Local Briefs

Boback Boback -
Kaufer Kaufer -
Toomey Toomey -

LCTA to host ridership forum,

Facebook Live event March 19

KINGSTON — The Luzerne County Transportation Authority will host a Public Transportation Ridership Forum at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, at the LCTA Corporate Offices, 315 Northampton St., Kingston.

Representatives from LCTA will meet with passengers and discuss the current status of public transit funding in Pennsylvania and the potential impacts on service.

For those unable to attend, LCTA invites them to join via a Facebook Live broadcast of the meeting at www.facebook.com/lctabus.

Additional information and schedules can be found at www.LCTABUS.com

Pa. House committee OKs

Boback vehicle-entry bill

TUNKHANNOCK — The state House Judiciary Committee has unanimously passed legislation authored by Rep. Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake, that would provide civil immunity for damages resulting from forcibly entering a motor vehicle to rescue an individual.

Under House Bill 279, such immunity would be granted based on several criteria, including a belief the individual is in imminent danger of suffering harm and is unable to exit the motor vehicle without assistance. A reasonable attempt to locate the driver and contact law enforcement or an emergency responder must also be made prior to entry.

Boback said similar legislation for rescuing pets became law last session following unanimous passage in both the House and Senate.

Questions about this or any state government issue should be directed to Boback’s Dallas district office at 570-675-6000 or her Tunkhannock office at 570-836-4777.

Kaufer offering events

for vets, disabled people

LUZERNE — State Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-Kingston, plans upcoming events at his office to assist veterans and persons with disabilities.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 21, Brian Stolarski, department service officer with the American Legion, will be at Kaufer’s office to assist veterans, their spouses and their dependents with a range of issues including compensation, pensions, death benefits, education and health care.

On March 27 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Bob Fox, from the Center for Independent Living (CIL), will be available for the Disability Advocacy Program to assist persons with disabilities, ages 18 and over.

Appointments for events must be made in advance by calling Kaufer’s office at 570-283-1001.

Kaufer’s office also provides services at satellite offices:

• Kingston Township, 180 E. Center St., on the second Friday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon.

• Exeter Township, 2305 Route 92, on the third Friday of each month from 9-11 a.m.

• Exeter Borough, 1101 Wyoming Ave., on the third Friday of each month from noon to 2 p.m.

LCCC offering seminar

on concealed carry permit

NANTICOKE — The Luzerne County Community College Public Safety Training Institute is offering a one-day workshop on concealed-carry firearm permits.

The seminar will be Thursday, March 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. The fee is $25.

Topics of discussion will include Pennsylvania’s process for acquiring a permit to carry a concealed firearm, how often a permit needs to be renewed, Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine, the circumstances under which a permit can be revoked, and what to do when coming in contact with a member of law enforcement while carrying a concealed weapon.

For more information or to register to attend, call 570-740-0637 or 800-377-LCCC ext. 7637. You can also go to www.luzerne.edu/publicsafety.

Keller sets senior staff

in quest for Congress seat

HARRISBURG — State Rep. Fred Keller, the Republican nominee in the 12th Congressional District special election, has announced his senior congressional campaign team.

Keller, who represents Union and Snyder counties in the state House, is seeking the U.S. Congress seat left vacant by the resignation of Tom Marino.

Joining Keller’s team:

• Jon Anzur, campaign manager — Anzur most recently managed U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta’s unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate. He served as communications director in Barletta’s Washington, D.C., office and managed Barletta’s successful re-election to Congress in 2016.

• Nan McLaughlin, finance director — McLaughlin’s 25-plus year career includes senior adviser roles in state government, on political campaigns, and in the private sector. McLaughlin worked for former governors Tom Ridge and Tom Corbett.

• Quantum Communications, general consultant — Specializes in strategy, advocacy and media.

Sen. Toomey is targeting

improper Medicaid payments

WASHINGTON — Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care Chairman Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, and Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, are pursuing stronger oversight and integrity of Medicaid payments, of which nearly 10 percent have been improper in recent years. The entire budget for the National Institutes of Health is smaller than the amount of erroneous payments made by Medicaid.

The two senators wrote a letter to Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), saying “to maintain public confidence in such a large commitment of national resources, it is essential to ensure these dollars are spent as Congress intended — namely, to provide specified health and long-term care services for low-income Americans, with a historical focus on the aged, disabled, children, and families. Unfortunately, governmental efforts to ensure Medicaid payments are spent prudently have fallen short.”

Under the traditional Medicaid program, the federal government pays roughly 58 percent of health costs for those eligible. States pick up the remaining amount. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid to cover low-income adults without dependents, but at a cost of 90-plus percent to federal taxpayers, giving states a huge financial incentive to improperly categorize enrollees.

The federal government is required by law to recoup any improper Medicaid eligibility-related payments when they exceed a certain threshold, but CMS has apparently made no efforts since 1992 to recover any of these improper payments.

The senators asked CMS for data on recoveries and eligibility error rates to better understand the depth and breadth of the problem. They also asked CMS to identify any ways that could help enforcement and recovery efforts.