For Immediate Release: February 13, 2015
Lock Haven – In a victory for public health, Clinton County’s State Health Center re-opens today to once again provide the community with critical services to protect public health and safety. Clinton County has been without a state health center since May of 2013 after the Corbett Administration moved ahead with an ill-conceived plan to close nearly half the state’s public health centers and furlough 26 community health nurse positions.
“Today is a good day for the public health and safety of citizens in Clinton County and across the state,” said Kevin Hefty, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania Vice President. “All along, community health nurses have spoken out about the importance of maintaining local state health centers to provide essential public health services for all Pennsylvanians. Re-opening the Clinton County Health Center is an important step in the right direction.”
In April, 2013, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania along with State Representatives Michael Hanna (D-76), Ted Harhai (D-58) and Pam Snyder (D-50) and State Senators Tim Solobay (D-46) and John Wozniak (D-35) filed a lawsuit against the Corbett Administration on the grounds that its plan to close 26 public state health centers and eliminate 73 Department of Health positions (including 26 community health nurses) violated Pennsylvania law and the State Constitution.
In November, 2014 the PA Supreme Court ruled in favor of the union and legislators, ordering the Corbett Administration to reverse course and “cease reducing the number of Centers, reestablish Centers in counties in which they have been unlawfully closed, cease reducing the level of public health services, and restore the level of public health services to that which existed on July 1, 1995.”
“Some of my colleagues and I have been pushing for reinstatement since the moment we found out Governor Corbett’s administration irresponsibly chose to close nearly half of Pennsylvania’s 60 community health centers,” Representative Hanna said. “This is a victory for Clinton County and for all rural Pennsylvanians who deeply rely on these centers to meet their critical health care needs and I applaud the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for making the right decision.”
“After frustrating delays and gridlock with the former Administration, we are encouraged to see the new Acting Secretary of Health Karen Murphy and the Wolf Administration working to reopen health centers and reinstate nurses in a timely way,” continued Hefty, “After all, Pennsylvania’s community health nurses keep our communities safe by providing immunizations, counseling, disaster relief and reaching out to our local communities to meet their health concerns. We look forward to seeing more health centers re-open and community health nurses reinstated to the counties where they belong.”
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest growing healthcare union, uniting over 20,000 nurses, technicians, nursing assistants, and support staff in hospitals, nursing homes, home and community based services, and State institutions across the Commonwealth. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania members are committed to improving the lives of health care workers and ensuring quality, affordable health care for all Pennsylvanians.