Welcome Aggressive Realty

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Aggressive Realty, to help us fulfill our mission. 

Aggressive Realty is a new real estate agency founded earlier this year by local veteran realtors Marc Nespoli and Rebecca Turner. Aggressive Realty is passionate about its clients’ goals and aims to treat each client as if they were its only one. It primarily serves the greater Berwick, Bloomsburg and Danville communities, as well as Benton, Catawissa, Lewisburg and Millville. Located at 157 West Main St., Bloomsburg, Aggressive Realty can be reached at 570-213-4245, by email, or visit its website or Facebook page

Welcome Bloomsburg Music Therapy

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Bloomsburg Music Therapy, to help us fulfill our mission. 

Bloomsburg Music Therapy is a new business owned by Alysha Suley, a Bloomsburg resident and board certified music therapist by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music Therapy is the use music interventions by a trained professional to maximize quality of life through improvement in cognitive, emotional, social, behavioral, or physical functioning, the restoration of lost abilities, or by maintaining current abilities. Services provided by Bloomsburg Music Therapy include therapy assessment, individual or group music therapy, as well as participation in wellness events aimed at stress relief, care for the caregivers and burnout prevention. Bloomsburg Music Therapy can be reached at 570-316-1899 or visit its website or Facebook page.

Preparing for Windows 7 End of Life

From MePush

January 14, 2020. 

Why is this date important? That is the date that Microsoft has listed as the “End of Extended Support” for both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008R2. 

This is important to note because of the the security risks that become extremely severe after support is dropped. The dropping of support from Microsoft means that no NEW security patches will be released and because of that, no open vulnerabilities in the operating systems will be patched.

What to do next

There are two approaches that can be taken to get your infrastructure to a more modern platform/operating system. Replace or upgrade. Most workstations and servers that are running either Windows 7 or Server 2008R2 are old enough that they should be outright replaced but there are exceptions. 

Contact MePush or one of the other IT service providers among our membership for more information on what to do to prepare for the end of Windows 7 in 2020. 

HIPAA Laws: What Employers Don’t Know Can Hurt Them

From ChamberChoice and Smart Business Pittsburgh

When it comes to the issue of privacy concerning employees and their health care benefits, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is one of the most misunderstood and miscommunicated laws for both employers and employees alike.

“HIPAA can seem unclear, and when coupled with an employer’s health care plan, it can further create confusion and frustration for employers, HR managers and employees,” says Keith Kartman, client advisor at JRG Advisors.

Smart Business spoke with Kartman about what employers need to understand regarding privacy laws and health benefits.

What is HIPAA?
The HIPAA Privacy Rule, as outlined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, establishes national standards to protect medical records and personal health information. It applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses and health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically. Specifically, the rule requires appropriate safeguards to protect personal health information privacy, and sites limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made with this information without patient authorization.

In addition, the rule provides for patients’ rights concerning their health information, including the right to examine and obtain a copy of their health records, and to request corrections. The types of patient health care information that must be disclosed to be considered ‘protected’ by HIPAA includes date of birth, full name, diagnosis and medical record number.

How does HIPAA affect employee benefits?
As an employer, you are considered a health plan if you pay for a portion of the cost of medical care. If you pay for a portion of an employee’s health plan or have a self-funded medical insurance plan, you fall under the HIPAA Privacy Rule and compliance.

HIPAA mandates how a health plan or covered health care providers disclose protected health information to an employer, including managers or supervisors. As an employer, you have access to health care information that falls under HIPAA, such as benefit enrollment, benefit changes, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and any wellness program information. Conversely, employees who pay for a portion of the total cost of an employee health insurance plan are also required to comply with HIPAA.

Under HIPAA, employees must first provide authorization to health care providers before they can disclose any health care related information to an employer. This is why employees must complete Family Medical Leave Forms authorizing the release of their health care information before granting them FMLA leave.

Under HIPAA, how are employers required to protect an employee’s health information?
Employers are required to protect sensitive health care information and changes to benefit paperwork and any associated plan changes that include any information that comes from an electronic health record.

Employers are also required to protect Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and wellness program information. This means program administrators and other involved employees are provided with HIPAA training to ensure employee health care information is protected.

Occupational Health Records concerning employee physicals, workers’ compensation or workplace injury under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are also required to be protected under HIPAA. This information should be stored in a secure location. As an employer, you should provide on-going HIPAA training to any and all employees who may have access to sensitive employee health information.

Lastly, employers are required to display HIPAA privacy laws in the workplace and notify employees of any company-specific privacy policies. As an employer, you should have a clearly defined privacy violation policy that outlines the process for notification and investigation of any potential privacy violations.

HIPAA laws regulating the privacy of protected health information are complicated and ever-evolving, so employers need to stay up to date on the latest developments and seek the guidance of knowledgeable benefits professionals or their legal counsel to ensure compliance.

Saving Energy and Money Through Increased Efficiency; Rebates Available For Old Appliances

From PPL Electric Utilities

Imagine 282,000 homes – ranches, split-levels, Colonials, even mansions. Houses as far as the eye can see.

Now imagine all those homes going completely off the grid for a year — as in, not using any electricity. Not running the dishwasher once. Not baking a single cake or loaf of bread. Not turning on the TV to watch a single Phillies, Eagles, Pirates or Steelers game.

That would be a pretty remarkable energy savings, wouldn’t you think?

Many people don’t know it, but that level of savings is actually happening every year in central and eastern Pennsylvania.

A quarter-million homes aren’t literally unplugging from the grid. But the homes and businesses in PPL Electric Utilities’ service area have reduced their energy use by more than 2.7 billion kilowatt-hours per year over the past seven-and-a-half years. That’s the same savings you’d get if about 282,000 houses didn’t use any power at all.

In case you’re wondering, that reduction in energy use translates to a financial savings of almost $300 million per year, based on 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. That’s a pretty remarkable number as well.

Another noteworthy thing: At PPL Electric Utilities, we support the fact that people are using less electricity. In fact, we applaud it.

That comes as a surprise to some people too. After all, we’re in the business of delivering electricity. But, we recognize that using less energy is good for your wallet, and good for the environment.

In fact, those 2.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity that people aren’t using each year are being saved through energy efficiency programs offered by PPL. This includes rebates for heating and air conditioning equipment, insulation, smart thermostats, appliances, business lighting, business refrigeration equipment, food service equipment, compressed air systems, discounted LED bulbs we make available through retailers, and more.

Another example you might have heard of: We’ll haul away your old refrigerator for free and pay you $35, to make it easier for you to upgrade to a more energy-efficient appliance (Some conditions apply: For instance, the fridge has to still work. See the specific information and conditions on fridge recycling).

Additional information on residential efficiency programs as well as efficiency programs for businesses is also available.

If you’re among the people helping to make a big difference in energy use, we congratulate you. It makes sense to save.

If you haven’t really thought about energy efficiency, now’s a great time to start. It doesn’t take a major investment to make your savings start to add up.

That 2.7 billion kilowatt-hours of saved energy per year is a pretty impressive number. But it’s really just a start.