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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 22, 2016 04:30 PM
From: Representative Ryan E. Mackenzie
To: All House members
Subject: Funding Restoration for Burn Centers
During his line-item veto of the 2015-16 budget passed by the Legislature in December, Gov. Tom Wolf blue-lined $3.78 million in funding for Pennsylvania hospital burn centers. These dollars are critically important for victims of tragic accidents involving serious burn injuries. To help these individuals and mitigate the impacts of the governor’s veto, I will soon be introducing legislation to restore this funding.

Burns require a unique level of treatment. In addition to healing the wound, proper burn care can return the patient to full functionality both physically and emotionally after disfiguring injuries.

Burn centers are particularly vital in providing care for our state’s brave first responders who are injured while protecting us. Pennsylvania’s regional burn centers care for many firefighters suffering from direct burns and smoke inhalation.

The Commonwealth’s burn centers also treat on a daily basis accidental burn victims, including individuals involved in vehicular accidents, and serve as an important link in the child abuse investigations, when professionals are called upon to differentiate between accidental scalding/burns and deliberate acts of abuse.

Lehigh Valley Hospital, which resides in my community, is home to one of the most advanced burn centers in the Commonwealth. And while not alone in this regard, the care this facility provides to burn victims is in many cases the difference between life and death.

While cuts in state funding are problematic themselves, the negative impact is compounded by a loss in matching federal dollars, effectively doubling the cut in funding to critical care burn centers. This threatens to impede the ability of burn specialists to offer burn victims the high quality care they need and deserve.

I ask for your support in restoring the funding cuts to our state’s burn centers, freeing up matching federal dollars in the process.

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Introduced as HB1803