July 12, 2014 |
State and medical organization officials released new guidelines Thursday for prescribing opioids, one of the first concrete steps that Pennsylvania has taken to address an overdose death rate that ranks among the worst in the nation. After months of discussion, collaboration, and compromise, a large task force requested by Gov. Corbett last fall announced the recommendations to help doctors responsibly prescribe narcotic painkillers. "The guidelines have a twofold mission," said Physician General Carrie DeLone, a task force cochair.
July 10, 2014 |
New Jersey lawmakers are racing to draft a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the right to bail for certain defendants as part of a broader effort to improve the state's criminal justice system. The Senate must take an important first step by Monday if the amendment is to be on the November ballot. At the same time, lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow some defendants to be released before trial without bail, in a move away from a monetary-based system to a risk-based one. Also under discussion is whether to establish speedy-trial deadlines, either in the amendment or in the bill.
June 27, 2014 |
Saying stricter federal nutrition guidelines are too much to swallow, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District has decided to remove its 1,300 high school students from the program that is to go into effect next school year. In deciding last week that the students would not join the 31 million across the country who get free or reduced-price lunches through the National School Lunch Program, the district said its own food policies were healthy enough for its high schoolers. The district's middle school and four elementary schools will still participate.
June 12, 2014 |
United Airlines on Tuesday became the latest major carrier to change its frequent-flier program to reward miles for free travel based on the fare paid, rather than the distance flown. The change, announced by the nation's second-largest airline by passenger traffic, is modeled after a shift that competitor Delta Air Lines announced in February for its SkyMiles program, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, and Virgin America already have revenue-based rewards programs, which favor the passengers who spend the most, such as business travelers who buy expensive tickets and top spenders in first class and business class.
May 16, 2014 |
The judge who sentenced former District Judge Rita Arnold for hiding a citation against her son wanted to make an example of someone who abused judicial powers, Arnold's attorney argued in a Superior Court appeal filed this week. Judge John Braxton - who ordered Arnold to serve 16 to 32 months in state prison on two misdemeanors - ignored the Chester County woman's previously crime-free life, remorse, and ongoing treatment for cancer, her attorney said. Braxton, "focusing entirely on the fact that these crimes were committed in her capacity as a magisterial district judge [and for her son]
March 23, 2014 |
A glitch in the Obamacare window-shopping tool that incorrectly responded "not eligible" to queries about financial help from households just above the poverty line was fixed hours after the administration learned of the issue, officials said Friday. For 35 days, Healthcare.gov used the wrong year's federal poverty-level guidelines for informal assessments of eligibility. And, while that website has been the only one empowered to make final decisions in most states, similar mistakes uncovered at independent sites raise the possibility that wrong information is still being disseminated less than 10 days before open enrollment ends for the year.
March 6, 2014 |
When the hospice nurse called police in the assisted-suicide case of Barbara Mancini, David Casarett knew he had work to do. He feared that the actions of one hospice nurse could discourage Americans from using that model of palliative care for the terminally ill, or inhibit dying people in pain from taking morphine. So Casarett, a University of Pennsylvania physician and chief medical officer of Penn-Wissahickon Hospice, teamed with law professor Thaddeus Pope, formerly of Widener University and an expert in end-of-life law, to develop ethical guidelines for hospice workers nationwide on when to report suspicions of assisted suicide.
December 6, 2013 |
HARRISBURG Philadelphia developer Nolen Properties has plowed millions of dollars into restoring two historic but long-neglected properties in Mount Airy. Today the firm is almost done converting one, the historic Nugent Home, built for retired Baptist ministers, into affordable housing for senior citizens - a project budgeted at $17 million. The company had hoped to take advantage of a new state historic preservation tax credit to get a small measure of financial relief, maybe as much as $500,000.
December 2, 2013 |
TRENTON One woman testified that her husband, dying of brain cancer, couldn't persuade a court to let him stop paying alimony to an ex-wife who had a job. Another said her husband went to jail because he was out of work and couldn't afford to pay his alimony. Alimony payers and spouses, claiming an unfair system had forced them into financial distress - and given former spouses incentive not to support themselves - told story after story last week before a panel of Assembly lawmakers at the Statehouse.
November 17, 2013 |
Medical guidelines are meant to unify doctors and standardize care for patients around treatments supported by the best available science. But the latest guidelines on the use of statins, a class of drugs used to reduce cholesterol, are already generating significant pushback from doctors. The controversy is likely to confuse patients. The new rules released this week by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology would expand the number of people getting statins to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, or stroke while eliminating specific numeric goals for LDL, or bad cholesterol.