Pennsylvania Newsmakers 2/22/15: Measles, Medical Marijuana, and Energy Prices

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Pennsylvania Newsmakers 2/22/15: Measles, Medical Marijuana, and Energy Prices

welcome to Pennsylvania newsmakers and as always thanks for watching well we have an important energy update coming but first measles medical marijuana we’ll talk about that and more after these words this is Pennsylvania newsmakers a fast paced unrehearsed weekly discussion with and about the leaders who shake your world and now here’s your host Terry Madonna well we’ve got a number of important topics to talk about we’ve got the measles situation in the state we’ve got the legislature perhaps moving medical marijuana bill passed the state Senate last year to go last year that would have legalized medical marijuana in the state joining me to talk about that and more is dr. Karen Rizzo she’s the president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society dr. Rizzo welcome and welcome back to the show I can say I think all right let’s start with the measles situation I mean the big question and you still get some reaction to is the measles vaccine safe yes it is the relationship to autism that was concerning many years ago has been dispelled by hard science so the vaccination does not predispose children to autism yeah and Kirk so your point is everybody needs to get get vaccinated I understand if about ninety percent of the population is covered immunized in one way then it pretty much wiped wipes out and we haven’t had I mean who sees measles the physicians until we weren’t seeing measles in young kids were they in our country for the most part for many years and what happened in California was the first reintroduction of it to the States now we did have a case in Chambersburg in Pennsylvania here but um because the effectiveness of the vaccination it hasn’t been seen for many years and this is this particularly in infants can lead to some pretty serious I don’t know if I’ll user correct me you’re the doctor side effects right uh well you are well initially it presents like a cold like symptoms but there can be systemic damage from the measles most concerning would be to the brain hearing loss can also occur in severe cases so it’s certainly nothing to take lightly it’s not like a light cold where it goes away whether they see a physician or not it this this potentially create this medical society have any position yet on the on whether or not the philosophic you know we have an exemption for for philosophical purposes and you know various states have different rules have you taken a position you’re still looking at that should there be a philosophic exemption is that something we advocate for vaccinations to occur period right area quote they’re safe and they’re affected a good point all right let’s talk about another important topic medical marijuana number a couple dozen states now now have it a bill passed the state Senate last year overwhelmingly I think was 43 27 it was bipartisan it was as I understand it a liquid or pill form not a weed form what what what what’s your sense about medical marijuana it’s it’s pros its cons let’s talk about that a bit well the Pennsylvania Medical Society is an opposition to legalizing the recreational use of marijuana that’s one point as far as the medical uses go it’s a more complicated issue there are studies now that are being done to look at the effectiveness of the cannabidiol oil and that seems to be a product that may be of some value in treating children with seizure disorders there are studies going on now in Colorado the state of Washington and in Philadelphia chop looking at that product the information still isn’t out yet but some preliminary suggestions include perhaps there is some benefit but it seems to be inconsistent that’s really the problem from our perspective we’re concerned about hard-science that justifies the use and the safety of it and in the way it’s used the dose the frequency long-term complications side effects what’s the best way to utilize it and for how long in or so we just don’t feel the science is there yet so your point is you want more study more analysis and then as a society we can reach a conclusion I mean one of the things about recreational marijuana is that you know you don’t have to state your opinion on that this is mine I mean I don’t think we want to

ruin people’s lives you know and you know decriminalize it’s one thing what we do you know let some other that the legal folks handle that but there are some even some side effects from you know using recreational marijuana developmental problems with young young folks it I mean there were warnings up about the use of it about what’s going on in with driving that that I think is obviously a concern to the medical community as well absolutely and I think the experience in Colorado has yet to be born out and as as time goes on and the usage increases I think information will be acquired from that experience that may help our state figure out what our next steps are all right we’re going to run to a break when we come back you know it’s a very different world when you go into a doctor’s office today and what happens to you with issues like scope of practice and nurse practitioners and patient-centered medical homes as I think Meryl Streep once said it’s gotten very complicated we’re going to talk I’m going to talk about that with dr. Rizzo after these words this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is presented by the Pennsylvania chamber of business and industry the statewide voice of business this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is brought to you by the Pennsylvania highway information Association the go-to source to learn about transportation projects and issues please visit PA highway info o RG and by the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association business in Pennsylvania is our business welcome back to the program we’re doing a little healthcare update with dr. Karen Rizzo she heads the Pennsylvania Medical Society and dr let’s talk a little bit about as I said it you know I remember going to a doctor 20 even 10 15 years ago it was very different you know when you go in now with scope of practice nurse nurse practitioners Medical Center know let’s pick these pieces up when you say scope of practice what does that mean well it’s it’s a team approach now and that’s really what we advocate for from the Medical Society there’s various members of the team the physician should lead the team because the physician has the most knowledge and clinical experience but there’s clearly valuable members of the team that are not physicians and that’s where the nurse practitioner comes in midwives physician assistants all of these people help in taking care of patients their roles are a little different based on their experience but at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the same thing provide high-quality in an efficient way and keep the patients safe sure now I think in the old days you know the physician would literally do everything right I mean everything you may get walked through the patient room by a nurse and that would be it or they would take care of you but now can they do you know vaccinations they do the tasks I mean it basically is that what you’re talking about well it’s deeper than that with the interrelationship go ahead right depending on what the need of the patient is determines the extent of the evaluation but for certain nurse practitioners and physician assistants are very qualified to take care of it’s the more complicated situations where physician supervision has to be included because not all issues are straightforward yeah and and the diagnosis obviously is a physician you know and what what what you need to do after you get diagnosed I mean that that that seems to me that’s important there’s something else I mean the bottom line here is it’s now all about collaboration right it’s all about collaboration not everybody doing their own thing outgoing in a hundred different directions correct and and collaboration leads to high quality and patient safety oversight by the physician has to be an integral part of all that because that’ll reduce redundancy and inappropriate testing and increased costs yeah one of the questions that’s come fĂȘtes arisen is are you all over trained her family doctors over drinks no I I want my family doctor to be pretty knowledgeable don’t get me wrong but well I I think when you look at the amount of clinical education that goes into becoming a primary care doctor or any physician it’s based on the responsibility we have to take care of that patient it’s thousands of hours anywhere from twelve thousand to 16,000 hours of clinical

experience is what people get that our physicians compared to nurse practitioners it’s in the 500 to 700 our range so there’s clearly a difference but you know as a physician that that responsibility rests with us and for many people the physician the primary care doctor may be their first experience with getting health care or getting an answer for a concern they have so you want to make sure that first encounter is is a good one in an accurate one so that something is not overlooked or missed ya talking about particularly family doctors and we can also get into some specialties there’s this big I mean it looks at least in the reports that I’ve read that we have a pretty important and critical shortage of physicians you’re you know you had an organization that obviously looks at questions like this how and now we have the Affordable Care Act and I don’t need to get into debate whether it’s good or bad but what we do know is that there will be more people because of the coverage you know entering the health care system who didn’t before what is your sense that how critical is it is it even critical that we have a physician shortage well I think depending on where you are in the state varies that that answer will vary and what we found with nurse practitioners that they also even if they were independent like they are in some other states they also have a tendency not to go to rural areas so the issue of independence with them does not seem to affect that outcome they still want to practice where physicians practice as well so we don’t find that their independence would change that scenario I get your point and then we also have and maybe we’ll have you back were just about out of time we can talk about this at another point is you know the num through some physicians reluctant to take you know Medicaid patients and we’re going to have it you know we’re in this change taking place in Harrisburg now into what the governor governor wolf is called simple traditional Medicaid I did I think I understand that as opposed to the program that Governor Corbett has in place so maybe that’s something you can come back and we can talk about you know once we get into the Medicaid expansion you know what’s going on with physicians why they they don’t you know wouldn’t take patients as versus why they do at any rate finally do youth is there any evidence that we’re getting more doctors into the net into the into medical school is this something that we’re going to have to work out over time well I mean we’ve had a new medical school started in the Scranton area so that certainly helps I think last year they had 7,000 applications for a hundred spots so that adds to the manpower issue in our state but we educate so many the next up is to keep them here that’s a good point all right thanks for coming in great update all right what’s going on in the world of energy if you stay with us you’re going to find out this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is brought to you by Pennsylvania credit union Association Pennsylvania credit unions where people are worth more than money to find a credit union that is right for you check out I belong o RG and by the Energy Association of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania’s energy information source this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is presented by the hospital and health system Association of Pennsylvania working toward a healthy Pennsylvania and by the Pennsylvania coal alliance representing companies involved in America’s most affordable reliable energy source to learn more visit PA call alliance com well we’re ready for an important energy update we’re going to talk about the energy outlook prices what’s going on with with replacing pipelines important subject Terry Fitzpatrick is the president and CEO of the Energy Association of Pennsylvania is on the program along with Bob beardies the president and CEO of yu gi I used to be a customer for a long long time my parents were customers I wanted you I wanted to tell you that at any rate all right Terry you and I’ve chatted frequently about this gasoline prices unbelievably low levels you know it’s good for some people if bad for other people I guess for folks who drive a lot and fill up their guests thanks it’s good what’s big what’s the overall energy outlook well the overall energy outlook for pennsylvania’s is really

very very good better than we could have dreamed perhaps a decade ago the Marcellus the supplies from Marcellus have affected have affected of course your natural gas bill and bobs going to tell us some about that but what’s happened with yu-gi-oh also your electricity bill because that gas is used to generate electricity and that the price of Holt the wholesale price of electricity tends to follow the price of natural gas so really I from a supply standpoint in a price standpoint we’re in better shape than we’ve been in a long time yeah a bob is there any evidence that this is likely to change I mean I’m sure you follow all this I I can never figure out why why it dropped you know it I always thought well there everybody’s manipulate not in our state but you know naturally manipulating the price of gas is your when you’re looking ahead when you g eyes looking ahead are you planning on these a prices to stay where they are or you think inevitably don’t they have to go up we see a considerable amount of stability in the out-years because we now have with the Marcellus Shale locally produced locally developed natural gas and for us you know that stability is a big selling point and natural and the one thing that Terry and I’ve talked about over the years it I still don’t quite understand why it can’t be done is to use natural gas to replace petroleum for automobiles I mean it you know you would think that given you know the fact that this would benefit us in our country right Tara either what have you ever right well there is some movement towards that in fact I think they’re putting some some gas refueling stations in on the turnpike now it’s being used a lot 44 like local bus systems and wherever there’s local traffic because you’re close to the infrastructure to refuel it Lee and that’s really the problem the infrastructure to build the refueling operations is very very expensive and it takes a huge commitment to do it so it really isn’t surprising that it’s slow I think for that to get you get moved but but you go ahead we have I think nine stations across our system that are in some stage of planning and Terry is exactly right i think that natural gas as a fuel grows from the fleet business out and having a fleet of trucks or cars that leave from the same location return to the to the same location at the end of the day is important and the economics are great from a fuel standpoint but i think we need to get to a point where there’s an economy of scale with the vehicles themselves right yeah that that’s a good point i mean and who knows with electric and I mean it seems like all of this is in such a huge state of flux over the course of many years Terry it’s been on a program giving us the energy update we’ve talked about that and it’s almost impossible to know where it all goes but natural gas is cleaner and petroleum correct it is so and then we got the whole debate over nuclear all right we’re going to run for a break through a break when we come back I want it I want to I want to talk about how important that the pipeline replacement is and what you’re doing there as an example of what I think is going on in many places around the country energy update continues after these words this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is brought to you by the Pennsylvania Medical Society inspired physicians committed to the good health of pennsylvanians and the advancement of the practice of medicine and by the Pennsylvania health care association the future of long-term care this broadcast of Pennsylvania newsmakers is brought to you by the Pennsylvania business council and by the Pennsylvania business council education foundation our energy update continues with Terry Fitzpatrick and Bob beard I mean one of the obvious we talked about this before when we get into the business of infrastructure replacement and we talk about roads bridges and mass transit and how important is in a sense taking these old pipelines and making sure that they’re safe in it you know they work is in a sense sort of the functional equivalent of that isn’t it absolutely isn’t it go no absolutely safety and reliability of a natural gas distribution and transmission network i mean that’s that’s apex for us that’s the most important thing that we do so tell me what i mean basically where your you do it is sort of when you reach at Terry was explaining this shooing sure from from the producing areas of the country where natural gas is where they drill for and produce natural gas typically that gas will be put on or in a large diameter high pressure interstate

pipeline UGI takes the gas from those pipelines and then we distribute it to the communities across Pennsylvania where into the into the household into the households right we’re in 45 counties across the state of 750 communities so we know Pennsylvania where and we have a very aggressive and robust replacement plan of all of our means and we’ve got 13,000 mains running throughout the state it’s a tremendous amount of party now is there a health risk if these aren’t done properly I mean you know I’m talking about if they’re old and they’re need replacement I mean what what what’s what are the some of the problems if it’s not done that for obvious reasons well one of the big one of the big issues in the industry generally particularly in the Northeast I would say where the systems are older you know they were built you no longer longer ago is replacing the old cast iron and bare steel pipes because you know the newer pipes the plastics are more resilient and they are better in a lot of ways and they’re safer too so it is a priority to do that cost a lot of money to do it as well and pragmatically you need the resources you need to stage that but you know it’s been a big emphasis of the industry generally and particularly here in Pennsylvania where a couple of years ago a law was passed to help the companies be able to recover the cost of doing that more quickly to provide an incentive to accelerate and what’s that loll do I mean how does that work it allows the company’s previously you had to always had to wait until you filed a rape case until you could get any of the costs back this allows the companies to recover in orbit on our faces Utilities Commission guy no he knows all this though so yeah but so does the fact that that natural gas prices have fallen petroleum prices have fallen energy prices are generally you know falling or you know certainly in some cases remaining the same not going up how does that help you kind of replace all this sure you know infrastructure sure well we look at growth and infrastructure replacement somewhat separately the infrastructure replacement UGI of that 13,000 miles of piping eighty-five percent is constructed of contemporary materials the plastic materials that Terry was referring to and that’s helping us to create a lot of jobs across the state because we’re spending a lot of capital with that replacement work from a growth perspective when we saw the price of natural gas come down and stabilized over the last handful of years it makes us very attractive relative to competing fuels and an example just last year we and we converted from other sources of fuel more than I think 13,000 customers and added 18 thousand customers across the state so I think people are starting to see the value of locally-produced natural gas as you pointed out in stable costs and reducing costs I’ll give you a statistic since let’s say 2008 I think we’ve converted 45,000 homes from fuel oil to natural gas just last year alone those forty five thousand households saved 75 million dollars in heating costs so it’s significant right look Thank thanks for coming in for the with you energy update well we’ll see and by the way we’ll see you next week for another edition of Pennsylvania newsmakers and as always stay well