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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

UPMC & Highmark Agree To Ten-Year Contract
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Two western Pennsylvania health care giants have a deal that averts the looming breakup of their business relationship, an agreement that prevents disruption and higher costs for many patients. Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Monday that UPMC and Highmark have a new contract that gives Highmark insurance customers in-network access to UPMC doctors and hospitals for the coming decade. Shapiro, who earlier this month lost a court decision in his effort to extend the companies' relationship, called the agreement a good deal for patients and the public. UPMC had opposed renewing their agreement in 2012 after Highmark purchased what's now Allegheny Health Network and became what UPMC viewed as a competitor in providing health services and insurance coverage. That led to a five-year consent decree that expires Sunday. (Photo: WPXI)

Push For LSA Grant Program Audit Continues
Local State Representative Bud Cook (R-Washington/Fayette) continues his push to get a detailed look at Washington County's casino gaming 'Local Share Account' grant program. The 49th Legislative District representative says Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has confirmed the receipt of his formal request for an audit of the program. Cook says that his office will be providing the auditor general with additional information as requested. In a press release, Cook says he wants "to be crystal clear about my objectives regarding the request made to the auditor general". "This is not about taking away LSA grants, but rather assuring that the current LSA grant process is fair, transparent and accountable!" Specifically, Cook says he is concerned that the program does not require or maintain adequate voting records or meeting minutes regarding how the review committee votes, deliberates or discusses why they support and/or reject applicants or their respective funding requests. Cook says he will be visiting local borough and township leaders that have requested more information about the audit, as well as, those who have concerns with his proposed legislation to address "the lack of action to resolve these concerns."

Camp Leader Accused Of Failure To Report Child Abuse
SOMERSET, Pa. - (WPXI) - Two officials at a local camp are accused of failing to report an alleged sexual encounter between a 16-year-old and an 11-year-old inside a cabin. The alleged incident happened at TeenQuest in Somerset County earlier this year. Police say Mark Witt, the executive director of the camp, knew about what happened after a family member told him, but he failed to report it to investigators. Jason Witt, who also works at the camp, is charged too. Court papers say Jason Witt found out about the incident in early May. The documents also said because of Mark Witt's position, he is required to report suspected child abuse.

Man Charged With Stabbing During Fight
HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. - (WPXI) - A man was arrested after he allegedly stabbed another man in the face during a fight Friday at a home in Hempfield Township, authorities said. Police were called to a home on Tiffany Circle, where a man was unconscious and bleeding on the kitchen floor when officers first arrived. The man then regained consciousness, police said. Investigators were told Vicente Andres was responsible for stabbing the man at a neighboring home. Andres took off after the fight and went to a hospital, police said. The man Andres is accused of stabbing told police he was knocked to the ground and punched about 15 times before being stabbed in the face. A woman who heard screaming initially found the man with Andres standing over him with a knife, police said. She then helped the stabbing victim to her home, where police responded. The man who was stabbed was taken to a hospital for treatment. Andres claims he was in the bathroom when the other man punched him and the two began fighting. Andres said he only hit the other man with his fists and “had no knowledge of a knife being involved,” according to a criminal complaint.

Pa. Lawmakers Will Okay Money For School Security Grants
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania lawmakers say they'll authorize a second year of school and community security grants, a $60 million program spurred by last year's Florida school shooting that killed 17 people. Republican lawmakers said Monday that a newly unveiled compromise budget package will keep the program intact for the coming school year. Officials did not have immediate details on how the program guidelines will change. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf had proposed a second year at $45 million, but lawmakers say they are diverting another $15 million from the state court system's cash reserve to bring it up to $60 million. Under the past year's program, school districts could apply for a grant for a wide range of purposes, including safety and security assessments, security-related technology, training, counselors, police officers and anti-violence programs.

Woman Says Planet Fitness Worker Recorded Her Tanning
BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) - Police in West Virginia say they are investigating a report that a health club employee spied on a gym member who was using a tanning booth, possibly with a recording device. Beckley Police Lt. Dave Allard told The Register-Herald a Planet Fitness member reported that she had been spied on by an employee while she was using a private room to tan last week. The woman also told police the employee "had access to a recording device." In West Virginia, it's illegal to record private images of someone while they're in a place where privacy is a reasonable expectation. State law also prohibits the sharing of nude images without the subject's consent. A spokesperson with Planet Fitness told the newspaper that company representatives are looking into the complaint.

Government Moves Migrant Kids
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. government has removed most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas following reports that more than 300 kids were detained there and caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation. Rep. Veronica Escobar said 30 children were at the facility near El Paso as of Monday. Her office was briefed on the situation by an official with Customs and Border Protection. Attorneys who visited the station in Clint, Texas last week said older children were trying to take care of infants and toddlers, The Associated Press first reported Thursday. Some had been detained for three weeks, and 15 children were sick with the flu. It's unclear where all the children have been moved. But Escobar said some were sent to another facility in El Paso.

White House Threatens To Veto Aid Bill For Migrant Families
WASHINGTON (AP) - A White House veto threat is raising fresh questions about the fate of a House bill that would provide $4.5 billion to improve the treatment of migrant families detained after crossing the U.S. southern border. In a letter to lawmakers Monday, the White House says the measure would hamstring the administration's border security efforts. The warning comes as Hispanic and liberal Democrats press House leaders to add provisions to the legislation strengthening protections for migrant children. Though revisions are possible, House leaders are still hoping for approval as early as Tuesday. Congress is in recess next week. The Senate planned to vote this week on similar legislation that has bipartisan backing, but many House Democrats say the Senate version's provisions aimed at helping migrant children are not strong enough.

Trump Order Seeks Disclosure Of Hospital Prices
WASHINGTON (AP) - Administration officials say President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Monday that calls for upfront disclosure by hospitals of actual prices for common tests and procedures. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the idea is to give patients practical information that they can use to keep costs down. For example, if a hospital charges $3,500 for a type of echocardiogram and the same test might cost $550 in a doctor's office, the patient might go for the lower-price procedure to save on copays. Trump's order sets in motion a rule-making process by federal agencies, so timing for the final result is uncertain. Some health industry players are concerned about the administration's approach, saying it would force them to disclose contractual information considered trade secrets.

Trump: Woman Who Accused Him Of Assault Is 'Not His Type'
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says a New York-based advice columnist who has accused him of sexually assaulting her in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s is not his "type." The president said in an interview with The Hill on Monday that writer E. Jean Carroll is "totally lying." Trump says: "I'll say it with great respect: Number one, she's not my type. Number two, it never happened." Carroll says Trump pushed her against a dressing room wall, unzipped his pants and forced himself on her. Carroll says she pushed him away and ran from the store. During his presidential campaign, more than a dozen women accused Trump of sexual misconduct in earlier years. Trump denies the allegations and has disparaged the looks of an accuser before.

Police Release Hundreds Of Files From Smollett Investigation
CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago police have released hundreds of files from the investigation into Jussie Smollett's claim he was attacked by two men, including footage that shows the actor with his face blurred and wearing a white rope he told detectives his attackers looped around his neck. Many files contain surveillance camera footage that police collected as they launched what was initially a hate crime investigation, as well as footage from what appears to be the route police have said the two brothers who participated in the staged January attack took to and from the scene. The release is the latest chapter in a story that began with Smollett's allegations that he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack. He was eventually arrested on charges that he lied to police, and prosecutors later dismissed the charges.

Truck Driver In Crash That Killed Seven Motorcyclists Faces Charges
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The driver of a truck in a crash that killed seven motorcyclists has been charged with seven counts of negligent homicide. The New Hampshire attorney general's office says 23-year-old Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy was arrested Monday morning at his home in Springfield, Massachusetts. He is expected to make a court appearance Monday afternoon in Springfield. A man who answered the phone at the home of Zhukovskyy's family and would identify himself only as his brother-in-law says the family is in shock and feeling the same pain as everyone else but couldn't say whether the driver was right or wrong. Investigators say Zhukovskyy's pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer collided with a group of 10 motorcycles Friday on a two-lane highway in northern New Hampshire.

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