New PA Law to Benefit Lackawanna’s Surgical Technology Program

A new Pennsylvania law requiring all surgical technologists to graduate from an accredited program, pass an accredited exam and complete 15 hours of continuing education each year was signed by Governor Tom Wolf on October 29.

Prior to the new law, unlike surrounding states, surgical technologists in PA were not required to graduate from an accredited program. Lackawanna College’s accredited surgical technology degree is one of 15 programs available in the Commonwealth and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Mary Lou Dotzel, Lackawanna College’s Surgical Technology Program Director, who also serves on the Board of Directors for the PA State Assembly, believes this is an important win for patient safety.

“With students receiving the proper training and certification, surgical patients in Pennsylvania are privileged to quality care and more positive outcomes, as they are receiving care from surgical technologists who are well-prepared for their field,” said Dotzel. “Our program will be essential to adding skilled surgical technologists to Pennsylvania hospitals and healthcare centers.” Dotzel added, “Surgical technologists are currently in demand in our surrounding areas.”

The College’s Surgical Technology Program combines classroom instruction with mock surgical procedures performed in a state-of-the-art skills lab. This better prepares the student for real-life clinical rotation experience, which is completed at local and regional hospitals. When students complete the program, they are eligible to sit for the national certification exam administered by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.

To learn more about Lackawanna College’s Surgical Technology Program, visit

Marywood University to Launch Competitive Esports Program

Marywood University announced today that it will become one of a select number of colleges and universities across the nation to offer a competitive Esports program. Marywood is responding to the ever-increasing number of students seeking this option, as the Esports industry continues to explode throughout the country. Marywood University’s Board of Trustees recently approved a measure for the University to move forward with an Esports Program in fall 2021.

An inclusive activity, Esports reaches many demographics and provides numerous options to students who are interested in playing both individual and team sports. Esports (also known as electronic sports) is organized, competitive video gaming. Marywood’s Esports program will compete in one of the Athletic Conferences, and Marywood will be the third regional university to offer an Esports program.

Patrick Murphy, director of athletics and recreation at Marywood University, said, “We are extremely excited about the addition of Esports here at Marywood as part of the athletics department. With the growing trend of Esports in higher education, we are ready to be a part of this select group of institutions that offers Esports, as it will further enhance the student experience.”

Marywood’s Esports program will benefit both prospective students and the community by providing opportunities for students who are interested in playing a competitive sport and for employers who are seeking people with Esports skills. Students in the program will also obtain practical skills that can be transferred across multiple disciplines.

Students will develop fluency in science, technology, and computer skills that will strengthen their reasoning and problem-solving capabilities and allow them to gain competencies that will be in great demand in a post-pandemic job market.

For additional information about Marywood University’s Esports program, please visit

Swift Kennedy Offers Compliance Guidance

No matter what the future holds politically, business owners know that group health insurance regulations may change again sometime next year.  But in the meantime, employers can rely on insurance brokerage firms like Swift Kennedy & Associates to help guide them through the maze of federal and state regulations imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and other laws.

“Our job is to ease the burden of business owners so that instead of worrying about compliance with health insurance rules, they can focus on their organizations’ success,” said Jerry Calistri, Swift Kennedy’s President and CEO, who is a Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist.

Compliance Analysis and Documents

Swift Kennedy helps companies analyze their benefit plans for compliance with the ACA and ERISA in order to help them avoid time-consuming audits and stiff penalties for violations of these laws.  

For example, businesses that are plan administrators are required by federal law to maintain and distribute Wrap Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs), which wrap around the companies’ certificates of insurance and benefit plan booklets.  They must also administer their plans in accordance with a written Plan Document, which they are required to send to plan participants and beneficiaries upon request.

To help with compliance,Swift Kennedy generates these documents for clients and provides information on how and when to send them to plan participants.

The agency also generates government-mandated Benefit Notices and Distribution Guidelines for clients.

What happens when regulations change?  “We inform clients about changes and give them guidance on how to comply with the new rules,” said Calistri.

Other Services

Other services provided by Swift Kennedy include enrollments, terminations, billing support, claims assistance, COBRA administration, payroll services, and virtual open enrollment meetings.  The firm also offers clients a virtual benefits administration system and a comprehensive online HR/benefits library that provides forms and information about recruitment, hiring, absence management, performance reviews, state employment laws, and healthcare reform.

Swift Kennedy helps businesses find affordable employee benefit plans, including medical, dental, vision, life, disability, and alternative funding options.  This full-service agency, which also offers individual and senior insurance products, has offices in Scranton, Williamsport, DuBois, State College, and Virginia Beach.

Jerry Calistri is President and Chief Executive Officer of Swift Kennedy & Associates.  He has over 20 years of experience in the employee benefits industry, including working at the Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund in Harrisburg.  Calistri is a Senatorial Member and a PAC Board Member of Health Agents for America, as well as a member of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.  In addition, he is an active member and past president of the Mid Penn chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters.  He can be reached at

Noteology Holiday Gnomes

It’s time to order your holiday gnomes! 

We love supporting local makers, and we are so excited to offer the most adorable holiday gnomes to you this holiday season! They are perfectly designed by hand by a local seamstress with the greatest attention paid to every detail. 

Each gnome is made-to-order, so order early and allow 1-2 weeks for shipping/pick-up.

Keystone College “Meals with Management”

Hospitality Business Management students at Keystone College are making great connections while supporting local businesses through its new “Meals with Management” events. Each week, the students and Associate Professor Brenda Lidy visit and support local restaurants, dine with managers and owners to learn more about the business and meet great mentors along the way.

Geisinger Earns 2020 CHIME Digital Health Most Wired Recognition

Geisinger has achieved a 2020 CHIME Digital Health Most Wired recognition as a certified level 10 , the highest level, from The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), a professional organization whose charter is to encourage the use of technology across the healthcare industry.

Each year, CHIME evaluates health and care communities around the world and measures their use of technology based on a scale from 1 to 10. A Level 1 certification denotes a health system that makes minimal use of technology or is in early stages of development. A Level 10 certification denotes a health system that is not only making broad use of technology but is also demonstrating leadership in the application and implementation of a wide variety of technology across their organization.

This award is more than just having the latest hardware and software. It recognizes that technology at Geisinger is an integrated part of how the health system serves and cares for patients and customers.

“We look at it from the perspective of the customer,” says John Kravitz, Chief Information Officer at Geisinger. “Sometimes the customer is the patient, the subscriber, the student, the provider or the employee. Every day we work hard to provide services that are superior for our customers. We try to make their jobs a little easier with technology.”

This award also recognizes the implementation and use of technology across Geisinger – from the information technology teams that develop and deploy the technology to the front-line service providers that use the capabilities.

“The organization is very big on outreach to communities that have a need for services,” said Joe Fisne, associate chief information officer at Geisinger. “We have great leadership that helps us understand what those needs are. Once you do that, applying the technology is the easy part.”

“Digital technology has been a driver of innovation in healthcare for many years now, but never to the degree that we saw in 2020 with the pandemic,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell. “The Digital Health Most Wired program underscores why healthcare organizations keep pushing themselves to be digital leaders and shows what amazing feats they can achieve. This certification recognizes their exemplary performance in 2020.”   

A total of 30,091 organizations were represented in the 2020 Digital Health Most Wired program, which this year included four separate surveys: domestic, ambulatory, long-term care and international. The surveys assessed the adoption, integration and impact of technologies in healthcare organizations at all stages of development, from early development to industry leading.

Each participating organization received a customized benchmarking report, an overall score and scores for individual levels in eight segments: infrastructure; security; business/disaster recovery; administrative/supply chain; analytics/data management; interoperability/population health; patient engagement; and clinical quality/safety. Participants can use the report and scores to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. Participants also received certification based on their overall performance, with level 10 being the highest.

The Dime Bank’s Give Thanks Random Drawing Giveaway

As the season of thanks is upon us, The Dime Bank wants to express our gratitude to you! This year has been challenging for all of us and we want to spread a little joy. The Dime Bank will be giving away a $50 local supermarket gift card to five lucky winners.

Our Give Thanks random drawing giveaway will run for five weeks, with five posts, for a total of five chances to enter to win. We begin on November 16th and entering is easy:

  1. Visit our Facebook page.*
  2. Find the weekly entry post.
  3. React to the weekly entry post for your chance to win and answer the posted question just for fun.

Make sure you like and follow The Dime Bank Facebook page to receive our posts in your newsfeed. Share this news with your friends and family too. Plus, when you follow us, you will receive tips for financial literacy, community events and activities, and news about The Dime Bank, our sponsorships, and our employees.

LCEEC Center Director to Receive Environmental Partnership Award

Sharon Yanik-Craig, director of the Lackawanna College Environmental Center (LCEEC) is among the recipients of the 2020 Northeast Environmental Partnership Awards. Yanik-Craig will be honored during a virtual 30th Annual Evening for Northeast Pennsylvania’s Environment event on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m.

The award recognizes individuals and organizations in northeastern Pennsylvania that have achieved environmental protection or conservation through partnerships.

Yanik-Craig was nominated by Lackawanna College for being a role model for environmental stewardship, fostering key partnerships and serving as an instrumental environmental educator in northeastern Pennsylvania.

As the Director of the LCEEC, Yanik-Craig has developed college-level environmental programs to educate and prepare students for careers as park rangers and environmental educators. She has also reached thousands of children and adults through hands-on camps and environmental programming.

“While I am honored to be a recipient, this award is possible because of current and former Lackawanna College administration investing in environmental education, our community partners who offer valuable experiences to our students and our educators who bring our programs to life,” said Yanik-Craig.

Women’s Network Luncheon with Mayor Paige Cognetti

We recently held a Women’s Network Luncheon at Glenmaura National Golf Club, the first in-person event the Chamber held since March due to COVID-19. The event was sponsored by Fidelity Bank.

Paige Cognetti, Mayor of Scranton, was the keynote speaker. She discussed what the city is doing
to improve the quality of life for businesses and residents – considering the recent COVID-19
challenges – as well as her career/life balance as a new mom in the work-from-home era.

“The Chamber was thrilled to kick-off hosting in-person events again,” said Mari Potis, Chamber
director of membership and events. “All attendees thoroughly enjoyed themselves in a safe and respectful manner, and we look forward to bringing more live networking events to our members.”

The Chamber introduced its “COVID comfort band” system at theluncheon. Guests were asked to wear a wristband associated with their level of social comfort. To ensure the staff and guests safety, all live Chamber events will use the comfort bands for the foreseeable future.