Pennsylvania Department of Health

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

For several months, the state Health Department has been refusing to disclose who is on the panels that scored applications for medical marijuana licenses.

But now, the Department of Open Records is ordering the agency to release the information. 

The Open Records decision comes after protracted back-and-forth between the DOH and PennLive.

After releasing permits to grow, process and sell medical marijuana to select applicants, the department wouldn’t name the panelists who had made those decisions.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

A Department of Health report out this week has shown that only 28 percent of Pennsylvania children undergo recommended lead testing.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

As students in Pittsburgh and across the state prepare to head back to school, they will be required to comply with a new immunization policy from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

eggrole / Flickr

Physicians in Pennsylvania can now register to participate in the state’s forthcoming medical marijuana program.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health Wednesday shows the backlog of untested rape kits is shrinking, but is still far from gone.

The report found there are 3,217 rape kits in the state waiting to be processed. Of those, 1,214 were more than a year old, which the state defines as backlogged.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Several House committees held the latest in a string of hearings Monday about Governor Tom Wolf’s plan to consolidate four state agencies.

Many lawmakers expressed the same concerns they’ve been voicing for weeks—they want more details before they make any decisions.

The combination of the departments of Drugs and Alcohol, Aging, Human Services, and Health is considered the biggest agency merger the commonwealth has ever done.

Indiana County Republican Cris Dush voiced a common complaint—that it’s all moving way too fast.

Ted S. Warren / AP

One year ago, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf. Officials with the Department of Health said they hope the first prescriptions will be filled in May of 2018.  

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Births in Allegheny County are expected to rise for the third consecutive year in 2017, but state Department of Health officials are hesitant to pin it on any one reason – especially a hockey game.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Pennsylvania’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program seems to be performing well  in its first four months, with more than 60,000 health care professionals using the database.

The program, called PDMP for short, launched in August and includes more robust reporting requirements for doctors and pharmacists.

Katie Meyer / WITF

This year, state legislators determined that the Department of Health would be responsible for reducing the backlog of untested rape kits. So far, department of health officials said that effort has not been successful.

Part of that agreement also stipulated that the Department of Health would ensure that local police departments submitted all of the untested kits.

Pennsylvania Internet News Service

 

Pennsylvania has officially joined nearly every other state in the U.S. by setting up a program to track prescriptions of powerful drugs like oxycodone and methadone.

It's considered a big step forward to address the addiction crisis.

Doctors, physician assistants and other prescribers can now check the database to see when a patient last received the drugs.

Jamie / Flickr

Pennsylvania has used a prescription drug monitoring program and database since 1972 and it’s due for an upgrade.

“Although it was a prescription monitoring system, it was woefully inadequate,” said Michael Zemaitis, a University of Pittsburgh pharmaceutical science professor.

Angela S / flickr

Throughout the country, municipalities are being impacted by the abuse of heroin and opioid use. What’s being done in the commonwealth to address the problem? We’ll pose that question to Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary of Health Lauren Hughes and discover how the health department plans to work with healthcare professionals throughout the state to confront opioid abuse. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Flickr

  The Pennsylvania Department of Health  and the Department of Education announced Thursday a joint proposal to revise immunization regulations for school children.

Health Secretary Karen Murphy and Education Secretary Pedro Rivera said this week they want to better protect students’ health by requiring students to finish all immunizations within the first five days of school. If guardians fail to complete that schedule, a written note from a doctor outlining the plan to immunize the student must be submitted to school officials within the first five days of class.  Currently families have up to eight months to make sure school children have their vaccinations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in seven people currently living with HIV is unaware they have the virus.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health would like to see that change, and it's urging all people between the ages of 13 and 64 to get tested for the disease.

“The HIV rates in Pennsylvania continue to be a significant and serious health problem,” said Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine.

Task Force Would Increase Prostate Cancer Awareness

Mar 29, 2015

One in six Pennsylvania men will suffer from prostate cancer in his lifetime. One in 30 dies from the disease, more than the national average, according to the Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Coalition.

Legislation has been introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate to create the Prostate Cancer Task Force through the Department of Health.

Seven participants in the 18-member task force will be healthcare professionals with experience treating prostate cancer, according to the text of the bill.

Fifteen years after tobacco companies agreed to pay restitution to states for costs related to tobacco use, a new report finds that most states are not spending enough of that money on smoking prevention and cessation programs.

It’s flu season again — have you been vaccinated yet?

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is offering free flu clinics throughout the commonwealth during National Influenza Vaccination Week,

Secretary of Health Michael Wolf said the holiday season is the perfect time to remind people of the importance of getting vaccinated.

Summer may be coming to a close, but the threat of West Nile Virus continues.

The Department of Health has detected Pennsylvania’s first confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus this year.

A Montgomery County man tested positive for West Nile Aug. 7 and was hospitalized, and the infection was confirmed in a York County man July 20, who did not require hospitalization.

Health department spokeswoman Kait Gillis said both men are recovering.

Sixty human cases of West Nile Virus were recorded in 2012.

State administrators, health care providers and researchers gathered in Pittsburgh Thursday to work on building a comprehensive plan to do battle with cancer in Pennsylvania. 

The five-year plan is required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Director Nancy Davidson said the plan is being built with the center’s input. 

Davidson said the group is using the standards put forward by the CDC to set the tone, but she stressed that it is Pennsylvania’s plan, not the CDC’s plan.

SEIU, Lawmakers Sue Corbett Administration Over Planned Health Care Cuts

Apr 2, 2013

Updated: 5:38 p.m.

The Service Employees International Union Healthcare (SEIU) Pennsylvania, along with two Democratic state senators and three state representatives filed a lawsuit against the Corbett administration over its plan to close 26 state health centers and eliminate 73 Department of Health positions.

As part of Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed 2013-2014 budget, about half of the state’s sixty health centers will be shuttering, consolidating or morphing. Lay-offs of personnel are also part of the proposal; which state officials say is an effort to modernize Pennsylvania’s public health services and save money.

Michael Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health says this move would be a way to deliver services to people who can’t get to the health centers.