Allegheny Health Network

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has fined two health systems for illegally dumping medical waste in a landfill.

The state agency says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has been hit with $451,000 in fines and Allegheny Health Network has been fined $86,900. Officials say the state found 12 of UPMC's hospitals illegally dumped large quantities of needles, bloody dressings and body fluids into a Monroeville landfill.

Flickr user Yale Rosen

Bacteria that cause Legionnaires' disease have been found in two water tanks at Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side.

Delirium Prevention Program Helps Patients At West Penn Hospital

Jun 16, 2016
Allegheny Health Network

Often overlooked or misdiagnosed, delirium is a condition where patients experience an abrupt change in mental status. While it’s typically a short-term problem, medical officials are finding the condition can cause serious brain damage, especially to older individuals. At West Penn Hospital, a new program has been developed aimed at finding treatment and reverse delirium’s impact. Dr. Christine Herb, director of geriatric education for Allegheny Health Network and Dr. Allan Philp, Trauma Program Medical Director for Allegheny Health Network join us to talk about the new program.

OpenBiome

They're not as ubiquitous as blood or sperm banks, but another kind of biological substance also sits in cold storage ready to treat desperately ill or ailing patients. In Pittsburgh, the use of stool banks for fecal transplants is on the rise.

Alan Levine / Flickr

A report released Thursday by the Allegheny Health Network found a high rate of asthma in Allegheny County elementary school students. The study suggests poor air quality is partially responsible for the pervasive incidences of childhood asthma in the Pittsburgh region.

Deborah Gentile, the director of allergy and asthma clinical research at Allegheny Health Network, surveyed 267 fifth graders in the county and found 29 percent had asthma and 11 percent more were at risk of developing the disease.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

It’s been one year since the Allegheny Health Network opened an urgent care center in Braddock. 

One in every four American women will die from cardiovascular disease each year, more than the number of deaths from breast cancer, stroke and lung cancer combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cardiologists from Allegheny Health Network are looking to improve those odds.

Victor / Flickr

Allegheny Health Network researchers are trying to find out how a drug created for people with a breathing disease can help those with Type 2 diabetes.

“Type 2 diabetes is a consequence of taking in too much energy and not distributing enough,” said Nick Gianoukakis, associate professor for biological sciences and immunology at AHN. “As we eat, we store energy. That becomes fat, and fat is a condition that results in the body’s immune system being sensitized and becoming active. So we create a state of inflammation inside our bodies.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council’s Wage Review Committee, spearheaded by Councilman Ricky Burgess, is recommending some of the region’s biggest employers increase their minimum wage.

Rosmarie Voegtli / Flickr

Individuals who require health care in-home typically have to deal with multiple companies, in a process that can be complex and inefficient.

Allegheny Health Network (AHN) is addressing that issue by combining multiple areas of home health care under the banner of a single program.

Auntie P. / Flickr

The City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and area health and services organizations are collaborating on AIDS Free Pittsburgh, a three-pronged public health initiative.

“We’re going to normalize HIV testing," said Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department. "We’re going to make improvements in standardizing our linkages to care for those that are diagnosed, and we’re going to improve access to a variety of prevention tools.” 

Allegheny Health Network

Allegheny General Hospital is one of 65 in the nation testing a new treatment for people with heart failure that leads to a type of heart attack ominously called the “widow-maker.”

Traditional treatment is a heart pump or transplant, but AGH cardiologists are among those studying the efficacy of a parachute implant.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Brandon and Vanessa Marlin’s daughter Braylee was born 2 ½ weeks early, but the couple from Upper St. Clair is OK with that.

“I was trying to coerce her out,” the proud papa said. “I said ‘Braylee, you’ve got to come because the Pirates are going to be playing here in Buctober, so hurry up.’ That same night she came.”

The Marlins were among the new parents to snap family photos with the Pirate Parrot when he visited West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield Monday morning. Every baby born since Saturday will take home a bib identifying them as the “Littlest Pittsburgh Pirates fan.”

Paddy McCann / Flickr

Rugby is an intense sport in which players team up to tackle a ball-carrier. It is similar to football, except play is constantly ongoing and players wear very little padding.

Like football, rugby necessitates doctors to be on hand during matches in case of injury, according to Sam Akhavan, who will be traveling to England next month for the Rugby World Cup as a team physician for the U.S. National Rugby Team.

How Playing A Game Can Help Kids Navigate Trauma

Jul 29, 2015
Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

At first glance, the mobile app "Triangle of Life" looks like any other video game. Fun music, animals and prizes are won as the lead character moves through the game. 

But it isn’t just about jumping and scoring points or making it to a complicated finale — although that happens, too. Instead of coins, gamers collect experiences. The goal is to give kids who have experienced trauma and are in therapy a fun tool to navigate their emotions and make healthy choices.

Asbestorama / Flickr

  More Allegheny County residents die from asbestos-related illnesses than any other county in the state, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group Action Fund.

Researchers found that between 1999 and 2013, at least 189,000 Americans died from asbestos-related diseases, including 14,216 in Pennsylvania and 1,616 in Allegheny County alone. The county’s average death rate was nearly double the national average, authors said.

Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

After nearly two years of development and delays, Pittsburgh’s bike share program is finally ready to roll.

Through “Healthy Ride,” 500 bikes will be placed at 50 stations around the city, including downtown, the North Side, South Side, Oakland and the East End.

Fund To Help Cancer Patients Preserve Fertility

Mar 16, 2015
Submitted

“I can’t imagine not having my daughter now,” said Amanda Hopwood-Brophy, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 28.

She underwent fertility preservation treatments along with a chemotherapy regimen until being declared cancer-free. She now has a two year old daughter.

Allegheny Health Network (AHN) has launched a program to help more patients like Hopwood-Brophy have children even after undergoing cancer treatments.

Chuck Balcik / Allegheny Health Network

Forbes Regional Hospital will open an expanded intensive care unit next week that will look more like a 21st century ICU than the current unit that was opened more than 40 years ago. The facility in Monroeville is an accredited Level II Trauma Center, and will be adding a 20-bed ICU.

“This is a mixed medical and surgical trauma intensive care unit,” said Michael Hansen, MD, medical director of the ICU, “we’ll be able to provide the highest level of critical care treatment to the patients that come not only locally, but also from the whole eastern corridor.”

Urgent Care Clinic Opens in Braddock

Jan 5, 2015

On Monday, nearly five years after UPMC shut down their Braddock hospital, competitor Allegheny Health Network and Highmark opened an urgent care clinic in the community.

“We believe everyone in our region should have the opportunity to live healthier, happier lives,” said Patricia Lieberman, chief operating officer of the Allegheny Health Network.

The 12-patient room facility is in a space that was once a surface parking lot for the hospital.

Allegheny Health Network has announced a multi-year collaboration with Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine. This is in addition to a partnership announced earlier this year between the two institution’s cancer centers. This collaboration will, among other things, explore ways to be more economically efficient.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny Health Network has announced a new academic affiliation, allowing medical students to train at Forbes Hospital in Monroeville.

Students from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) will be able to do their clinical rotations at the hospital. AHN officials said this move is critical to the future of health care in the region.

The cost of hiring an interpreter or sign language specialist to communicate with hospital patients can reach up to $70 per hour, but suburban Pittsburgh hospital might have found a cheaper and more effective alternative.

Forbes Hospital in Monroeville recently starting utilizing iPad-based software called “Language You See,” which provides interpretational and sign language services at the touch of a button.

With the hope of being able to help epilepsy patients who have not responded to other treatments, Allegheny General Hospital Friday opened a unit designed to monitor and evaluate those who suffer from the condition.

The division includes four private rooms, each equipped with a video camera and an EEG (electroencephalography) device, which, combined, allows physicians to record patient behavior and their neurological activity.

Highmark Unveils Healthcare Center in Wexford

Sep 23, 2014
Julian Routh / 90.5 WESA

Rather than having to go from doctor to doctor for health care, Highmark patients will soon be able to get the care they need all under one roof.

Officials from Highmark Health and the Allegheny Health Network unveiled the new Health + Wellness Pavilion in Wexford Tuesday afternoon, less than two weeks before its opening to the public.

The 175,000 square foot facility, deemed a "medical mall," will house an array of retail, diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic healthcare services.

West Penn Hospital Offers Free Lung Cancer Screening

Sep 15, 2014

With the hopes of catching lung cancer in its earlier, more curable stages, West Penn Hospital, is offering a free screening program for those at risk.

“If you find a patient and there at stage one they’re potentially curative the five year survivor rates are significantly higher, and it’s at almost 90 percent, so it places a huge impact on healthcare cost if you’re diagnosing patients at stage one versus stage four,”  said Dr. Lana Schumacher, Allegheny Health Network Esophageal and Thoracic Institute Co-Director.

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, no workers, visitors or patients will be allowed to smoke on any Allegheny Health Network grounds.

“Anybody whose walked into any facility, health care or otherwise, who has to walk through smoke or be exposed to smoke, it's not a pleasant thing if you're not a smoker," said Allegheny Health Network spokesman Dan Laurent, "particularly in a facility that’s dedicated to preserving health and promoting health.”

Smoking is already not allowed inside Allegheny Health Network facilities.

Paramedics and EMTs undergo hundreds of hours of training to know how to respond to a health emergency, but sometimes, nothing can take the place of a physician’s input. Allegheny Valley Hospital is the first in the state to solve this problem by allowing its paramedic response units to connect patients to hospital physicians via iPad in an initiative called “telemedicine.”

An Update on the Ebola Outbreak

Aug 5, 2014
European Commission DG ECHO / Flickr

The death toll from the Ebola virus in West Africa continues to climb. With two Americans infected with the disease coming back to the U.S. for treatment, health officials are trying to calm fears that an outbreak could happen here.

A five-year agreement between Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins Medicine has been signed, finalizing a partnership between AHN and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Washington, DC.

“Cancer patients and their families benefit and their outcomes improve when we share knowledge and expertise because then we can accelerate knowledge transfer and treatment advances outside of communities where patients live,” said Dr. David Parda, system chair of the AHN Cancer Institute.

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