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By W. Russell McDaid

Our elected officials are tasked with crafting a fair and responsible budget amid difficult circumstances and we are pleased they provided some much-needed assistance to Pennsylvania’s skilled nursing facilities through the access add-on payments for high Medicaid facilities this year.

However, we caution that Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program still does not come close to covering the real cost of care. Nursing facilities received flat funding in this year’s budget, which leaves Pennsylvania’s frailest and sickest residents, such as those with advanced dementia or severe chronic health conditions that require around-the-clock care in skilled nursing facilities, vulnerable.

The funding shortfall in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program is the single biggest challenge facing Pennsylvania’s nursing homes and long-term care providers as the commonwealth works to ensure high-quality, person-centered care for a rapidly aging population.

For a decade, facilities have been asked to do more with less. Skilled nursing facilities still cannot invest in necessary capital improvements or advanced technology that would enhance care, nor can they pay competitive wages that would increase staff retention, which is so vital to high-quality care.

Without adequate funding moving forward, some facilities may have to turn away seniors on Medicaid because they cannot afford their care, creating access to care issues in parts of the state.

In addition to adequate funding for skilled nursing facilities, PHCA has strongly advocated for meaningful tort reform legislation, which would help ease the burden that predatory out-of-state law firms place on our sector’s facilities, staff and residents. Senate Bill 747, which would cap punitive damages at 250% of the amount of compensatory damages for long-term care providers, received bipartisan support in the Senate and now awaits a vote in the House of Representatives.

It is critical that Senate Bill 747 be brought up for a vote in the House when the chamber returns in September. When passed, this important piece of legislation will take our scarce Medicaid dollars back from predatory out-of-state lawyers and keep them here in Pennsylvania paying for quality care where they belong.

Senate Bill 747 is essential to the long-term viability of Pennsylvania’s nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living residences and needs to be passed in the House and earn the Governor’s support to become law this fall.

We plan to continue working with the Wolf Administration and the General Assembly to make the needs of seniors a priority by ensuring our sickest, frailest Pennsylvania residents have access to the services they need to live a healthy, safe, high-quality life with the dignity and respect they deserve.

  1. Russell McDaid is President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association.

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chef bill

Bricco, one of Harrisburg’s most popular restaurants, has joined forces with Catering from Ciao! Bakery to create a new, enhanced catering service offering more choices for area businesses to order for in-office breakfast, lunch and meetings.

Operating out of Ciao! Bakery, just around the corner from Bricco, at 304 Chestnut Street, all items on Bricco-Ciao!’s menu are made from scratch each day.

“Everything is made fresh and homemade,” says Bill Collier, Bricco’s executive chef and general manager.

“These days, more people are pressed for time, more people are choosing to eat lunch at their desks, and fewer people are able to spend a full hour, enjoying a leisurely lunch,” said Bill Collier, Bricco’s executive chef and general manager. “We are simply recognizing the shifting habits of the downtown business community and maximizing our service by bringing a higher level of quality and service to lunches and meetings at the workplace.”

The Bricco-Ciao! Catering menu will feature a blend of Ciao! Bakery’s most popular sandwiches, as well as legendary offerings from Bricco’s nearly 10 years as one of Harrisburg’s premier lunch destinations. Included on the Bricco-Ciao! Catering menu are Bricco’s signature salads, its sage pappardelle, with braised duck and pancetta, and its Kennett Square mushroom pizza with caramelized onions, as well as other popular dishes and sandwiches.

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Bricco-Ciao! also offers a breakfast menu that includes assorted pastries, fresh fruit bowls, yogurt with fresh berries, and house made granola, coffee, and juice.

Whether it’s an informal lunch for the office staff, or a formal mid-afternoon conference or meeting, Bricco-Ciao! Catering can create a catered lunch to suit group needs. Among the offerings are buffet-style spreads and build-your-own sandwich boards. Bricco-Caio! Catering will also offer pasta salads, garden salads, a soup of the day, and a selection of cheese, fruit and antipasti.

Chef Collier is committed to choosing only the freshest local ingredients when creating the menu, which changes seasonally to reflect the finest of Pennsylvania agriculture as evidenced by a recent catered lunch for a select group of Pennsylvania House of Representatives leaders.

Held in Rep. Peter J. Daley’s office on Dec. 8 at 12 noon, guests were treated to an assortment of fresh sandwiches, garden salads with a choice of pear vinaigrette or parmesan and roasted garlic dressing, tomato basil soup with focaccia, creamy local vegetable risotto with shaved pecorino Romano and fresh herbs, vegetable platter with roasted red peppers, assorted olives, and beets with an assortment of cookies, brownies and other sweets.

“Bricco-Ciao!’s presentation was truly spectacular in quality, flavor and quantity. I give it two taste buds up,” says Daley.

“In addition to outstanding sandwiches, Ciao! Bakery offers European-style artisan breads and pastries and an artisan design cakes. It is considered to be one of the best bakeries in the Harrisburg area,” says Collier.

Orders for Bricco-Ciao! Catering are for groups of 10 or more and must be placed prior to 4 p.m. on the previous business day by calling either 724-0236 or 724-0222.

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