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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Senator Fontana was joined by nurses from around Pennsylvania on May 10 for a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda on his Senate Bill 1081 (SB 1081) that would improve staffing and the quality of care at Pennsylvania’s hospitals.

Senator Fontana was joined by nurses from around Pennsylvania on May 10 for
a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda on his Senate Bill 1081 (SB 1081) that would improve staffing
and the quality of care at Pennsylvania’s hospitals.

Nurses Rally in Support of Fontana Bill on Hospital Staffing and Care

According to a new study by the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission, Pennsylvania health care facilities have fewer registered nurses per patient than the U.S. average.  Furthermore, studies have shown that nursing levels are associated with lower instances of hospital acquired infections, fewer poor patient outcomes and lower mortality rates, as well as lower turnover costs and increased patient satisfaction.  Feeling that patients and their families should be entitled to know this kind of information to make smart choices about their medical care, I have introduced Senate Bill 1081 (SB 1081) that would require hospitals to issue daily reports on their nursing staff levels, including nurse turnover rates and the ratio of nurses to patients.  

Nurses RallySpecifically, SB 1081 would require hospitals to compile and maintain daily reports in each patient care unit, including:  

  • Staffing levels for Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Certified Nursing Assistants (CAN), and other unlicensed personnel responsible for direct patient care;
  • The ratio of patients to RNs, LPNs, CNAs and unlicensed direct care personnel;
  • RN, LPN and CAN turnover rates.

This legislation would mandate that unit staffing reports be posted publically in patient care areas.  The Department of Health would compile and publish quarterly reports on staffing levels for each Pennsylvania hospital.  In addition, whistle blower protections would be put in place to offer security for the hospital workforces who speak up about staffing quality of care issues in their facility. 

Last week, dozens of nurses rallied in the state Capitol Rotunda to show support for my bill. 
Not only would this common sense legislation require hospitals to be transparent, held accountable and provide the best quality of care possible, but it will also enable nurses and other direct care workers to make decisions about where they want to seek employment.  After all, people wouldn’t buy a house without reading the inspection report; and they wouldn’t buy a car without checking the vehicle history. 

Especially with the absence of clear federal regulations to report such numbers, the responsibility to provide a safer environment for patients and staff alike is one that hospitals throughout the commonwealth should embrace.  Pennsylvania residents shouldn’t be forced to choose a hospital without the information they need to make an educated choice. 

Senate Bill 1081 is currently located in the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare.

prescription drugsProperty Tax/Rent Rebate Program

The deadline to file for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue 2015 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is June 30.  If you filed a paper rebate last year, you should have received a 2015 application by now.  If you have not received an application, or did not apply last year and wish to apply this year, applications are available at www.revenue.pa.gov or at my district offices, and my staff would be happy to assist you in preparing your application.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and over; widows and widowers age 50 and over; and people with disabilities age 18 and over.  Homeowners with a maximum yearly income of $35,000 and renters with a maximum yearly income of $15,000 are eligible for a rebate.  Keep in mind half of Social Security income is excluded.  Some applicants who previously received rebates may continue to qualify despite Social Security cost-of-living adjustments that may have pushed their income past eligibility limits.

Office Schedule

I want to remind everyone of my district office schedule including my satellite and mobile office hours throughout the 42nd Senatorial District.  Please visit any of these offices to have my staff assist you in any state-related matter.  There also is a public notary available at each office.

 

Brookline
932 Brookline Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA  15226
Phone – 412-344-2551
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Beechview (satellite office)
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15216
Phone – 412-343-2080
Tuesdays, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plaza, 500 Pine Hollow Road
Kennedy Twp., PA  15136
Phone – 412-331-1208
Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Northside Mobile Office
Carnegie Library
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15212
Wednesdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Lawrenceville Mobile Office
Carnegie Library
279 Fisk Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15201
Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

FontanaFest

Save the Date! – 12th Annual FontanaFest

I want to remind everyone that the 12th Annual FontanaFest will once again be held at Highmark Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds!  Save the date – Saturday, August 20 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Once again, parking will be free in the stadium’s West Lot, compliments of Forest City! 

The annual community event is perfect for families and children, promoting healthy and active lifestyles by providing many fun activities and crafts.  Children will also have the chance to play on several inflatables, an obstacle course, and a climbing wall.  All Attendees also are provided with the opportunity to engage with several organizations from around the region and receive important information on available services and programs, nutrition, health care, jobs and jobs training.  I’m also thrilled that once again this year, students from Pittsburgh Musical Theatre will join us to perform!  The Pirate Parrot will once again be in attendance among others!

Stay tuned throughout the summer for updates on the schedule of events, participants, and more.

National Bike Month

National Bike MonthThe Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is encouraging people to get their bicycles and find a trail as a way to get outdoors during May, which is National Bike Month.  This week also marks Bike to Work Week.

DCNR is a partner in Get Outdoors PA, which helps people become better connected to the outdoors and helps them to grow their appreciation for the protection of Pennsylvania’s special places by offering many recreation programs throughout Pennsylvania including in state parks and forests.  Get Outdoors PA provides a calendar of guided bike outings available throughout the state.  These events can be found by visiting http://getoutdoorspa.org/activities/biking or clicking here.

Did You Know…

Did you know that Pennsylvania has more than 11,000 miles of bike trails, including more than 100 former rail lines turned into trails?

Great American Cleanup

Great American Clean Up Pennsylvania Great American Clean Up Pennsylvania This year’s Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania runs through the end of the month.  This project is an annual effort organized by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful with the goal of keeping our communities clean and green, and improving the overall quality of life for everyone. 

If you are interested in volunteering, please visit www.gacofpa.org where you can find a listing of cleanup events, resources for organizing a cleanup, and other information.  These events can include cleaning up litter and trash along roadsides, streams, parks, forests and in neighborhoods, the planting of bulbs and trees and removing graffiti.   Anyone interested in registering a cleanup event can do so at www.gacofpa.org.  All registered events being held through May 31 are eligible for free work gloves, safety vests, and trash bags while supplies last, courtesy of PennDOT and Keep America Beautiful.

Once again this year, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is also offering the Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania Video Contest, where event organizers can submit a video of their cleanup event and win a cash prize as well as having their video posted online.  More information on the Video Contest can also be found at www.gacofpa.org.   The deadline to submit a video is June 3.

farmers marketLawrenceville Farmers’ Market

The Lawrenceville Farmers’ Market is returning in 2016 but at a new location.  This year’s Farmers’ Market will be held in Arsenal Park beginning Saturday, June 4, from 1 – 4 p.m. and will run each Saturday until October 29.  Arsenal Park is located between 39th and 40th Streets and between Penn and Butler Streets.  The market will be located on the 40th Street side of Arsenal Park.  For more information on the 2016 Lawrenceville Farmers’ Market, please contact the Cassandra Malis, the Market Manager at market@lunited.org or visit Lawrenceville United online at www.lunited.org.

Liberty tunnelFontana Fact

The Liberty Tunnel, which is undergoing a much needed rehabilitation, first opened in 1924.  At that time the 5,700 foot facility was the longest artificially ventilated automobile tunnel in the world.

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Fax: 412-344-3400
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
Harrisburg
543 Main Capitol
Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plaza
524 Pine Hollow Road
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Fax: 412-331-2079
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
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Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Phone: 412-343-2080
Fax: 412-343-2418
Tuesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Northside (Mobile Office)
Carnegie Library
Allegheny Branch
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wednesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Lawrenceville (Mobile Office)
Carnegie Library
279 Fisk Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Thursdays - 11 am - 4 pm
Sen. Fontana Remarks During the Hospital Staffing & Care Rally