Marina McLaughlin Named Wright Center’s Director of Resident and Fellow Recruitment

Marina McLaughlin, a human resources leader and former registered nurse, has been named Director of Resident and Fellow Recruitment for The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education.

In this leadership role, McLaughlin will recruit physicians from around the country – and around the world – to train within The Wright Center’s graduate medical education programs, including internal medicine, family medicine and psychiatry residencies, as well as cardiology, gastroenterology and geriatrics fellowships. The Wright Center is also adding podiatry and dental residency programs in 2021.

“I’m looking forward to recruiting the best and brightest residents and fellows to ensure the next generation of primary care providers enters the workforce as compassionate, innovative doctors ready to make a real difference in the communities they serve,” McLaughlin said.

Founded in 1976 as the Scranton Temple Residency Program with only six internal medicine residents, The Wright Center has grown into the nation’s largest Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program, with more than 200 physician learners currently enrolled in Northeast Pennsylvania community-based, primary care settings as well as four national partnering sites.

Prior to joining The Wright Center, McLaughlin worked in human resources for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, and Westside Family Healthcare, Wilmington, Delaware. She also served as a registered nurse at Medical Center of Kragujevac in Yugoslavia.

A Jefferson Twp. resident, McLaughlin earned a master’s of business administration degree in healthcare administration and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Wilmington University. She also earned an associate degree in nursing from Medical Boarding School, Yugoslavia.

Geisinger Announces Appointments on Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Affiliate Boards of Directors

Geisinger has appointed Virginia McGregor to the Chair of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Board and Jeff Jacobson to the chair of the Geisinger Affiliate Boards.

McGregor was appointed to Geisinger’s Board of Directors in February 2012. She is chair of the Geisinger Family Committee and serves on the board’s Patient Experience, Academic Affairs and Quality Committees. Prior to her latest appointment, McGregor served as the vice chair on the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Board of Directors. She graduated from Holy Cross College with a Bachelor of Arts in history and also attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Executive Education Program. She currently serves on the board of McGregor Industries, a family-owned business that is a manufacturer of miscellaneous and structural steel products for the construction industry.

In addition to his new appointment as the chair of the Geisinger Affiliates Board of Directors, Jacobson, who was also appointed to Geisinger’s Board of Directors in February 2012, serves on the board’s Geisinger Family and Audit and Compliance committees. Jacobson graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Lehigh University and received his MBA in finance from The University of Chicago. He is the owner and President of Jacobson Hat Co. Inc., in Scranton, PA; Benay Hat Company in Newport News, VA; and Colombino Headwear in Passaic, NJ.

“For the past eight years, Geisinger has been fortunate to benefit from the leadership of such esteemed community members as Virginia McGregor and Jeffrey Jacobson,” said Geisinger board chairman John Bravman, Ph.D. “It is with great excitement that we look forward to how their leadership, guidance and commitment to community will usher the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and all Geisinger affiliates into a long and prosperous future.”

“Whether it’s educating the next generation of physicians or leveraging unique partnerships in our communities, everything we do at Geisinger is done with a focus on making health easier for the communities we serve,” said Jaewon Ryu, M.D., J.D., Geisinger’s president and CEO. “Virginia McGregor and Jeffrey Jacobson share our passion for making care more accessible and more affordable for everyone who calls our region home. There’s not a question in my mind that our communities will continue to benefit from their stewardship, especially in their new leadership roles.”

Governor Wolf Honors PennDOT Employees for Exemplary Service to the Commonwealth

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is proud to announce that several employees are recipients of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence, presented annually for exemplary service to the commonwealth.

“PennDOT employees go above and beyond for the public every day,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “I am so proud of all that these employees have done, and I thank Governor Wolf for recognizing their hard work and service to the people of Pennsylvania.”

Employees from Engineering District 12 (Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties) and the bureaus of Office Services and Fiscal Management received a group award. On Memorial Day in 2019, PennDOT’s Greene County maintenance office in was destroyed in a fire. There were no injuries, but the building was a total loss. Despite having no building to operate from, staff continued operations in Greene County with no interruption in services to the public. They also worked quickly to secure both a temporary office space and a garage space. Less than eight months after the fire, a new permanent building was designed, put out for bid and is currently under construction.

“The teamwork of this group demonstrates PennDOT’s agility to react to emergencies,” said District 12 Executive William Kovach. “They did whatever it took to provide reliable services to the public, and I’m extremely proud.”

The recognized individuals are:

  • William Baird, Highway Equipment Manager 2;
  • William C. Gipe, Materials and Services Manager;
  • Christopher S. Inman, Purchasing Agent Supervisor;
  • Tamie Kiger, Clerical Supervisor 2;
  • Timothy J. Mankey, Traffic Control Specialist;
  • Ryan Stephen Medvitz, Civil Engineer Manager;
  • Terrence G. Pearsall, Transportation Facilities Management Chief;
  • Jack C. Rice, Transportation Facility Manager 3;
  • Tammy H. Tedesco, Administrative Officer 4; and
  • Leslie D. Wynn, Fiscal Management Specialist 4.

PennDOT REAL ID Program Manager Sarah D. Baker has also been recognized for her efforts in making REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and photo ID cards available to Pennsylvanians. Because of prior legislation that prohibited Pennsylvania from complying with the federal REAL ID Act, PennDOT only had 19 months to make REAL IDs available to Pennsylvanians. Baker immersed herself in federal REAL ID guidelines to ensure that PennDOT’s program complies with applicable laws and regulations. Baker also coordinated closely with contractors on the construction of five new driver’s license centers, was instrumental in the design of IT infrastructure to support the REAL ID program, and conducted extensive research on customer management so that each location was designed for the optimal customer experience.

“Sarah’s efforts were – and still are – critical to the success of PennDOT’s REAL ID program,” said Deputy Secretary for Driver and Vehicle Services Kurt Myers. “Thanks to her commitment, Pennsylvanians have access to an efficient process that complies with all applicable federal requirements.”

The PennDOT award recipients will be among 49 state employees representing nine commonwealth agencies recognized by Governor Wolf at a virtual ceremony.

Keystone College PDI Announces Medical Billing and Coding Certificate Course

The Keystone College Professional Development Institute will offer an online Medical Billing and Coding Certificate course beginning Oct. 12.

The 15-credit program prepares students for employment in the medical profession for careers in medical billing, coding, and claims processing in settings such as hospitals, medical practices, nursing and rehabilitation facilities, government agencies and billing services. 

Upon successful completion of five courses, participants will be prepared to take a Certified Professional Coder exam through the American Academy of Professional Coders, an industry recognized credential. Also, credits can be applied toward an associate degree in allied health or a bachelor’s degree in public health at Keystone College. Courses include introduction to health care, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology for coding, among others.

Medical billing and coding have become highly valued skills and those with professional training and certification are often in demand in many locations throughout Pennsylvania. The course is approved for displaced worker training by the Commonwealth Workforce Development System. That means that recently laid off or unemployed workers can receive a job re-training grant funding to help pay for a significant portion of the course. For more information on the medical billing and coding certification program, visit www.keystone.edu/continuinged, e-mail pdi@keystone.edu or call (570) 945-8621 or (570) 945-8622

Daniel E. Cummins to Appear in National Best Lawyers of America Directory

Daniel E. Cummins of the Clarks Summit, PA law firm of Cummins Law was recently notified that he was selected for the fifth year in a row to appear in the national Best Lawyers in America directory under a category devoted to personal injury matters.  This honor is limited to only 5% of all of the attorneys across the nation and is based upon findings of excellence in the practice of law through a peer review process.  

Attorney Cummins has secured this honor annually for the past five years and is the only attorney in all of northeastern Pennsylvania to earn this honor under the category of “Personal Injury – Defense.”  Attorney Cummins focuses his practice on defending businesses and individuals from personal injury lawsuits.

Attorney Cummins also recently published an article in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly entitled “Can the Regular Use Exclusion Withstand an Attack from the Plaintiffs Bar?”  That case reviewed the current status of Pennsylvania law on the validity of an important part of automobile insurance policies.

On September 15th, Attorney Cummins served as a presenter in a continuing legal education program put on by the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel via Zoom.  Attorney Cummins provided the group with an update on important cases and trends in Pennsylvania civil litigation law involving personal injury claims.

Attorney Cummins also participated as one of the presenters in another continuing legal education course for the Monroe County Bar Association via Zoom.  That program, which took place on September 25th, was entitled “Mediation/Arbitration Tips.”  Attorney Cummins provided the audience with tips on how to improve their chances at settling cases at a mediation.

Attorney Cummins focuses his practice on the defense of motor vehicle and trucking accident matters, slip or trip and fall cases, products liability claims, and medical malpractice claims.  He defends businesses and individuals in all of these types of claims and is currently accepting new clients.  He can be reached at dancummins@CumminsLaw.net.

Disaster Blaster Home Check Services

A lot can go wrong while you’re away, especially for extended periods of time. Do you need someone to keep an eye on your home while you’re away? Let us keep an eye on your home while you’re gone so that small problems don’t become BIG issues.

What are Home Check Services?
When you’re away from your home for an extended period of time, it’s important to know that your home is in good hands. It’s important to know that a qualified professional is checking on your property regularly and looking for things like water and storm damage, mechanical failure, and forced entry. Whether you’re going to be away for the season, longer, or something in between, we’re happy to watch your home while you’re away.

Who needs Home Check Services?
Any property that will be vacant for an extended period of time should be checked on regularly by a qualified professional. Some examples include:

• Vacation Homes
• Seasonal Homes
• Rental Units
• Vacant Properties
• Primary Residence during extended travel

Disaster Blaster utilizes industry proven epoxies and cements, as well as state of the art fastening systems, to ensure a long, secure, hold and an effective barrier to future water intrusion. Through our multi-stage process, we will work to address the source of moisture intrusion and repair foundation damage that has already occurred, restoring structural integrity and preventing further damage.

What we check for
During our extensive inspection of your property, we look for anything that may be out of the ordinary. This includes:

• Water Leaks
• Storm Damage
• Mechanical Systems (Furnace, Hot Water Heater, Sump Pumps, Thermostats, etc. are functional)
• Oil Tanks
• Forced Entry
• Rodents & Insects
• Indicators of a Vacant Property (accumulated mail & circulars, unkept yard, etc.)
• And More!

Additional services available
We realize that when you’re in town, you want to enjoy yourself, not be worried about property maintenance and renovations. For this reason, we are happy to handle any projects you may want completed while you’re away! Some examples include:

• Painting
• Remodeling
• Cleaning
• Winterizataion
• Lawn Maintenance

Enroll Now in Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program’s Inaugural OBDII Emissions Training Class

Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program is currently enrolling students into its inaugural OBDII Emissions Training class. The class will be held on the Johnson College campus on Monday, Oct. 26 and Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and conclude with testing on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. Space is very limited to allow for social distancing. To learn more or enroll call 570-702-8979 or email continuinged@johnson.edu.

The OBDII computer monitors a vehicle’s emission control systems in real-time and is capable of informing a motorist or technician of a systemic issue the moment it occurs. The system operates through a series of indicator lights, drive cycles, trouble codes and readiness monitors. During an inspection, an emission analyzer scan tool plugs into the diagnostic connector that is attached to the OBDII computer and communicates with the vehicle. The OBDII computer relays to the scan tool whether it has discovered errors in the emission control systems. The emission analyzer then determines whether the vehicle is being operated in compliance with emission standards. For more information visit https://johnson.edu/continuing-education/odbii-emissions-licensing/.

The class fee of $180 is paid to Johnson College and a study material and testing fee of $39.99 is paid directly to the PA Training Portal.

For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email enroll@johnson.edu, or visit Johnson.edu. . Learn more about Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program at Johnson.edu/continuing-education.

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.