Smart Talk 10 year anniversary and lead poisoning inspectors

lead gun.jpg

Marilou Yingling holds an x-ray fluorescent “gun” that is used to determine the presence of lead paint. The device requires its radioactive elements to be replaced about once a year, and that costs about $3,000, Yingling said. (Brett Sholtis/Transforming Health)

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, October 8, 2018:

Ten years ago this week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 700 points. During the previous week, the Dow went down by almost 23-hundred points and General Motors stock lost 31 percent of its value.

The economic news kept getting worse; 478-thousand people filed for jobless benefits during the previous week and the economy lost 159 thousand jobs the month before. There were banks going out of business and those still open weren’t lending money. The federal government had approved a $700 billion bailout – mostly for banks and major industries the week before.

A recession that began with the subprime mortgage crisis, loans made to people with poor credit histories and purchased by financial institutions who acquired those mortgages, was in full swing. It was called the Great Recession and it was the worst financial collapse in the United States since The Great Depression in the 1930s.

Everyone was impacted in one way or another and the economic collapse was all anyone could talk about.

WITF made a programming decision to engage the community and provide information on the floundering economy. Appearing on that first Radio Smart Talk were Scott Ehrig, M&T Bank and Rick Rodgers, Rodgers and Associates. Beth from Dover was Smart Talk’s very first caller, but was one of many with questions and comments.

Radio Smart Talk was just getting started as the economy continued to falter, but there was a presidential election in just a few weeks pitting Democrat Barack Obama against Republican John McCain. There was plenty to talk about and plans to make Radio Smart Talk temporary changed.

On the show today are Scott Gilbert, first Smart Talk host and WITF’s news director at the time, economy experts Scott Ehrig, FMA Advisory, INC., and Rick Rodgers, Rodgers and Associates.

Rodgers, Ehrig, and Gilbert.png

Rick Rodgers, Scott Ehrig, and Scott Gilbert

Also today, lead inspectors are warning that there are homes needed tested but due to a recent change in how inspectors are paid many go without. A state policy change has cut off the funding source that used to pay for lead inspections across Pennsylvania.

Under the old system, lead inspectors would bill the state $350 for each home inspection, which would help pay for testing supplies and pay the inspectors.

Under a new system, which began this year, the state requires Medicaid insurers to pay for lead testing and set up separate conracts with lead inspectors to perform the service. This new layer of bureacracy means that fewer inspections are being done, but the problem of lead contamination in area homes has not changed.

Joining Smart Talk to discuss the changes and how they are affecting public health are WITF Transforming Health reporter Brett Sholtis, Leesa Allen, Executive Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, and April Hutcheson, Director of Communications with the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Hutcheson and Sholtis.png

April Hutcheson and Brett Sholtis