Geisinger Names Mark McCullough CFO, COO of Geisinger Health Plan

Mark McCullough has been named chief financial officer and chief operations officer for Geisinger Health Plan (GHP).

McCullough previously worked at Humana Pharmacy Solutions as vice president/chief financial officer and also served as chief operations officer and interim president.

“We are excited to welcome Mark to the Geisinger team,” said Kurt Wrobel, GHP president. “With more than 25 years of experience in the pharmacy, managed care and healthcare industries, Mark will have an integral role in leading GHP’s successful financial and operational outcomes as we continue making affordable, quality healthcare available to everyone in the communities we serve.”

At Humana, McCullough was responsible for finance and operations for Humana’s pharmacy benefit manager, which manages $27 billion in gross claims annually for 10 million Humana members. He also oversaw Humana’s mail-order operations, dispensing 42 million prescriptions annually.

Before his tenure at Humana, McCollough worked for Kindred Pharmacy Services/Pharmerica Corp., Catholic Health Initiatives, D&R PharmaCare, Caretenders Health Corp. and Ernst & Young. He is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Louisville.

For more information, visit geisinger.org, or connect with us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.

Marywood University Psychology and Counseling Faculty and Doctoral Students Present at Virtual American Psychological Association Meeting

Marywood University faculty and students of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program (Psy.D.) recently presented, “Infusing Education on Bias and Diversity Considerations in Psychopathology Courses,” at the 2020 virtual meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA).

Presenters at the APA annual meeting included: Lindsay A. Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP, assistant professor in the Psychology and Counseling Center; and doctor of psychology students, Gabriel Rivera, New Cumberland, Pa.; Amara Chukwunenye, Dunmore, Pa.; and Brienna-Rae Cruz, Jermyn, Pa.

The annual APA meeting provides countless opportunities for attendees to grow in their role as psychologists, leaders, and changemakers. Hundreds of experts from across the discipline come together to share the best information from the field and to bring professional development opportunities to licensed psychologists.

Marywood University’s American Psychological Association-accredited doctoral program in clinical psychology prepares students to provide evidence-based and culturally-sensitive clinical services to diverse populations. Students develop competencies in nine areas, including: research, ethical and legal standards, individual and cultural diversity, professional values and attitudes, communication and interpersonal skills, assessment, intervention, supervision, and consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills.

For additional information about Marywood University’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, please visit www.marywood.edu/psychology/psyd/, or call the Office of Admissions, at (570) 348-6234.

Student Services Director Earns Spot on Code of Conduct Task Force

Penn State Scranton Director of Student Services and Engagement Brad Kovaleski was recently among a select group of Penn State faculty, administrators, staff and students from across the Commonwealth chosen to take part in the Student Code of Conduct Task Force convened by University President Eric Barron.

The task force was implemented to address both immediate and longstanding issues of racism, bias and intolerance, and prioritized several initiatives, among them a full review of the Student Code of Conduct, with significant participation by student leaders.

The task force is being co-chaired by student Nyla Holland, president of Penn State Black Caucus, and Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, clinical professor of law and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at Penn State Law.

“I’m honored to be chosen and to be a part of the process,” Kovaleski said. “We’ve held four meetings already, and they are very productive. They are an hour or so long each week and we have been doing some great groundwork.”

Kovaleski believes he’s been able to bring a lot of valuable input to the group, based on the strides the Scranton Campus has made in recent years to foster a more welcoming environment for its diverse student population. “I think we’ve done some great work at Penn State Scranton and within the community,” he said. “Personal and professional experience will be an asset to me in this process, but I am really looking forward to hearing from and following the lead of the students on the committee. They have been very impressive and doing a most excellent job. Our University should be very proud of the students, faculty and staff that comprise this group.”

WVIA Announces Winners of its 2020 PBS Kids Writers Contest

WVIA is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 PBS Kids Writers Contest: 

Kindergarten:
1st place: Michael Velotta “Fun Day!” (Hazleton, PA)
2nd place: Charlie Procter “The Bird Who Lost Her Mother” (Dallas, PA)
3rd place: Nishil Rohit “Strong Beak and the Crocodile Escape” (Newark, DE)

First Grade:
1st place: Vanessa Lee “Zero is a Hero” (Broomall, PA)
2nd place: Liam Hanson “Joe and Gus” (Jermyn, PA)
3rd place: Rachal Beckish “The Way of the Bee” (Springbrook Twp, PA)   

Second Grade:
1st place: Patrick Schneider “Mac and the Aliens’ Super Adventure” (Forty Fort, PA)
2nd place: Addison Wagner “The Mystery of Water”  (Pottsville, PA)
3rd place: Maeve Hourihane “How the Fairy Got Trapped” (South Abington Twp, PA)

Third Grade:
1st place: Grace Klein “What Am I Good At?” (Duryea, PA)
2nd place: Brianna Quinn “The Magical Flower Bush” (Forty Fort, PA)
3rd place: Thomas Graham “Jeff and Bill Save the World” (Lewisburg, PA)

“The WVIA PBS KIDS Writer’s Contest was a huge success this year with triple the number of applications received than in years past. From Kindergarten to 3rd grade, the kids created entertaining stories and illustrations that proved how truly talented our region’s young writers are! We are grateful for everyone’s  participation and patience in navigating this contest during a worldwide pandemic!” said Kirsten Smith, WVIA Grants & Education Officer.

The WVIA 2020 PBS Kids Writers Contest is designed to promote the advancement of children’s reading skills through hands-on, active learning. This contest encourages children to celebrate the power of creating stories and illustrations by submitting their own original pieces. The first-place student in each grade category will receive a plaque and have their story narrated by WVIA radio host, Lisa Mazzarella for a web feature. 

To learn more about the WVIA PBS Kids Writers Contest and to see past winners visit: https://www.wvia.org/education/pbs-kids-writers-contest/

Wolf Administration Announces $2 Million for COVID PEDA Restart Grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced that the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) opened a $2 million grant opportunity to support clean energy projects in Pennsylvania, which were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications for the COVID-19 PEDA Restart Grants opened Monday, August 17, 2020, and will close Friday, October 2, 2020, at 4 PM. Individual awards will not exceed $250,000. Applications must be submitted online through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) Electronic Single Application (ESA) system.

Applicants should demonstrate how they expect an award to mitigate the impact of a project disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This may include: re-hire of workers or hiring of additional workers to complete the project quickly, ability to make immediate equipment payments to restart the supply chain, and the opportunity to overcome lost revenue due to market stagnation.

Projects may include the following funding areas: the development and deployment of innovative, clean, advanced and efficient technologies; the generation of alternative energy or the production of alternative fuels; or the implementation of energy-efficiency/demand-side projects. Businesses conducting manufacturing or production operations related to alternative and clean energy projects in Pennsylvania are also eligible to apply for an award.

Applicants can request funds for retroactive costs, working capital or both; however, applicants must propose a minimum 1:1 match consisting of all eligible costs as described in the solicitation that will be expended after the application submission date.

More information about this funding opportunity including the solicitation, application instructions and a frequently asked questions document is available on DEP’s webpage (search “PEDA”) or by emailing the PEDA staff at ra-peda@pa.gov.

The Wright Center Receives Over $1M in Federal Funding

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has announced $1.05 million in Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program funding for The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. This award supports three pioneering geriatric fellowship positions for the 2020-2021 academic year, as well as four additional positions in The Wright Center’s flourishing psychiatry residency program, in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“I congratulate The Wright Center on being awarded funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration to create additional training opportunities in the fields of geriatrics and psychiatry. Since its inception, The Wright Center has been committed to the community it serves. The Wright Center’s physicians in training will gain experiences that they will carry with them throughout their careers,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the ranking member on the Special Committee on Aging. “As our healthcare heroes work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors are our most vulnerable population and mental health services are imperative. This additional funding provides a valuable asset to the community that will help The Wright Center serve our most vulnerable population and respond to well documented mental health needs.”

The unprecedented growth rate of Pennsylvania’s aging population, compounded by an undeniable, primary care physician shortage — including the number of doctors who specialize in the physical, mental and behavioral health challenges specific to seniors — presents a significant challenge to countless families in NEPA.

“We appreciate and applaud Senator Casey’s career long support and advocacy for the health and welfare of our nation and our communities, and also his steadfast support of HRSA’s Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program. We have so much collective work to do when it comes to improving health care delivery for older Americans. We are ready and so grateful for these federal resources to support our related educational workforce development efforts. Our organizational commitment to The Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s ‘Creating Age-Friendly Health Systems’ initiative provides a very powerful curriculum framework to launch our newly-funded Geriatrics Fellowship program this summer,” explained Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, President of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education and CEO of The Wright Center for Community Health.  

“Given our regional and national shortage of mental and behavioral health providers, the federal support for four additional psychiatry residents is similarly impactful. The Wright Center’s psychiatry residents provide much-needed mental, behavioral and addiction health services in community-based environments, including several regional acute hospital settings and the Wilkes Barre Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center. Increasing our Psychiatry residency training positions from 18 to 22 will expand access to comprehensive mental and behavioral health services for patients and families, inclusive of those in rural and underserved communities,” Dr. Thomas-Hemak added.

Appointments can be scheduled for The Wright Center’s geriatric service line by calling 570-230-0019. The new program has already been recognized by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement as an Age-Friendly Health System Partner for providing a full spectrum of comprehensive, safety-net primary health and support services for seniors. Through individualized care plans developed by a team of providers, now enhanced by the addition of geriatric specialists, The Wright Center serves as a trusted primary health advisor for seniors and their families to support independent living. 

Geisinger’s New Mobile Health Unit Delivers Dental Care On-the-Go

Although largely preventable, cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases among children in the United States and are twice as likely in children from low-income families.

However, many children have not seen their dentists due to COVID-19. With its new mobile dental services unit, Geisinger has taken dental care on the road to deliver no-cost dental exams and preventive services to children in pre-K through grade 12 throughout its service area.

The 38-foot-long bus is outfitted with two fully equipped dental operatories to provide a full spectrum of preventive and diagnostic services at no cost, such as dental exams, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants, as well as home care education and nutritional counseling.

“Some of the most common barriers to proper dental health are transportation, access to care and financial barriers,” said Kristen Schintz, DMD, medical director for dental services at Geisinger Health Plan. “We hope to alleviate those barriers by going into underserved areas and developing relationships with schools so that patients can be seen during their school day.”

The bus will rotate to different schools and locations in Geisinger’s footprint with the goal of improving oral health in the community, educating children and parents, and helping them find a permanent dental home. Children will also receive a sealed envelope including any concerns identified during the exam, plus oral health home-care instructions, nutrition resources and a complimentary toothbrush.

“At this time, we are primarily focused on seeing school-aged children, as they are one of the most vulnerable groups,” said Dr. Schintz. “We are very hopeful that by educating children and parents about home care and nutrition, the information they receive will really stick with them and they will have the opportunity to develop healthier habits going forward.”

In accordance with COVID-19 precautions, patients are being contacted and scheduled for appointments on the bus. Appointments are being separated to allow for appropriate physical (social) distancing and additional cleaning between visits.

For information and to schedule your visit, call 570-452-7430 or email MobileDentalUnit@geisinger.edu.

Sen. Toomey Visits the Lackawanna College Police Academy

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey visited the Lackawanna College Police Academy to discuss the challenges that law enforcement currently face and how the College is handling cadet training during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the visit, Sen. Toomey met with Lackawanna College President Dr. Jill A. Murray, Academy Director John Chilleri, Academy staff and cadets.

“The Academy is mindful of current events and our training has evolved to ensure our cadets undergo instruction that prepares them for modern-day law enforcement,” said Chilleri. “We want our cadets to aid in forming valuable partnerships between law enforcement and the local communities they serve.”

The Lackawanna College Police Academy is the only private college in northeastern Pennsylvania authorized to provide ACT 120 training through the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (MPOETC). The curriculum covers topics focusing on policing strategies surrounding stress, health and resiliency. The Academy goes beyond this requirement with 48 hours of added hands-on realistic scenario training and mental health certifications.

The Academy’s application process includes psychological screening and state and federal background checks of all applicants. “This screening helps ensure that a potential cadet’s personality traits and physical aptitude are suitable for law enforcement professions,” said Chilleri. 

“I appreciated the opportunity to visit with the cadets and leadership of the Lackawanna College Police Academy,” said Senator Toomey. “Police officers are among our most dedicated public servants. The advanced policing techniques that are instilled in cadets at Lackawanna College will better equip them to protect and serve all communities.”

Academy training was suspended on March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed in-person instruction on June 24. Daily wellness screenings, sanitation procedures and social distancing based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines has been implemented.

The 2020 Waverly Waddle

The Waverly Community House is hosting the Waverly Waddle 5k walk/run on September 12, 2020. Advance registration is strongly encouraged in order to safely social distance and reduce day of registration lines. Proceeds to benefit The Comm’s reopening costs.

Check In: 8-9 p.m.
Start Time: Will be staggered in small groups. First wave of runners start at 9 a.m.
The Course: 5k (3.1 mile) through scenic Waverly, PA.

The Waddle will begin at The Waverly Community House, travel through Waverly and circle back to the starting point.

New to the 2020 Waddle – A Virtual Run!
Run anytime between 9/1/2020 – 9/8/2020
Submit your race time – details to follow.
All virtual runners will receive a T-shirt at a later date!
Prices for the virtual run are same as above.

Official registration includes: Electronic chip timing, T-Shirt to sponsors and first 50 registered participants!

Other important information: The race format will comply with current CDC guidelines.  Please bring a mask for registration and in cases where social distancing is not possible.