Mid Valley awarded grant

Magda Dexter, senior vice president of HR & Communication at Saint-Gobain North America, presents Patrick J. Sheehan, superintendent of Mid Valley School District, with the trophy and prize at the Saint-Gobain North America headquarters in Malvern.

Magda Dexter, senior vice president of HR & Communication at Saint-Gobain North America, presents Patrick J. Sheehan, superintendent of Mid Valley School District, with the trophy and prize at the Saint-Gobain North America headquarters in Malvern.

Mid Valley School District received a $50,000 grant from a Malvern-based company to improve parts of their secondary center to create a new STEAM learning wing.

The school district entered a national contest, called the “Sustaining Futures Raising Communities” contest, sponsored by Saint-Gobain North America. The global manufacturer of building materials reviewed more than 70 applications from schools all over the country and selected Mid Valley as one of only 30 schools nationwide to advance to the finalist round in October.

The district then garnered the most votes from the public over a two-week period through a poll hosted on Saint-Gobain North America's social media pages and on the contest website to win the grand prize.

The district will use the prize money to launch a new science, technology, engineering, art and math learning wing for students that will house state-of-the-art laboratories.

“One of the greatest joys of the holiday season is the opportunity to give back to the communities where our employees live, work and raise their families,” said Mark Rayfield, CEO of Saint-Gobain North America and CertainTeed. “We’re honored to congratulate the Mid-Valley School District on taking home the Gold title in our Sustaining Futures, Raising Communities contest, and to present them with this Grant for renovating the Secondary Center’s STEAM learning wing. This donation is a gift we hope spreads joy long after the holidays are over by inspiring the students to pursue their interests in STEAM fields.”

Wright Center earns federal recognition

The Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently awarded The Wright Center for Community Health with its Patient-Centered Medical Home recognition.

The recognition is given annually to health centers that embrace the PCMH model of care, which prioritizes a commitment to continuous quality improvement and a patient-centered approach to care.

With the addition of this recognition, The Wright Center has received a total of three HRSA badges this year through the federal agency’s Community Health Quality Recognition program.

The Wright Center also previously earned the 2022 Advancing Health Information Technology for Quality badge and the newly established Addressing Social Risk Factors to Health badge. HRSA annually reviews health centers’ performance data and bestows badges on federal Health

Center Program awardees and Look-Alikes that have made notable quality improvement achievements in the areas of health equity, access, quality, and use of health information technology. HRSA encourages the recipients of its badges to prominently display them on the health centers’ websites and elsewhere, as outward symbols of the centers’ leadership in those key areas.

The Wright Center previously adopted the PCMH model of care, with several of its primary care practices in Northeast Pennsylvania being formally evaluated by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and receiving PCMH recognition.

Under the PCMH model of care, a patient is engaged in a direct relationship with a chosen physician or another provider who serves in a leadership role and coordinates a cooperative team of health care professionals. The leader takes responsibility for the comprehensive integrated care provided to the patient, and advocates and arranges appropriate care with other qualified providers, specialists and community resources as needed.

Research has shown that PCMHs can improve the quality of care and the patient experience, while also reducing health care costs.

The Wright Center for Community Health, which in 2019 became a HRSA-designated Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike, operates a network of primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties.

The Wright Center provides safety-net, comprehensive primary and preventive health services – including medical, dental, behavioral health, addiction and recovery, and infectious disease services – that cover the lifespan from pediatrics to geriatrics. A special emphasis is placed on medically underserved populations, and no patient is turned away due to an inability to pay.

Electricity bill help available

PPL Electric Utilities customers have received more than $11 million in utility payments through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Additional ERAP funding, as well as many other customer assistance programs, remain available for eligible customers. ERAP, a federal program administered by the state, helps renters affected by financial hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides qualifying households with money for monthly rent, utility bills, fees and past-due balances.

Since the program launched in 2021, more than 16,100 PPL Electric customers in eastern and central Pennsylvania have received assistance.

With ERAP, no bill is too large or too small to receive assistance. To qualify, a household must meet specific eligibility criteria and must have an income at or below 80% of the county’s median income. With funding controlled at the county level, as well as the availability of funds becoming limited, those who need assistance should reach out to their respective county agency as soon as possible. For a list of county agencies administering the ERAP program, visit pplelectric.com/ERAP.

Another federal program available to eligible customers is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides grants to households to help with home energy bills or to pay off past-due balances. The most-recent LIHEAP program season began on Nov. 1 ; customers can now apply if they need assistance.

“With energy supply costs on the rise and colder weather causing more energy use, we understand our customers could face financial struggles in the coming months,” said PPL Electric Utilities Manager of Regulatory Programs Yvette Belfort. “We want to assure our customers that we’re here to help. There are multiple programs available to those who qualify, and we want to encourage those who need assistance to take advantage of the resources available to them.”

PPL Electric also offers these programs to income-eligible customers:

OnTrack payment plan — a program that makes managing energy bills easier with lower fixed monthly payments and debt forgiveness.

  • Operation HELP — a fund supported by donations from PPL Electric, its employees, and customers that provides grants to help with energy bills.
  • WRAP — a program that offers free energy-efficiency products, such as LED bulbs, to customers to assist them in saving both energy and money.

All customers, regardless of income, can take advantage of other bill help services like budget billing, which helps make monthly payments more predictable, and choosing a payment due date that works for their budget.

For more information on ERAP, LIHEAP and all of PPL Electric’s other bill help initiatives, including how to apply, visit pplelectric.com/billhelp.