Dec. 06, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong#  The latest news from the State Capitol
 
Putting PA on the Path to Better Health


With the goal of building a #HealthierPA, I was pleased to join my fellow lawmakers in supporting several bills designed to remove barriers to treatment and better assess behavioral health and other needs.

When dealing with cancer, time is of the essence. We passed the Fair Access to Treatment Act (House Bill 427) to give Stage IV cancer patients easier access to alternative, innovative treatment options. Under current law, patients have to first fail on one FDA-approved drug consistent with best practices for Stage IV metastatic cancer treatment before another would be covered by their insurance.

To help people in need of addiction treatment, House Bill 1024 would prohibit facilities from denying treatment to an individual based solely on a negative drug test.

To better understand our capacity to address behavioral health needs, House Resolution 268 would direct the Joint State Government Commission to study the impact of behavioral health treatment needs and behavioral health care system capacity on hospital emergency departments and patient health.

Finally, House Bill 1662 would require suboxone/buprenorphine-related deaths to be included in the Medication Death and Incident Review Act so any deeper issues can be addressed, such as a pill-pushing doctor or treatment facility.

Each of these bills is pending action in the Senate. Learn more about our #HealthierPA initiative here.
 
 
Protect Your Personal, Financial Data


In recognition of National Tax Security Awareness Week, the state Department of Revenue outlined several tips to help protect yourself from identity thieves:

  •   Shop at websites where the web address begins “https” – the “s” is for secure communications.
  •   Don’t shop on unsecured public Wi-Fi in malls or hotels, where thieves can tap in.
  •   Secure your home Wi-Fi with a password.
  •   Use security software for computers and mobile phones; keep it updated.
  •   Protect your personal information; don’t hand it out to just anyone.
  •   Use strong and unique passwords for your accounts.
  •   Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  •   Back up your files on computers and mobile phones.

You should also be on the lookout for “phishing” scams in your email. Identity thieves sometimes pose as companies or government agencies you know, such as the IRS or state Department of Revenue. Other phishing emails may tell an urgent story to trick you into opening a link or attachment that ultimately adds a virus or spyware onto your computer.

Finally, the IRS or Department of Revenue will never call to demand a tax payment on a gift card.

If you are a victim of identity theft or discover a fraudulent Pennsylvania personal income tax return was filed using your identity, please contact the Department of Revenue’s Fraud Detection and Analysis Unit at 717-772-9297 or RA-RVPITFRAUD@pa.gov.

For more information on ways to protect yourself, click here.
 
 
Give the Gift of Fishing!


Just in time for Christmas, 2020 fishing licenses, permits and gift vouchers are now available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).

All fishing licenses and related permits purchased now are valid for up to 13 months, from December 2019 through Dec. 31, 2020. Licenses and permits can be purchased at www.gonefishingpa.com, or from any of more than 700 issuing agents, county treasurers’ offices and all PFBC regional offices.

The price of an annual resident fishing license is $22.90. Multi-year options are also available in three-, five- and 10-year increments. The most popular add-ons, a trout-salmon permit and a Lake Erie permit, cost $9.90 each, or $15.90 for a combination permit. A collectible fishing license button is available for $10.

You may also purchase voluntary permits for Bass, Musky, Wild Trout and Enhanced Waters, and Habitat/Waterways Conservation. These permits are not required for fishing and carry no additional privileges, but all funds generated through them are reinvested into their respective program.

While youth anglers under age 16 do not require a fishing license, they must have either a Voluntary Youth Fishing License ($2.90) or a free Mentored Youth Fishing Permit to participate in various youth opportunities throughout the season. This includes the Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Days, which occur the week before the opening of the regional and statewide openers in each area.

For more information, visit www.fishandboat.com.
 
 
Helping You Save Money on Prescriptions


Seeking to increase transparency in prescription drug pricing, the House approved some long-overdue legislation to ensure pharmacists would be permitted to disclose cost-related information to patients.

For some less expensive, generic medicines, co-pays can often be more expensive than if the patient simply pays out-of-pocket and bypasses insurance. However, companies that manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers often include in their contracts a “gag clause” that prevents pharmacists from sharing this information with their customers.

House Bill 943 would put an end to the use of a gag clause and ensure pharmacists are empowered to help their customers by sharing information that could save them money on their out-of-pocket costs for medications, not to mention their overall health care.

The measure was approved unanimously as part of the House #HealthierPA package of bills. Learn more about that initiative here.
 
 
Steer Clear of Fraudulent Dog License Website


Attention dog owners! As you look to license your dog for the 2020 calendar year, watch out for a fraudulent website selling licenses online.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued the warning after identifying www.padoglicense.online as selling fake Pennsylvania dog licenses and even paying search engines to appear at the top of search results pages for common terms, like “Pennsylvania dog license” or “renew PA dog license.”

If you’d like to purchase a license online, type www.licenseyourdogpa.pa.gov directly into your browser’s address bar.

You may also purchase your license from the county treasurer. Each county treasurer has a different process, and while most offer an online option, some do not and require a paper form to be dropped off or mailed.

For more information about the state’s Dog Law and licensing requirements, click here.
 
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RepSimmons.com
Office Locations
21 N. Main Street, Unit 9, Coopersburg, PA 18036 | Phone: (610) 282-0160
191 Main St., Suite 104, Emmaus, PA 18049 I Phone: (610) 965-5830
56 W. Fourth St., Second Floor, Red Hill, PA 18076 I Phone: (215) 679-3152
5 East Wing, PO Box 202131, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2131 | (717) 783-1673
Email: jsimmons@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
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