UPMC

Flickr user A.

Hospital policies that restrict how pharmaceutical companies may market their drugs to doctors change physician prescribing behavior, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, a joint effort of Carnegie Mellon University and six other higher education institutions, showed that when such policies were in place, marketed drugs were prescribed 8.7 percent less often while non-marketed drugs were prescribed about 6 percent more often.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Births in Allegheny County are expected to rise for the third consecutive year in 2017, but state Department of Health officials are hesitant to pin it on any one reason – especially a hockey game.

Marc Levy / AP

A federal task force is walking back a 2012 recommendation that men between ages 55 and 69 not be screened for prostate cancer.

That brings federal guidelines in step with recommendations from a state task force, released last week.

Both the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force and the Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Task Force now advise men to talk with their doctors about whether they should be screened.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Nurses at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's hospital in Altoona have ratified a contract they say will increase staffing at the central Pennsylvania facility.

SEIU Healthcare PA says 96 percent of its members voted Tuesday to accept the 3-year deal. UPMC confirmed the ratification.

Did Linens Cause The Mold Outbreaks At UPMC?

Feb 3, 2017
Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

The Confluence – where the news comes together is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program.

Each week reporters, editors and bloggers join veteran journalist, and host, Kevin Gavin. They’ll go behind the headlines taking an in-depth look at the stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

This week's topics include a discussion about the water issues that required roughly 100,000 city residents to boil their tap water before drinking. We'll get the details on an investigation into mold on linens supplied to UPMC. Also, our Harrisburg reporters will discuss the consolidation of state health agencies and preview Gov. Tom Wolf's state budget address. 

AP

Pittsburgh's tallest building is for sale, and the U.S. Steel Tower could go for a sky-high price.

Real Estate Alert, a trade publication that first reported the listing, says the 64-story, triangular office building could fetch $350 million. The current owner, 601W Cos., a New York holding company, paid $250 million for the building in 2011.

The owners have spent $60 million upgrading the building and boast two major tenants, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which has corporate offices there, and U.S. Steel.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

 

 


Gynecologist Colleen Krajewski tells anyone who will listen -- intrauterine devices are "the Cadillac of birth control right now.”

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

One year ago, Margaret Pietz was almost the victim of fraud when a man claiming to be a lawyer called her and said her grandson owed $4,000 in car repairs related to a traffic accident. He even put a young man on the phone who addressed her as “grandma.” 

Pietz started to realize something was up when she was asked to send the funds in the form of Target gift cards and to not tell anyone else in the family.

“He thought he was calling a gullible grandma,” Pietz said. “The more I thought about it, the more I knew it was a scam.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED: 8:20 p.m.

The Service Employees International Union targeted McDonald's restaurants and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center with marches demanding a $15 minimum wage and union representation.

The union contends UPMC shuttle bus workers have also gone on strike seeking union representation.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Nursing home residents who need extra care or specialized help after business hours are often sent to the emergency room. But as those visits can be expensive, disruptive and sometimes avoidable, a South Side company is offering another solution.

Curavi Health, which spun out of UPMC, created a mobile unit called CuraviCart that uses a video conference system, on-call doctors and other instruments a nursing home might need to help residents.

Bon Secours

UPMC is continuing its overseas growth with an announcement this month that it's opening a second cancer center in Ireland. The health care provider opened the Whitfield Cancer Center in Waterford, Ireland 10 years ago. The second effort will be a joint venture with Bon Secours in Cork, Ireland.

Healthcare.gov

 

Prices for health care coverage on Affordable Care Act exchanges nationwide are going up 25 percent, but in Pennsylvania that number is more than 32 percent and for some in southwestern Pennsylvania the increase will be nearly 50 percent.

After Highmark and UPMC requested rate hikes for 2017, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department approved even bigger hikes in an effort to bring stability to the market.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

One year after Pittsburgh’s Wage Review Committee released its report detailing the hardships faced by low-wage workers in the city, Councilman Ricky Burgess said there is still more work to do.

Burgess counted among the victories of the last year the unionization of workers at Allegheny General Hospital and UPMC’s pledge to raise wages for service workers to $15 per hour by 2021.

In addition, workers at four other hospitals in the Pittsburgh region will see starting wages increased by $15 per hour over the next three to five years.

Flickr user Travis Estell

When Erie native Ida Tarbell was investigating John D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil Company more than a century ago, she had to crisscross the country to search through public records and interview sources in person.

Her 19-part series in McClure’s magazine, titled The History of the Standard Oil Co., is credited as the first example of investigative journalism and had a direct influence on the 1909 antitrust lawsuit that eventually broke up the company.

Keepingtime_CA / flickr

Watson, the computer known for beating Ken Jennings at Jeopardy, is now branching into health care.

Last month, IBM Watson Health partnered with UPMC to launch a new company called Pensiamo, with the goal of saving health care providers money by better utilizing supplies and services.

“The concept of Pensiamo was to provide some cognitive analytics or some artificial intelligence to help hospitals and health system better utilize the products that the patients need,” said Pensiamo Executive Vice President of Cognitive Solutions Mary Beth Lang.

Flickr user Peter Lynch

Pennsylvania is still more than a year away from having its medical marijuana system up and running, but local physicians are already thinking about how they will prescribe the drug.

walkatop.com

A hike through Mt. Washington’s Emerald View Park next month aims to shed light on the resources available to those suffering from depression or mental illness.

It’s part of the WALKATOP charity hiking event on Sept. 11. Coordinators plan to raise funds for mental health programming and staffing at UPMC, as well as offer support, information and referrals to anyone seeking help.

hipponotized / Flickr

Five years ago, Dr. Lisa Pan had a patient whose depression was so severe that no form of treatment would take away his suicidal thoughts.

Courtesy UPMC

More than 400 people died from drug overdoses in Allegheny County last year. According to the Health Department, many of them were due to opioids, specifically heroin.

As public health officials continue to battle the opioid epidemic, health care professionals are looking for new ways to help patients transition from drug addiction to recovery.

Melinda Roeder / 90.5 WESA

When Conner Hagins was 9 years old, his father had a double bypass surgery.

While recovering, his father was given a teddy bear to hold against his chest while coughing or sneezing in order to help protect his chest wounds. But it was only cardiac surgery patients who were given teddy bears, Hagins found.

“From that moment it was almost a light bulb idea,” Hagins said.

Alan Levine / Flickr

 

 

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.

UPMC Magee Women's Hospital

In a quiet, dimly-lit room of UPMC's Magee-Women's Hospital in Oakland, volunteer "cuddler" Donna Comfort held a tiny newborn in her arms. The baby was one of at least five in the hospital born dependent on heroin, prescription painkillers, addiction treatment medication or another form of opioid.

Flickr user jrgcastro

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has signed a letter of intent to pursue an affiliation with a north-central Pennsylvania hospital network.

Susquehanna Health and UPMC jointly announced the letter of intent Thursday.

The details of the affiliation have yet to be determined.

Susquehanna serves 11 counties through four hospitals, Divine Providence, Muncy Valley, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial and Williamsport Regional Medical Center.

Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon / Facebook

Running shorts will replace lab coats this weekend as 10 UPMC doctors take to the course at the 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon this Sunday as part of an initiative to ensure runner safety.  Dr. Ron Roth, the Pittsburgh Marathon’s medical director and Dr. Aaron Mares, assistant medical director for the marathon, joined Essential Pittsburgh to discuss this innovative approach.

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

Dozens of service workers, students and families protested outside a McDonald's restaurant on Pittsburgh’s North Side Thursday.

William Boas led the crowd in chants by megaphone. 

He said fast food jobs aren't just for teenagers. 

“This McDonald's right here is open 24 hours a day," Boas said. "We don’t have to be the smartest people in the world to know that it takes adults to run that store. Right now, it’s a Thursday morning. Kids are in school.” 

Flickr user jrgcastro

Josh Malloy, 25, lives in East Liberty with his little brother and said his $12.50 per hour salary makes it difficult to keep up with the cost of living. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Minimum starting salaries for entry-level positions at UPMC will jump from $11.73 an hour to $15 by 2021, officials announced Tuesday.

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

As planning continues for Hazelwood’s new Almono development, city officials are expecting an uptick in commuters traveling from the neighborhood to Oakland, the heart of the city’s eds and meds economy.

UPMC / Inside UPMC

A fourth patient infected during the UPMC mold outbreak has died. The infection was contracted while the patient was being treated at UPMC’s transplant program. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Ben Schmitt, joins us to discuss this latest development.

Pitt Med Student Earns Spot On Forbes' 30 Under 30 List

Jan 26, 2016
Chris Murawski

University of Pittsburgh medical student Christopher Murawski’s interest in orthopedics came as an accident, literally. After sustaining several ankle injuries from his high school baseball team, Murawski began showing an interest in the treatments he was receiving, eventually earning himself a spot on a renowned UPMC doctor’s orthopedic team.  He’s been chosen as one of this year’s Forbes’ ’30 Under 30 2016’ in health care and shares his thoughts on the experience.

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