Lebanon VAMC offers veterans Uber program to medical care

An initiative which provides supplemental transportation is available to eligible South Central Pennsylvania veterans. 

The initiative, VA Uber Health Connect, provides access to and from medical care for veterans in South Central Pennsylvania. Survey feedback from 2,300 veterans between March 2022 to January 2023 indicates that 83% of veterans stated they would not have been able to access their medical care without the program. 

National Lead of VA Uber Health Connect Indra Sandal said the VA Uber Health Connect Initiative bridges the transportation gap by ensuring veterans have reliable transportation for their health care needs. 

“By offering ride sharing as an additional means of transportation, VA is helping veterans receive access to the best and soonest possible care — while still achieving cost savings,” Sandal said in a statement. 

Launched as pilot program in 2022 at 10 VA Medical Centers, the initiative completed more than 30,000 Uber rides across 408,529 miles for veterans from January 2022 to March 2023. Along with increasing access and improving clinical engagement, the rides have saved the VA an estimated $35 million. 

Faster emergency department and inpatient discharges are part of the cost savings, along with closing the gap on an estimated 28,000 missed appointments. The program is expanding this year to nine new Veteran Integrated Service Networks and 60 VAMCs. 

According to the American Hospital Association, transportation challenges prevent 3.6 million people in the United States from obtaining medical care. Social isolation, underlying medical conditions and a greater need for frequent clinician visits are among transportation barriers faced by veterans, children, and older adults. 

Jennifer Stevey, Mobility Manager at the local Veterans hospital, called the initiative a life-altering program that offers care to vulnerable veterans the moment they need it. 

“It also advances our ability to offer more accessible, equitable health care to our local Veteran community but it’s very important that veterans understand how the program works,” said Stevey. “They must allow VA to schedule their ride with Uber; otherwise, they may be responsible for the cost of the trip.”

Lebanon County to host new corporate headquarters

A new 22,000-square foot corporate headquarters in Lebanon County promises growth for area-based Environmental Cleaning Solutions (ECS) and Eagle Distribution Services. 

Flightpath Sports Park in Palmyra will serve as the site for the new headquarters. Officials broke ground in September of last year and the move to the new facility is projected to take place in July. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for this September. 

The facility is custom-designed and will include 17 offices, two conference rooms, kitchen and cafeteria, and a Welcome Center. ECS will control over six acres within the Flightpath Sports Park complex. 

“Our new Corporate Support Center will allow us to further serve our customers and build our incredible team of employees,” Dave Ober, president and CEO of ECS, said in a statement. “We have been proud to call central Pennsylvania our home for over 30 years and this facility will further solidify us in the local community and provide new employment and growth opportunities.” 

A franchisee of Rainbow International Carpet Drying and Cleaning Company, Ober in 1990 named his new company Ober Rainbow Services Inc. and focused on janitorial services and floor covering operations. 

In 2003 the commercial cleaning service was re-branded as ECS and headquartered in Lebanon. Along with residential and commercial cleaning, ECS also provides warehouse distribution labor support. 

Eagle Distribution Services was founded in 2022 and is focused on staffing solutions in several industries, distribution being the largest.

Pennsylvania’s skill video games legislation could generate $300m in tax revenue

An estimated $300 million in immediate tax revenue could be the result of new legislation aimed at establishing a taxing structure and regulatory framework for skill video games in Pennsylvania. 

Small business owners, lawmakers, members of the Pennsylvania Taverns and Players Association (PA TAP) and veterans expressed their support at the State Capitol last week for legislation for skill video games in the state. 

Sponsored by State Senator Gene Yaw, R-Bradford/Lycoming/Sullivan, the legislation could bring millions in tax revenue and would help eliminate from the market illegal and unlicensed games. 

Yaw said if anyone wanted to know the importance of skill games, they should visit a family-owned market in Lebanon County, a VFW in Bucks County, or a neighborhood market in western Pennsylvania. 

“Skill games are a piece of the small business economy in our state, and we heard from supporters from all walks of life on the importance of the revenue they provide,” Yaw said in a statement. “It is time we recognize the benefits of this emerging industry and offer regulatory support, so we can ensure it flourishes safely and responsibly.” 

LaVar Arrington, former Penn State and NFL player and proponent of skill games community support and charitable giving, was among those promoting the proposal at the Capitol on April 25. 

Nicole Miele, owner of Miele Manufacturing, a Lycoming-based manufacturer of skill game terminals located in Yaw’s senate district, said skill games are built in Pennsylvania and 90% of the revenue from the finished products stay in the state and help support their communities. 

“Skill games mean good-paying, family sustaining jobs across the board,” Miele said. “As the legal skill game business grows, so does the small business community.” 

The proposed legislation incudes a valid I.D. requirement to play and a limit on the number of machines in each establishment. All games will be required to be connected to a terminal collection and control system that allows the state to monitor transactions and ensure that taxes are accrued and paid. 

In addition, the legislation will strengthen penalties for illegal and unlicensed games and gambling devices.

LV Chamber selected for national workforce training program

The Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce is one of 11 regions selected by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Foundation for economic mobility for rural workers.

As a participant in a new national program as part of the cohort for Economic Mobility for Rural Workers, the chamber will receive training and support to implement a program that helps place low-income, rural learners in good-paying jobs.

“We are just thrilled to be selected to participate and look forward to learning and collaborating with our peers,” Director of Workforce and Education Diane Harlow said in a release.

Sustainable workforce development remains a high priority for Lebanon County, which is made up of rural and urban municipality designations with more than 140,000 residents. Through advocacy, awareness, and collaboration, the chamber serves as a catalyst to support local workforce development.

The 18-month program is made possible with funding from Ascendium Education Philanthropy. All the participants will serve rural communities and explore and pilot different models that help place low-income, rural learners in good-paying jobs with career mobility.

Chambers will work together utilizing similar strategies and receive customized technical assistance. Participants will also develop a strategy to continue their work following the conclusion of the program.

As chambers are positioned to build and support cross-sector coalitions that create sustained business engagement in workforce development and education, they can support connections between postsecondary education providers, learners, and employers. The aim is to ensure rural learners have pathways to employment without having to relocate.

Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Foundation President and CEO Sheree Anne Kelly said economic mobility is key to unlocking economic prosperity.

“Chambers of commerce are catalytic leaders ideally suited to address pressing talent challenges and ensure thriving and equitable rural economies,” Kelly said.

North Cornwall Commons expanding in Lebanon County

North Cornwall Commons is undergoing further expansion in Lebanon County. 

Byler Holdings LLC announced on Nov. 30, that the mixed-use community would break ground on Dec. 6 on a 27,000 square foot corporate office building.  

The building will comprise three floors, with half of the offices serving as Byler Holdings’ corporate headquarters. The other half of the building will have offices available for leasing. 

Byler Holdings also announced its breaking ground on its third retail building in North Cornwall Commons. Expected to be completed in spring 2023, the new retail building will include tenants and a drive-thru with Lancaster-based Oola Bowls.  

The first retail building is occupied by Ancestor Coffehouse, Premier Nails, Vilana Studio, Caliper Home Loans, and Isaac’s Craft Kitchen & Brewery. The second retail building will host Coldwell Banker, State Farm Insurance and more. 

North Cornwall Commons includes two five-story apartment buildings housing 205 units; two retail buildings hosting 12 businesses; 160-unit townhome community; Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott; Micks All American Pub. 

On its site, Byler Holdings LLC describes North Cornwall Commons as integrating a “community shopping center with a luxury rental townhome community, a master-planned business campus with dining and lodging establishments.” The project will include approximately 200,000 square feet of office space and a hotel, while the shopping center will feature a pedestrian-friendly livable community atmosphere and will be anchored by national retailers. 

A family-owned business with operations in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, Byler Holdings LLC is headquartered in south central Pennsylvania.