on actual medicine.

We can achieve better health outcomes and a stronger system of collaboration among health care professionals with this authority, and the Corbett administration’s “Healthy Pennsylvania” proposal will help to make this happen.

Dr. Gaspere C. (Gus) Geraci

Vice president

Physician Leadership in Quality and Value

Pennsylvania Medical Society


Chairman, Board of the Pennsylvania

eHealth Partnership Authority

Honor veterans

in meaningful way

Coming from a military family, my three uncles and my father were in World War II, I commend all the people who took time to honor our veterans on Veterans Day. Jermyn had a wonderful service at the World War I Memorial Park.

We should never forget the sacrifices made by these heroes; some didn’t make it home, but those who did struggled greatly throughout their lives because of the horrors they experienced on the battlefield.

My uncle, Myron Orinick, landed on D-Day, was wounded and lost most of his battalion. He never spoke about it, but I know he carried those scars. That’s why it is so important to acknowledge their sacrifices, from something as simple as shaking their hand and thanking them for their service to our country to giving to organizations that help the veterans.

One of these organizations is the Independence Fund. The Independence Fund is “an entirely 100 percent, all-volunteer nonprofit whose board of directors is comprised entirely of combat veterans,” according to its website. The mission statement of the fund is: To provide the tools, therapies and guidance to those veterans severely injured in the line of duty that they are otherwise not receiving. On the website, people will see that there is a wide array of services available.

If someone wants to donate, or a veteran needs help, they should check out the site at independencefund.org.

Let us always remember that “freedom isn’t free,” and we must never forget those who were willing to give our country the last measure of their devotion.

Barbara Yanchek


Family grateful

for fundraiser

To all the wonderful volunteers who worked so hard and gave their time and efforts to the fundraiser for Juliana Ziomkowki at the Ashley Fire Hall on Oct. 19, a heartfelt thank-you.

Thank you so much to each person: those who prepared food or served in the kitchen, baked, donated beautiful baskets or gift certificates, handled games, received attendees at the doorway, businesses that gave so generously, the great bands, deejay, the dancers who kept the beat of the day and those who attended and have kept Juliana in their prayers. Thanks also to the Ashley Fire Department for the hall and grounds use, the participants of the antique car and motorcycle runs, and the small but mighty Sugar Notch Fire Department, whose members did so much to make it all happen.

Thank you. Love you all!

Stan, Bonnie, Juliana

and Blake Ziomkowski

Sugar Notch

Newspaper vital

to essay contest

On behalf of the Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Generation 2 Generation and the 2013 Essay Contest Committee, I thank The Times Leader, General Manager Walt Lafferty and employees Rosemary Isopi, Bill O’Boyle, and Mary Therese Biebel for their support to the 2013 essay contest, titled “Lessons Learned From My Mentor.”

With more than 300 entries, the contest was a huge success.

The goals of the contest were to publicly demonstrate the positive influences of mentors on the individual and the community and to show how those influences provide guidance for each of us through the years. Because of The Times Leader’s recognition and support of the value of the project, we succeeded.

Thank you for supporting our effort and making our community a better place to live.

Michael Zimmerman

Chief executive

Family Service Association

of Northeastern Pennsylvania


Chairman, 2013 Essay Committee


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