Geisinger Names Karena Weikel Chief Actuary for Health Plan

Karena Weikel has been named chief actuary for Geisinger Health Plan (GHP).

Weikel has been vice president of risk and revenue management and actuarial services at GHP since 2015 and interim chief actuary since Kurt Wrobel left the role in May when he was named president of the health plan.

“Since starting at Geisinger Health Plan 19 years ago as an actuary intern, Karena has been instrumental in many vital initiatives to make healthcare more affordable and improve the health of our members,” said Wrobel. “I’m excited to see her take on this new role as the next step in her incredible career at Geisinger Health Plan.”

As chief actuary, Weikel is responsible for managing Geisinger’s overall cost of care, trend mitigation, vendor relations, underwriting, provider and medical economics, risk adjustment, operational and regulatory reporting, pricing, rate filing, trend analysis, reserving and organization-wide financial analytics for all lines of business.

“I’ve been very fortunate to find a career I love right in my home area,” Weikel said. “I’m grateful for the opportunities Geisinger has provided me and the support of leadership, my colleagues, team members and family. I’m passionate and committed to my role in helping Geisinger provide affordable health insurance products for our community.” 

In her career at GHP, Weikel also served as director of actuarial services and actuarial informatics and associate vice president of clinical informatics.

Weikel earned the Fellow, Academy for Healthcare Management (FAHM) and Certified Self-Funding Specialist (CSFS) designations and is an Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA), a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA) and is currently pursuing her fellowship certification. She is a graduate of Shamokin Area High School and Bloomsburg University with a bachelor’s in mathematics and secondary education.

The Dime Bank Promotes Raynell K. Lenz to Assistant Vice President

The Dime Bank Board of Directors are pleased to announce that Raynell K. Lenz was appointed to the position of Assistant Vice President Commercial Lending Administrative Representative.

Raynell Lenz has been in banking for six years, all of them with The Dime Bank. Lenz holds an associate degree in Business Management from Alfred State College. Additionally, she has a certificate in Entrepreneurship from Alfred State College and is a graduate of PA Bankers Association Commercial Lending School. Raynell Lenz joined The Dime Bank in June 2014 as a teller in The Dime Bank Hawley branch and within a few months transitioned to credit analyst. After a couple of years as a credit analyst, Lenz then moved to commercial lending administrative representative to support The Dime Bank president and chief executive officer and the senior vice president chief lending officer with their loan portfolios. Lenz’s current primary duty is being The Dime Bank liaison to the bank’s commercial customers assisting them with all of their banking needs.  

President and Chief Executive Officer Pete Bochnovich stated, “Raynell is very deserving of this promotion and we are excited to have her moving further into our leadership team. In this role Raynell works very closely with our commercial customers and is a critical part of the bank’s success.”

Lenz is active in our communities and is the treasurer of Hawley/Milford Service Unit for The Salvation Army and the corresponding secretary & board member for the Honesdale Area Jaycees. Lenz grew up in Honesdale, PA and lives in Beach Lake, PA with her husband, Ron, and eleven-month-old collie/spaniel puppy named Archie.

For more information on The Dime Bank, visit www.thedimebank.com. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.

Marywood University’s Art Department Announces New Animation Minor

Marywood University’s Art Department recently announced its new minor in Animation. The 18-credit minor can be added to any undergraduate degree. Students interested can fill out the Addition of Minor or Secondary Goal form. Courses in the minor include 2D and 3D animation, character design, and graphic narrative for storyboard, to name a few.

The animation minor is designed to benefit students across schools and disciplines. In the growing world of animation, special effects and motion graphics influences and interacts with many other areas of study. This minor [Animation] serves students who are interested in learning animation fundamentals such as production methods, industry structure, project development, software techniques, and other key aspects of animation production.

An art minor is an attractive option for students majoring in studio art, illustration, design, or art therapy, as these programs already require up to 12 credits in art, which count toward the minor. An art minor is a natural complement to any studio art training, as well as graphic design, art history, art administration, and art therapy, strengthening the content and articulation of the student’s own art.

Additionally, an art minor helps students prepare for admission to graduate schools, leading to rewarding careers in the arts. Further, an art minor draws upon other disciplines to help students develop critical thinking and research skills. It’s the perfect complement to a major in history, art history, arts administration, English, philosophy, theatre, or any other program.

Animators are employed in several areas: film, television, advertising, mobile apps, editorial, 3D modeling, gaming, and more. For additional information about the Animation minor at Marywood University, please visit marywood.edu/art/undergraduate-programs/art-minor, or contact Sue Jenkins, interim chair of the Art Department at, (570) 348-6278, or art@marywood.edu.

Profiles in Service: PennDOT Highlights Innovation, Customer Service Through COVID-19

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) highlighted ways in which Pennsylvanians and business partners have seen continued or enhanced services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Throughout the pandemic we have provided critical services with safety for our customers and our team at the forefront,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “Whether in the field or teleworking, I’m proud of how we’re showing innovation and generosity in these difficult times.” 

In addition to operations that continued or have restarted since the pandemic began, PennDOT’s team members working remotely have continued or adapted business practices. The telework transition and need for social distancing has brought some in-person options online, such as some permit applications administered by staff like Stephanie Marek in the department’s northeast region.  

“From the beginning – since many of my customers are truck drivers and are out on the road – I gave them my personal cell phone number as a fax for them wasn’t an option,” Marek explained. “They were able to take a photo of the permit application and send it to my phone so that I could issue a permit. The customers were so appreciative of this service.” 

Permit customers were also very happy to know that they did not have to leave their offices and drive to the District Office to have a permit issued, keeping them socially distant and safe. 

Additionally, to continue core business functions such as issuing and inspecting access to roadways via highway occupancy permits, the department developed a committee to allow permitting and utility work through the pandemic. A virtual inspection was developed, which allows PennDOT to verify if specific work is being done correctly on jobs, such as backfilling, paving, testing, and work-zone set ups. 

King of Prussia-based District 6 Traffic Control Specialist Manager Fran Hanney was part of an internal PennDOT committee that developed the new inspection policies. 

“We live in an age of technology,” said Hanney. “I brainstormed how we could let these activities continue while still protecting workers.” 

The new inspection consists of the permitee having daily communication with PennDOT Permit staff though pictures and a virtual form that needs to be filled out and emailed. If a permitee does not send the required pictures or paperwork, they are aware that their work can be denied and shut down for failure to comply with the virtual inspection. 

Recognizing that public transportation is critical – especially for seniors or persons with disabilities – PennDOT worked with transit agencies and partners statewide to keep employees and passengers safe and adjust schedules. Transit providers’ role in Pennsylvanians’ quality of life was underscored as they took additional steps to check on their customers, including outreach efforts by ACCESS in the Pittsburgh area.  

With PennDOT’s help, changes in ACCESS’ day-to-day services evolved to fit riders’ specific needs. Instead of having to call and make reservations ahead of time, customers, most of them elderly, were able to request same-day ride service. In addition, rather than booking two separate trips, riders could safely travel to places like the ATM, the post office, or senior centers for grab-and-go meals and return home in one trip. 

ACCESS staff also made over 1,000 wellness check-in calls to provide information on acquiring meals, prescriptions, emergency contact information, and the option to receive additional check-in calls. There was also time to “just chat,” as people shared their feelings of loneliness surrounding the pandemic. 

PennDOT’s continuous modernization and quality improvement efforts have continued and expanded through the pandemic. Staff involved in facilitating meetings or organizational reviews and changes identified best practices to keep improvements and collaboration going through a telework environment. Statewide judging and recognition for the department’s Innovations Challenge for high school students also transitioned online to ensure the students’ hard work was recognized and rewarded.  

With an eye toward educating and recruiting its future workforce and customers, the department continued its youth outreach and created new resources. PennDOT developed an Activities for Kids page to offer transportation and STEM-related activities for students and families. In the department’s northwest region, plans to offer opportunities for local scouts had to transition online due to COVID-19 and 60 youth participated in the virtual format. 

Beyond daily operations PennDOT staff have given of their time and resources to help their teams and communities weather the pandemic. Tammy Chisea in Chester County donated 100 masks to team members in the county and Amy Costabile in the department’s Uniontown-based District 12 partnered with her mother to make and donate masks in their community. 

“Sewing is a hobby, but I always end up making things for other people and giving them away because it makes me happy to see others happy…,” says Chiesa. “I will continue to do this until the crisis is over.” 

“Our story is just one of so many who have come to together to help one another and our community,” Costabile said. “There have been so many sewers and quilters who have been making masks and we are happy to be even a small part of this contribution.” 

Information on PennDOT’s actions during COVID-19 and current customer and business-partner guidance is available on the department’s COVID-19 page at www.penndot.gov. Additional PennDOT COVID-19 stories can be viewed on the department blog.  

Geisinger Offers Free Telephone Assessments for Breast Cancer Risk Oct. 17

Geisinger is making high-risk breast cancer screenings more convenient for the community by offering assessments through a phone call during a free, all-day event on Saturday, Oct. 17. Those who register for the event will have a one-on-one breast cancer screening call with a Geisinger provider to discuss their individual risk factors, health options and follow-up care, if needed.

The event is open to all women ages 18 and older who are concerned about their breast health. During the 15-minute phone appointments, a member of the Geisinger care team will complete an assessment with the participants to determine their level of risk for breast cancer.

“Routine breast cancer screenings are important for all women, but even more so for those at higher-than-average risk,” said Dr. Jacqueline Oxenberg, Geisinger surgical oncologist. “While we’re all dealing with the uncertainty of COVID-19, cancer occurrence is not stopping, and neither should cancer screenings and regular health checks. This event is making it easier for our community to continue these important health discussions. While these telephone screenings are a valuable piece of the breast health puzzle, they do not replace yearly mammograms.”

After the phone call with the Geisinger team, participants will receive information on their results and additional resources or follow-up actions, if necessary. The care team can set up an appointment for an in-person evaluation if the clinician has determined there’s a risk.

Geisinger offers a multidisciplinary team of specialists — including oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, geneticists, integrative medicine specialists and behavioral health counselors — to care for patients with breast cancer.

Appointments are limited during the Oct. 17 event, and registration is required. To schedule your time slot for this event, visit geisinger.org/breast-screenings.   

Lackawanna College Rally for Restaurants

Lackawanna College joins Scranton Tomorrow and the City of Scranton for Rally for Restaurants, an initiative that brings the community and organizations together to support local restaurants that are struggling due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

How Rally for Restaurants Works
Lackawanna College’s student-run restaurant, 409 on Adams, has opened its doors to participating local restaurants free of charge, with proceeds from meals purchased going directly to that night’s restaurant. The restaurants have access to 409 on Adams’ kitchens, student chefs and wait staff. Additional funds are raised through direct donations and sales from Rally for Restaurants t-shirts. Donations will help offset expenses for Rally for Restaurants and remaining funds will be shared with our participating restaurants. The more you donate, the more we can give!

Dine at 409
Enjoy a drink and dinner in our outdoor heated tents located on the patio at
409 on Adams or order a takeout lunch! 

Our menus are prepared by our talented student chefs and local restaurants. Each dining experience promises new, bold cuisines and styles to offer you the most memorable culinary experience. Dining is by reservation only.