Driver in Shippensburg Hit & Run Arrested

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa.– UPDATE (February 19) FOX 43: Police have arrested the driver in a hit & run incident that left two parked vehicles totaled.

Thanh Q Ly, 36, is facing accidents involving damage to unattended vehicle or property, reckless driving, and immediate notice of accident to police department charges.

The striking vehicle, a black Land Rover SUV, was located in Ly’s driveway on Hollar Ave. in Shippensburg.

It had significant front end damage.

Ly admitted to police that he was the one driving the vehicle when it struck the two parked cars and fled because he was scared.

Now, he is facing charges.

PREVIOUSLY: Police are searching for an SUV with heavy front right and right side damage following a hit-and-run incident that left two parked vehicles totaled.

On February 17 around 11:25 p.m., a black Land Rover SUV was driving eastbound on E. King St. and stayed straight at the curve just after King & Prince Street and struck two unoccupied parked vehicles, totaling both.

After the crash, the driver fled north on Route 11 towards the intersection of King St. and Walnut Bottom Road.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Shippensburg Police at 717-532-7361 or via the tip form on the website.

Court Rule Change Would Create Health Care Crisis, House Majority Policy Committee Learns

2/14/2019 HARRISBURG – Seeking to prevent a health care crisis in Pennsylvania, physicians, administrators, attorneys and industry professionals told members of the House Majority Policy Committee during a public hearing in Harrisburg today that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court must not change a rule dealing with medical malpractice lawsuits.

“There is a pending proposal that would reverse progress that has been made to ensure access for all Pennsylvanians, regardless of ZIP codes, to quality health care,” said Policy Committee Chairman Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest). “This proposed action has the potential to cripple the state’s health care industry and break the valued bond between a patient and his or her doctor. This could put health care into a crisis situation. This hearing is designed to raise awareness of the issue in an attempt to let the court know how harmful this decision could be.”

The court is currently considering whether to unilaterally repeal a rule that prevents medical malpractice plaintiffs from filing civil lawsuits in counties with more favorable jury payouts, namely Philadelphia. The rule was initially adopted as part of a series of reforms – developed by all three branches of government in 2002 and 2003 – to help stabilize the insurance market. This was necessary to alleviate skyrocketing and unavailable malpractice insurance, particularly in high-risk specialties such as obstetrics, orthopedics and neurosurgery.

Since the rule was implemented in the early 2000s, medical malpractice insurance rates stabilized, keeping doctors practicing in Pennsylvania and alleviating a shortage of physicians and specialists. In fact, the average number of medical malpractice cases filed statewide since the high of 2,094 in 2002 is 1,599. According to Kevin Cottone, law partner at White and Williams, LLP, annual medical malpractice filings have remained fairly consistent since 2009.

“The reduction in filings demonstrates that the tort reform measures enacted more than 15 years ago by the Legislature and the Supreme Court are working. Nothing in the data indicates that requiring plaintiffs to bring suit in the county in which the medical malpractice claim arose deprives alleged victims of access to the courts,” Cottone added.

Those who testified also agreed that it continues to make logical sense that the county in which the alleged action took place should be the one where a case is filed, instead of a jurisdiction with no real connection to the alleged harm.

Cottone argued that in an era of ever-consolidating health care systems, physicians who practice in any part of the state could easily be dragged to Philadelphia or any other remote location because of any type of business affiliation. That leads to inherent unfairness within the system.

All at the hearing agreed that doctors’ insurance premiums would skyrocket, and that would pose undue hardships on physicians, health care facilities and ultimately, patients – risking access to care.

Since word of the proposed repeal was made public in December, Noah Karn of the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania said his organization and others have sought out guidance on how a repeal would impact insurance rates. He reported that preliminary findings indicate a repeal of the current rule would cause a significant increase in medical malpractice premiums, especially in urban and suburban markets, with high-end specialists being most directly impacted.

“This proposed venue rule change could threaten patient access to quality physician care,” said Dr. Danae Powers, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. “The increased cost may place providers and hospitals under greater financial strain. The concern is that many rural hospitals, already struggling to remain solvent, will be further threatened with closure. We must learn from history. We have stabilized the situation. Let’s not destabilize it again.”

The hearing also included written remarks from an emergency physician with more than 40 years of experience.

“If this proposed rule change is adopted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the cost of malpractice premiums would again continue to rise, indirectly causing patients to pay higher medical costs, and it would impact recruitment of physicians in non-urban areas,” wrote Harry Kintzi, M.D. “There would be an increase in malpractice filings, and only the trial attorneys along with a few plaintiffs would benefit to the detriment of most patients, doctors and the health care system. I believe the current laws were enacted in good faith for the betterment of all patients and the health care system in Pennsylvania. Please leave the current [rule] in place.”

Hospitals, which pay many physicians’ premiums, also face the higher costs. According to Mark Zolfaghari with St. Luke’s University Health Network, the rule change would cost more than $50 million per year. The increases in premiums would be absorbed through increased health care costs.

He also explained that the rule change could also reverse or halt educational and health care partnerships, such as the one St. Luke’s has with Temple University in Philadelphia, or the recruitment of physicians in high-risk specialists or underserved areas.

Not only would physician and hospitals face the consequences, but so would the long-term care community.

“For the last 10 years, the long-term care sector has been under attack from predatory, out-of-state law firms who have come here from other states with one goal in mind: to file hundreds of lawsuits against providers. Big or small, national chain or a single facility, they don’t care — everybody is a target,” said Diane Johnson, regional director of Operations for HCR ManorCare, a national long-term care and rehabilitation company that currently operates 42 skilled nursing facilities and 10 memory care facilities. “The threat of a jackpot award, even for a frivolous claim, is very much a ‘dark cloud’ that hangs over our sector and affects the way we operate.”

She also noted that for every Medicaid resident they care for, nearly $2,000 of each patient’s care rate each year is used to help pay to defend the barrage of frivolous lawsuits. That health care sector spent more than $100 million Medicaid dollars to help pay litigation costs and liability insurance last year alone.

Also testifying at today’s hearing at the state Capitol was Christopher Addis, M.D., Penn Medicine/Lancaster General Health, and written remarks were submitted by David O’Gurek, M.D, president of Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians; Daniel Durst, Esq., Chief Rules Committees Counsel, Civil Procedural Rules Committee; and Cynthia Buchman of Good Shepherd Hospital in Allentown. Additionally, letters to the court have been submitted by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), along with Judiciary Chairman Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin).

In part, the letter submitted by Turzai and Cutler asked the court to preserve the rule: “Doing so would preserve a significant piece of a multi-branch public policy effort that has a 15-year track record of success in keeping the practice of medicine affordable and accessible throughout our Commonwealth. The current rule struck a proper constitutional balance between the branches, and we will use the powers delegated to us as we stand behind the medical professionals who want to provide the best quality of care at affordable rates.”

Oberlander emphasized that residents can do their part to ensure their voices are heard by visiting PAGOPPolicy.com and sharing with the court how such a rule change could impact their health care.

Representative Donna Oberlander

63rd District

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton

717.705.2094

Oberlander Thanks Surpreme Court for Delaying Venue Rule Change

Oberlander Thanks Supreme Court for Delaying Venue Rule Change

2/14/2019 HARRISBURG – House Majority Policy Committee Chairman Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) today thanked Chief Justice Thomas Saylor and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for holding off on its consideration of a proposal to repeal the current rule that prevents venue shopping in medical malpractice cases. The adoption of the proposal would negatively impact access to health care statewide. Their decision came soon after Oberlander concluded a public hearing today.

In a letter to House leaders, Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), the Supreme Court noted it would wait for a report from the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee regarding the impact of the proposal.

“I am happy to see that the Supreme Court is doing its due diligence and taking into consideration all of the many viewpoints we have heard over the past few weeks to save our health care,” said Oberlander. “As we have seen by the attention this issue has attracted since December, residents’ health care could be put at great risk, and I’m glad that the Supreme Court is taking this matter so seriously. Because this rule change could have such an impact, we may revisit the venue issue in the future.”

Earlier today, Oberlander and the House Majority Policy Committee held a public hearing with physicians, attorneys and health care providers regarding a proposal to the Supreme Court that would repeal a court rule prohibiting venue shopping. This pending proposal would reverse progress that has been made to ensure health care access for all Pennsylvanians. This hearing raised further awareness of the issue in an attempt to let the court know how harmful this decision could be.

Specifically, the Policy Committee learned the reduction in filings demonstrates that the tort reform measures enacted more than 15 years ago by the Legislature and the Supreme Court are working. Those who testified also agreed that it continues to make logical sense that the county in which the alleged action took place should be the one where a case is filed, instead of a jurisdiction with no real connection to the alleged harm. All at the hearing agreed that doctors’ insurance premiums would skyrocket, and that would pose undue hardships on physicians, health care facilities and ultimately, patients – risking access to care.

In spite of the letter, residents are encouraged to continue sending their comments to the court by visiting PAGOPPolicy.com.

Representative Donna Oberlander

63rd District

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jennifer Keaton

717.705.2094

Cutler Applauds Court for Reviewing Venue Shopping Rule

Cutler Applauds Court for Reviewing Venue Shopping Rule - Important step in saving our health care

2/14/2019 HARRISBURG – House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) issued the following statement after Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor told House leadership the court would hold off on changing venue rules regarding medical malpractice cases until a further review of the rule’s impact could be completed.

“I want to thank Chief Justice Saylor, and the rest of the court, for making the right decision to see the extended impact of venue shopping on our state’s health care system. I was working in a hospital in the early 2000s when lawyers could maneuver malpractice cases to Philadelphia courts, all but guaranteeing vastly higher payouts and at much higher volumes than the rest of the Commonwealth. As a result, premiums for medical malpractice insurance skyrocketed for all doctors, regardless of whether they practiced in Philadelphia or not. The out-of-control insurance costs led to a crisis, causing doctors of all specialties to make hard decisions about whether to stay in our state or close their practices. The impact was especially hard on rural communities like parts of the 100th district.

“There is no need to return to those days. Today, doctors can operate confidently and fairly, serving the communities that rely on them, and victims of medical malpractice can still file suit in the county where the alleged wrongdoing occurred.

“I want to applaud the work done by our caucus, the House Republican Policy Committee, and our Senate colleagues to draw attention to this important issue and assure all Pennsylvanians we remain committed to saving our health care.”

Representative Bryan Cutler

100th Legislative District

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Mike Straub

717-260-6397

Sonney, Committee Members to Unveil Career and Technical Education Package

State Representative Curt Sonney and PA House Committee Members to Unveil Career and Technical Education Package.

Representative Sonney (R-Erie), chairman of the House Education Committee, will host a press conference to unveil a bipartisan package of eight bills designed to improve career and technical education (CTE) in Pennsylvania. The bills are the result of a report issued by the former Select Subcomittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness.

Bills in the Package Include:

  • House Bill 265- which would expand the online database of articulation agreements

  • House Bill 297- which would deal with career information and recruitment

  • House Bill 334- which would deal with the commission for agricultural education excellence, the use of course credits and the classification of program codes.

  • House Bill 552- which would create a CTE investment incentive program; including tax credits for contributions to support CTE programs and enrollment expansion programs

Shippensburg Pumpkin-Smasher Arrested at Walmart

   (CY)-Pennsylvania State Police say a Shippensburg man was under the influence of alcohol and other substances when he began smashing pumpkins in the Walmart located at 100 South Conestoga Drive in Shippensburg on Thursday evening.  Officials have not yet released the 26-year-old suspect’s name.

The suspect damaged a motorized-wheelchair and assaulted a store employee before he was tackled by Walmart customers. The total damage is being estimated at a value of at least $250.

Troopers took the suspect into custody and later transported him to UPMC- Pinnacle Carlisle for an evaluation. State Police say charges are pending.


By: Calleb Yurish