Health

Health
8:07 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Pennsylvania Receives “B” on Premature Birth Report Card

Pennsylvania was awarded its highest rating on premature births in 2011 since the March of Dimes began its grading system five years ago.

Pennsylvania decreased the percentage of babies born prematurely to 11 percent, from 11.8 percent in 2006.

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Health
9:35 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Pitt Researchers Find Genetics Play a Part in Pancreatitis

A new study out of The University of Pittsburgh finds a genetic link between chronic pancreatitis and alcohol consumption in men.  Researchers found a genetic variant of the chromosome X near the claudin-2 gene that predicts which heavy-drinking men are at risk of developing chronic pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is a serious disease that develops in the pancreas, a digestive gland that makes insulin. 

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Health
8:34 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Pittsburgh Taking Part In World Diabetes Day

The Department of Health estimates more than 660,000 adults have diabetes including at least 330,000 in western Pennsylvania.   To highlight the impact the disease has locally as well as around the globe, November 14  has been designated World Diabetes Day.

Since 2007, the World Health Organization and International Diabetes Federation have encouraged the world to light buildings blue to attract attention to the impact of diabetes around the world.

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Health
11:49 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Veterans Place Rededicates Facility in Honor of Late Founder

The Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard honored its founder Monday with something the late veteran Sidney Singer would have never done for himself.

In a formal ceremony the day after Veterans Day, a crowd of about thirty veterans, family members and friends watched as Veterans Place Executive Director Jared Souder christened the facility's primary building the "Sidney W. Singer Veterans Service Center".

Souder said the designation was overdue after Singer's passing in January 2010.

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Health
8:37 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

New Program Aims to Get 200 Adaptive Bikes to Kids with Disabilities by Christmas

The newly-launched “My Bike” program provides specially-adapted bicycles to children with disabilities in the 10-county greater Pittsburgh area.  As of Monday morning 51 bikes were ready to go to children in need, by mid-afternoon, funding had been secured for 6 more. The bikes will go to kids like Kody Conley. His mother, Kim Conley, said when they moved into their neighborhood a year and a half ago, Kody was “just a kid in a wheelchair.” When he first rode his specialized bike, the whole neighborhood went outside to watch, and some kids hopped on their own bikes to ride with him.

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Health
7:50 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

“Nightmare on Main Street” the Theme of Medicaid Education Luncheon

Joining in the Halloween spirit, the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) is reaching out to communities to help people understand the Medicaid system and what’s at stake if cuts are made. PHAN said it’s a scary prospect and could have devastating impacts.

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Health
7:38 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Protesters Demand Highmark, West Penn Allegheny Negotiate an Affiliation

Chanting "Back to the table, while you're able!", protesters took to the streets of Pittsburgh on Wednesday to urge Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System to reach an affiliation agreement without going to court.

One day before a court date with Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward, the group of about forty hospital employees, community members and politicians brought a "mock negotiating table" to the doorsteps of local juggernaut health insurer Highmark and the financially ailing WPAHS.

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Health
7:35 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Meningitis Cases Top 300; FDA Recommends Checking on Patients Who Received Injections

With a total of 308 confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in 17 states, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending all patients who received an injectable medicine from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) be contacted and asked about their health.  So far one Pennsylvanian has contracted the disease.

Nationwide, 23 people have died from fungal meningitis after receiving steroid injections made by NECC.

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Health
7:35 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Health Fair Aims to Empower Patients to Take an Active Role in Medical Care

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Using a sport analogy, the Consumer Health Coalition is urging people to build a championship healthcare team, with themselves being the most valuable player. A workshop in the Hill District will teach patients how to take a more active role in their own medical care.

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Health
5:14 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Nationwide Screenings for Depression on Thursday

Depression is more than just a bad mood.  It’s  the most common mental disorder that impacts more than 15 million Americans including 5% of the nation’s children and teens. October 11 is National Depression Screening Day and Dr. David Palmiter, President of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA), said this event is very important.

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Health
10:00 am
Tue October 9, 2012

PA Report: Multiple Breast Cancer Surgeries Decline, Preventative Procedures Rise

Between 2002 and 2011 the number of women in Pennsylvania hospitals who had both a mastectomy and lumpectomy dropped, while preventative surgery increased. The findings on breast cancer surgeries are detailed in a report by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) released Tuesday. While the number of women undergoing surgery for breast cancer remained steady over the ten year period, those having both procedures fell by 60%, from 1,535 to 604.

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Health
12:35 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

No Cases Of Meningitis Outbreak Found In Pittsburgh Area

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD)  has joined with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health to investigate an outbreak of fungal meningitis.

The outbreak has been linked to patients who received injections of methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid used to stop inflammation. The drug was made by the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts which issued the voluntary recall and has shut down its operations.

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Health
5:42 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

E-Medical Records: Personalized Medicine vs Confidentiality

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Personalizing medicine is the goal of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) five-year, $100 million investment to create an electronic database of medical information.  The technology uses analytic and predictive modeling applications designed to improve patient outcomes, research capabilities, and improvements within UPMC.

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Health
7:35 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Hospitals Face Penalties for High Medicare Readmissions Rates

Starting this month, hospitals will not get as much money from the federal government if they have too many too many Medicare patients readmitted within a month of being discharged.  More than a hundred Pennsylvania hospitals will face this penalty.

Hospitals with high readmission rates for Medicare patients treated for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia who return for care within 30 days of discharge will lose up to one percent of their regular reimbursement from the federal government.

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Health
7:07 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Rite Aid is Very Different 50 Years Later

The residents of a Pittsburgh area senior high-rise helped to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a Pennsylvania-based company Monday by rolling up their sleeves.  Rite Aid Corporation marked its birthday by giving free flu shots to seniors across the country.

Rite Aid Pharmacy District Manager Brian Bobby vaccinated dozens of elderly residents of Town North Tower in Ross Township. He said the event is an example of how the pharmacist's role is different now than it was fifty years ago.

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Health
7:35 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Today marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Susan B. Komen for the Cure Pittsburgh has planned several events including the 4th annual Paws for the Cure, a dog walk through Hartwood Acres on October 7th, and the Tickled Pink Survivor Luncheon at the Omni William Penn on October 20th, along with other local events. 

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Health
5:32 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

West Penn Allegheny Health System says Highmark Breached Affiliation Agreement

West Penn Allegheny Health System said it is released from its obligations to Highmark under the affiliation agreement signed by the two entities in 2011. The reason, said WPAHS Board Chair Jack Isherwood, is a breach of the agreement on Highmark’s part. That breach, he said, comes in the form of an indication that Highmark would not consummate the agreement, even if the insurance commissioner approved it.

“Instead Highmark wants a new deal that involves West Penn Allegheny Health System undergoing a bankruptcy process,” said Isherwood.

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Health
4:00 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Walk For Parkinson’s Disease Research

Pittsburghers are being asked to get up and move for Parkinson’s disease on September 29.

The National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) is sponsoring Pittsburgh’s second annual Moving Day, a walk that helps to raise awareness of the disease.

In addition to the 1.5 mile walk, there will be a movement pavilion, where people can participate in activities such as yoga or zoomba, or simply go dancing.

Barbara Farrell, Executive Director of the NPF branch of Pittsburgh, said exercise is a critical component in managing the disease.

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Health
7:35 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Profits for Pennsylvania’s Ambulatory Surgery Centers Up Slightly in 2011

Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) did slightly better in 2011 than they did in 2010 according to the Pennsylvania Healthcare Cost Containment Council (PHC4). An ASC is a facility that individuals visit for outpatient procedures, rather than going into a hospital. These are procedures that don’t require an overnight stay, such as a colonoscopy or endoscopy.

The financial margins for such facilities rose to 25.19% in fiscal year 2011, compared to 24.99% in fiscal 2010.

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Health
8:35 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Study Shows More Antibiotics Prescribed To Elderly Patients In The South

Elderly patients in the southern states might need to be more cautious when it comes to their medications.  A recent study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh shows doctors are more likely to prescribe antibiotics to older patients in the south than any other region in the United States.

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Health
7:35 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Hospital Acquired Infections Decline

Over the past two years hospitals nationally have reduced the number of central line-associated bloodstream infections by 40 percent down to 1.13 infections per 1,000 central line days, according to the Agency or Health Care Research and Quality and the American Hospital Association.

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Health
4:01 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

New Campaign Aims to Address 'Food Insecurity' in Pittsburgh

A small group of volunteers is raising money to tackle a big problem in the Pittsburgh area: food insecurity, when a family is routinely unsure of where and when it will find its next meal.

The Wake Up Call USA initiative is aiming to raise awareness of the issue with a corps of young volunteers. Three young women set up a table and refrigerator in the lobby of a PPG Place building for the "Skip Your Lunch, Feed a Child" program on Tuesday. A second crew worked at Pitt's Litchfield Towers in Oakland.

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Health
7:35 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Nearly One Third of American Children Obese or Overweight

According to a new report, America is getting fatter.

The number of obese adults, along with related disease rates and health care costs, are on course to increase dramatically in every state in the country over the next 20 years. These statistics come from the new report F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012, released today by Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Health
7:13 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

City, County Officials Urge Seniors to get Flu Shots

The national “Flu + You” campaign brought its message to Pittsburgh, stopping at the Homewood Senior Center to urge residents to get vaccinated against influenza. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald were on hand, emphasizing the importance of getting the vaccine.

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Health
10:38 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Watchdog Finds Insurance Coverage Lacking in PA

A new study looking to build a baseline for future evaluations of the federal Affordable Care Act has found some deficiencies in Pennsylvania that at least one group feels need to be improved. 

“Some of the goals of the health care reform law are to provide insurance to more people and basically make the health care system more accessible to people,” said Pennsylvania Partnership for Children Spokesperson Michael Race.  “We wanted to find a way to measure the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act, as its implemented, in reaching children and in insuring children.”

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