Health

Health
12:30 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

State Cuts Funding for Allegheny County Health Department

The Allegheny County Health Department stands to lose more than $625,000 in state funding this budget year.

The state's allocations to municipal health departments across the state were all cut by the same percentage, according to ACHD Acting Director Ron Voorhees. The impending cuts would amount to about 1.6% of ACHD's yearly budget of $46.6 million.

Read more
Health
8:45 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Federal Government Concerned over Pennsylvania's Dropping Medicaid Rolls

The federal government is asking why Pennsylvania's Medicaid rolls have dropped over the past year, and is suggesting that some people might have been kicked off improperly. Carey Miller, spokeswoman for the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW), said the belief is that the department is in compliance with the federal rules in regards to the redetermination of clients enrolled in the Medicaid program.

"We do not believe that there have been any terminations in error, but will continue to review and fix any errors that we are made aware of," said Miller.

Read more
Health
8:45 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

County Air Toxics Guidelines Opened for Public Comment

The Allegheny County Board of Health postponed a vote on new air pollution regulations on Wednesday, in order to open the measure for public comments.

For newly permitted sites only, the proposed "air toxics" regulations would govern any potentially harmful industrial emissions not already restricted by the federal Clean Air Act. While the rules don't apply to existing facilities, current air quality conditions would be taken into account when determining if a new site would harm public health.

Read more
Health
6:00 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Low Water Levels Force Some Areas To Close At Youghiogheny Lake

An unusually dry season has caused water in the Youghiogheny Lake to drop five feet below the normal level, forcing some recreational areas to close sooner than expected. The Mill Run Recreational Area is expected to close this week, while the Tub Run Camping Area will more than likely close next week.

Werner Loehlein, Chief of Water Management for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Pittsburgh region, said minimal snowfall this past year has been a contributing factor to the low water levels.

Read more
Health
5:15 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Seven Allegheny County Communities Join Young Lungs At Play Program

Seven more communities in the Pittsburgh area have banned tobacco and smoking in their parks, playgrounds, and other recreational areas. Currently, 34 of the 130 municipalities in Allegheny County are a part of the Young Lungs at Play program.

Read more
Health
7:00 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Study Shows Moderate Alcohol Consumption Enhances Social Bonding

The next time someone suggests going out for a drink, you may want to take them up on their offer because it could improve your friendship. A new study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh reveals moderate alcohol consumption in a social setting can increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions while enhancing bonding among peers.

Read more
Health
7:00 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Protesters Line Up Outside New UPMC Facility

Even though their community hospital is gone, Braddock residents gathered outside the new UPMC East hospital in Monroeville today to protest the facility's grand opening. The protesters complain that the old Braddock hospital was closed to make way for the new hospital. They see it as swapping healthcare for poor and minorities in exchange for healthcare for well-off suburbanites.

Read more
Health
7:00 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Motorcycle Ride to Raise Awareness of Need for Organ Donors

A sizeable caravan of bikers will motor from West Mifflin to Morgantown later this month for "Operation Pledge-for-Life," a motorcycle ride to raise awareness of the need for organ donors.

The not-for-profit Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) is hosting the event for the second year running.

Read more
Health
7:00 am
Mon July 2, 2012

UPMC Opens New Hospital in Monroeville

Today, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is opening a new 156-bed hospital in Monroeville. UPMC expects the facility to create a few hundred new jobs.

The new $250 million UPMC East hospital is about a mile away from the Forbes Regional Medical Center run by UPMC's rival, West Penn Allegheny Health System.

UPMC East President Mark Sevco said it was not built to compete with Forbes Regional. "Our focus isn't on Forbes at all. It's about spreading out and smoothing the demand for UPMC services across our system," said Sevco.

Read more
Health
7:20 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Salt And Ice Challenge Injures Local Boy

A popular but dangerous "dare" among teenagers has come to Pittsburgh with potentially scarring results. Doctors at the West Penn Burn Center this week treated their first patient suffering from injuries due to a so-called "salt and ice challenge."

Read more
Health
5:30 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

As the 4th of July Nears, Medical Experts Warn of Danger Posed by Fireworks

Every year thousands of people across the U.S. are injured by fireworks. The vast majority of those injuries occur between June 18 and July 18. Law enforcement officials and doctors warn that even seemingly harmless fireworks you can buy from road-side stands are explosive devices and can be dangerous.

Read more
Health
1:45 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Speculation Grows on AdultBasic Court Case

A recent opinion handed down by the Commonwealth Court could signal problems with the way the state eliminated its low-cost health insurance program last year. A group of former enrollees of AdultBasic sued over how it was set to zero. Legislators used a provision in a budget-related bill called the "fiscal code" to make the change.

The court hasn't heard that case or ruled on it, but the opinion has overruled part of the state's preliminary objections to the lawsuit, signaling the way AdultBasic was slashed could still be deemed unconstitutional.

Read more
Health
6:21 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

UPMC Study Explores Ingesting Amniotic Fluid in Premature Mice

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Children's Hospital doctor David Hackam conducted a 34-week study on mice that could be a breakthrough for the cause, treatment, and prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis, or NEC, a disease in which the intestines die in babies born prematurely. Hackam's findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that when premature baby mice were fed amniotic fluid, it reduced the risk of NEC.

Read more
Health
5:15 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Premature Deaths Result of Lack of Healthcare Coverage

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 16.3% of Americans and 12.2% of Pennsylvanians were without health insurance in 2010. The report, "Dying For Coverage," just released by Families USA, indicates 745 Pennsylvania residents died prematurely in the same year because they did not have proper health care coverage, with approximately 14 dying per week.

Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, said people may feel discouraged to seek help when looking at their financial situations.

Read more
Health
7:00 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Improving the Quality of the Cure for Child Cancer

Every year, around 10,400 children are diagnosed with cancer, and thanks to one health care group's approach to care, the large majority of them will survive the disease. The group is applying the same methods to improving the long-term behavioral outcomes of kids who undergo treatment.

"Meet Bob!"

Read more
Health
2:00 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot?

In Pittsburgh, it's rare that heat reaches a point of danger, but the Allegheny County Health Department is advising the public to be sure to stay cool and hydrated during the next several days because the temperature will be reaching 90ยบ F and above.

Health Department Director Ronald Voorhees said certain people, such as the elderly, those with heart and lung conditions, or others engaging in outdoor activity, may be especially prone to heat exhaustion or stroke.

Read more
Health
7:15 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Popular Weight-Loss Surgeries Increase Risk of Developing Alcohol Disorders

People who have undergone weight-loss surgery have a greater chance of developing alcohol disorders, according to new research released by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. This is the first study conducted that directly links these procedures and alcoholism.

Patients from ten hospitals across the United States participated in the study. About 70% underwent RYGB, a type of bariatric surgery, while 25% had laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, and the remaining 5% were treated with one of three less popular surgeries.

Read more
Health
6:15 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Reprieve Period for Abortion Clinics Underway

Act 122, or the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) law, passed in December 2011, was to have been enforced today, but providers have received some additional time to comply. TRAP requires surgical abortion clinics to abide by the same regulations as freestanding surgical centers. If they failed to do so by June 19, either they were given a temporary license or could not operate.

Read more
Health
7:00 am
Mon June 18, 2012

VA To Hire More Mental Health Workers

In the next few months, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare system will be hiring approximately 42 new mental healthcare workers.

The VA will be bringing on clinicians and support staff to assist the ever-growing number of veterans who seek and require mental health help.

Read more
Health
6:54 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Highmark, Jefferson Medical Center Hope to Enter "Strategic Partnership"

It isn't a rescue, a takeover, or a merger, according to Highmark interim CEO and Board Chairman J. Robert Baum.

However, the Pittsburgh-based health insurer wants to provide at least $275 million to the Jefferson Regional Medical Center and its foundation in return for effective control of Jefferson's Board of Directors.

Read more
Health
4:00 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Pittsburgh Paramedics Reject Contract Offer; Strike Authorized

The local paramedics union has voted down a contract offer from the city of Pittsburgh, and authorized a strike.

The contract offer was rejected overwhelmingly with a vote of 134-9. Local 1 of the Fraternal Association of Professional Paramedics said it will continue to negotiate in good faith with the Ravenstahl administration to prevent a strike.

Read more
Health
10:00 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Wrong-Site Surgeries and Falls Significantly Decreased As Result Of Prevention Program

Wrong-site surgery and harmful fall prevention tactics appear to be working. According to the June Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory, there has been a decline in the number of reports filed. Wrong-site procedures occur when surgeons operate on a body part other than that intended.

Read more
Health
8:15 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

One In Three College Students Report Smoking Hookah

A new study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine shows nearly 1 in 3 college students have admitted to smoking tobacco from a hookah, a single or multi-stemmed instrument in which flavored smoke passes through a water basin before it's inhaled.

Brian Primack, associate professor of medicine and pediatrics, said the study's findings were somewhat surprising.

Read more
Health
2:30 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Allegheny County Health Department To Treat Water Basins For Mosquito Breeding

To head off West Nile Virus, the Allegheny County Health Department today begins to treat storm water catch basins in the Pittsburgh area with pesticides to combat the breeding of mosquitoes. The treatment will continue weekdays from 4:00-9:00 PM.

The bugs can carry the virus, which has already been detected in samples in Allegheny County this year. Four mosquitoes tested positive: three coming from Pittsburgh's East End and the other from Penn Hills.

Read more
Health
7:00 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Rate of Preventable Hospitalizations Falls in Pennsylvania

Some hospital visits are inevitable, but many are preventable. Over the past decade, potentially preventable hospitalizations have declined in the commonwealth. The most recent report [PDF] from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) tracked 12 conditions and found that in the last ten years the rate of potentially preventable hospitalizations dropped from 231 per 100,000 residents in 2001 to 186.9 per 100,000 in 2010.

Read more
Health
7:00 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Medicaid Changes Have Providers Pulling Teeth

Marcia Esters lives in a Hazelwood high-rise. As the result of a spinal congenital disorder that was compounded by a workplace accident, she gets around in a motorized wheelchair.

Last fall, she went to her dentist. He told her she needed crowns fused to six of her bottom teeth and her top dentures were wearing out, and because of changes made to Medicaid in the last fiscal budget, the care she needed wouldn't be covered. She would have to pay out of pocket.

Read more
Health
10:14 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Panel Discusses LGBT Health Problems

Public health experts from the University of Pittsburgh met in Oakland Wednesday to discuss health problems facing gays, lesbians, and other sexual minorities.

According to Pitt's Center for LGBT Health, sexual minorities are often more likely to develop certain cancers than heterosexuals. For example, Pitt assistant professor of psychiatry Dr. Tom Mills said lesbians haven't been proven to have higher rates of breast cancer, but that's probably the case.

Read more
Health
7:17 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

New Requirement to Make it Easier to Understand Insurance Policies

Starting in September health care insurers will be required to write their policies in plain language. Currently,the policy descriptions sent to customers by insurance companies tend to be long and difficult to figure out. The Summary of Benefits and Coverage, which is required by The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, changes that.

Read more
Health
5:35 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Allegheny General Hospital Launches Robotic-Assisted Heart Surgery Program

In March, an Allegheny General Hospital patient became the first there to undergo robotically-assisted minimally invasive coronary bypass surgery. The procedure is thought to be less traumatic to the body and allows for faster recovery times for patients.

Read more
Health
2:30 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Study: Teen Athletes Underestimating Non-Physical Concussion Ailments

Teenage athletes disproportionately estimate their recovery from concussions on physical symptoms like headache and nausea, according to a new study from UPMC.

The UPMC Center for Sports Medicine Concussion Program studied 101 concussed teen athletes to find that they often overlook non-physical symptoms like emotional distress, sleep problems, and difficulty in concentration when they are gauging their recoveries.

Read more

Pages