Information regarding COVID-19 vaccine at St. Clair can be found HERE.

Uncategorized

St. Clair Hospital gets new vaccine shipment

PITTSBURGH — Officials with St. Clair Hospital were able to start rescheduling patients as soon as they found they were getting another shipment of COVID-19 vaccines.

“I’m 86 so I thought I would be right up in the front there but nobody had it,” said Leo Tross.

The hospital went three weeks without receiving the vaccines needed for first-dose appointments. Now that the shipment has come in, they’re able to set up clinics in the South Hills for senior citizens.

“We are very relieved that we are finally able to get it,” said chief medical officer Alan Yeasted.

 

Link:  https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/st-clair-hospital-gets-new-vaccine-shipment/FNPPM6TLX5CTHATHH3WZHKHTXI/

Region’s top doctors make plea to community

The chief medical officers of the region’s big hospitals and health systems and the head of the Allegheny County Health Department on Tuesday afternoon released a letter to the community and businesses urging southwestern Pennsylvania to come together to stop the spread of Covid-19 and protect the economy.

The letter was signed by the chief medical officers of UPMC, Allegheny Health Network, St. Clair Hospital as well as Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen. It comes as Allegheny County struggles with more than 125 new cases daily since late June, including 206 reported Tuesday along with six deaths and seven hospitalizations.

“This public health crisis is unlike anything most of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes, and it is only through a collective focus and response by health care leaders, our business community and everyone who calls western Pennsylvania home that we can manage this pandemic in a manner that minimizes its serious associated health risks while also protecting the short- and long-term economic well-being of our region,” the letter said.

It was a show of solidarity between the health care systems during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to regular meetings of the systems’ chief medical officers and chief nursing officers as well as other collaboration. Each of the hospitals and health systems have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and each have had patients.

“We remain ready to provide care for patients — but we also need you to take some important steps to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 in our community,” the letter read. “We believe it’s imperative to not lose our focus on the basic steps that allow each of us to help all of us — protecting ourselves, our friends and our family members, particularly those who are most vulnerable.”

Those include:

  • Wearing protective masks, and correctly
  • Washing hands regularly
  • Cleaning high-touch surfaces regularly
  • Practicing physical distancing everywhere
  • Staying home and calling a doctor if you get symptoms of Covid-19
  • Staying home if you think you have been exposed to Covid-19 and calling a doctor for advice

The letter ends with a version of Bogen’s continual advice to be kind, prescribed throughout the pandemic.

“A little more thoughtfulness, understanding and tolerance for the inconveniences we are experiencing may be the best medicine of all,” the letter said.

Here is the letter in full:

A letter from local health care leaders:

Over the past three months, our organizations have proudly come together in an unprecedented fashion to address the enormous challenges we have faced as a community due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This public health crisis is unlike anything most of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes, and it is only through a collective focus and response by health care leaders, our business community, and everyone who calls western Pennsylvania home that we can manage this pandemic in a manner that minimizes its serious associated health risks while also protecting the short- and long-term economic well-being of our region.

Despite success, the virus remains a threat. In recent days, the number of COVID-19-infected patients has risen locally and across the country. We remain ready to provide care for patients — but we also need you to take some important steps to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

We believe it imperative to not lose our focus on the basic steps that allow each of us to help all of us — protecting ourselves, our friends, and our family members, particularly those who are most vulnerable. The latter includes the elderly, but also people with other compromising medical conditions — and it isn’t always easy to know who those individuals are at a glance. So we all must do the simple things that matter the most in helping to prevent illness and death during this pandemic — for the young, our seniors, and everyone.
As health care leaders, we ask the people of this region to:

  • Wear protective masks whenever you’re around others and wear them correctly (cover your nose and mouth) … do it for yourself, and do it for others.
  • Wash your hands and clean high-touch surfaces often … make it a habit.
  • Practice physical distancing everywhere, staying 6 feet apart.
  • If you have symptoms that you think could be COVID-19 or a respiratory illness, stay home and call your doctor.
  • If you feel you may have been exposed to COVID-19, but have no symptoms, stay at home and call your doctor. That allows the best planning for possible testing and care.
  • Finally, be kind to each other. A little more thoughtfulness, understanding, and tolerance for the inconveniences we are experiencing may be the best medicine of all.

Thank you. Be safe and well.

Donald Whiting, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Allegheny Health Network

Donald M. Yealy, MD
Senior Medical Director
UPMC

Carol Fox, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Excela Health System

John Six, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Washington Health System

David Rottinghaus, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Butler Health System

John Sullivan, MD
Chief Medical Officer
St. Clair Hospital

Michael Cratty, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Heritage Valley Health System

Debra Bogen, MD
Director
Allegheny County Health Department

Ali Sonel, MD
Chief of Staff
VA Pittsburgh Health Care

By Paul J. Gough  – Reporter, Pittsburgh Business Times

Link:  https://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2020/07/07/regions-top-doctors-make-plea-to-community.html

2 local hospitals named in IBM Watson top 100

PITTSBURGH — St. Clair Hospital and West Penn Hospital have been named among a prestigious ranking of top-performing hospitals by IBM Watson Health.

They were the only two hospitals named in the Pittsburgh region and two of four hospitals in the entire commonwealth. Fortune/IBM Watson Health’s 100 Top Hospitals list takes into account clinical outcomes, financial health and patient satisfaction across 3,134 hospitals in the United States.

St. Clair was named among large community hospitals in the country and West Penn Hospital as teaching hospitals in the nation.

IBM Watson praised the hospitals operations and efficiency and said that if all the health care facilities in the country followed their lead it would save 106,000 lives and reduce health care by $8.3 billion. Results of the study are published in Fortune Magazine.

Link:  https://www.wpxi.com/news/business/2-local-hospitals-named-ibm-watson-top-100/BBNGWX3KJJGSDAWMAYPPGMPQRM/

 

2 local hospitals named in IBM Watson top 100

St. Clair Hospital and West Penn Hospital have been named among a prestigious ranking of top-performing hospitals by IBM Watson Health.

They were the only two hospitals named in the Pittsburgh region and two of four hospitals in the entire commonwealth. Fortune/IBM Watson Health’s 100 Top Hospitals list takes into account clinical outcomes, financial health and patient satisfaction across 3,134 hospitals in the United States.

St. Clair was named among large community hospitals in the country and West Penn Hospital as teaching hospitals in the nation.

IBM Watson praised the hospitals operations and efficiency and said that if all the health care facilities in the country followed their lead it would save 106,000 lives and reduce health care by $8.3 billion. Results of the study are published in Fortune Magazine.

“From small community hospitals to major teaching hospitals, the organizations on this list demonstrate a relentless commitment to high-value, patient-centered care and innovation,” said Dr. Kyu Rhee, VP and chief health officer at IBM Watson Health in a statement. “It is clear that the COVID-19 crisis will be a catalyst for reinvention, and we believe these top performing hospitals are positioned to emerge stronger and smarter out of this crisis.”

Since the Top 100 Hospitals list was established in 1993, West Penn Hospital made the list six times.

“This honor again is reflective of the extraordinary talent and dedication of our physicians, nurses, volunteers and employees at every level,” said West Penn Hospital President Ron Andro.

St. Clair has won the award five times since 2012 and three times in a row, only one of 32 hospitals that have done that. It has also been honored by U.S. News & World Report, Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades, among others.

“At a time when great health care has never been more important, we’re proud of the health care heroes who’ve made St. Clair one of the nation’s highest quality hospitals,” said Dr. John Sullivan, chief medical officer of St. Clair Hospital.

By Paul J. Gough  – Reporter, Pittsburgh Business Times

Link:  https://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2020/07/01/2-local-hospitals-named-in-ibm-watson-top-100.html?ana=wpxi

Researchers Say Drug Reduces Deaths In Severely Ill Coronavirus Patients

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Researchers are hopeful about a new drug to treat coronavirus patients.

“Up until now, nothing has been shown to be beneficial,” says Dr. Amit Kaura, AHN pulmonary critical care and medical director of medical ICU West Penn Hospital. “This is our first real breakthrough in terms of battling COVID.”

It’s an inexpensive, common medicine called dexamethasone.

“An IV or an oral steroid medication that we give for its anti-inflammatory properties,” said. Dr. Kaura.

In a British study, researchers randomly assign patients to get dexamethasone or the usual care. They compared the 2,000 patients who got the drug to the 4,000 patients who did not.

In patients on a ventilator, the drug group had a 35 percent lower death rate.

In patients who needed oxygen but not a breathing machine, the drug group had a 20 percent lower death rate.

For patients who did not need oxygen, there was no difference.

“….which is pretty statistically significant, as well as clinically significant,” Dr. Kaura says. “A third reduction means that there will be a lot of lives that will be saved as a result of using dexamethasone. The hospitals will make this part of their standard of care.”

While the study has not yet been peer-reviewed and published, the researchers stopped enrolling patients because the results are so clear.

“The manuscript for the study has not been released as of yet and it does make some people uneasy,” Dr. Kaura says but points out, “It’s not every day you have studies that are stopped because of overwhelmingly positive results.”

Local doctors have already been using steroids to treat coronavirus patients.

“The major factor that really turned him around was we started steroids,” says Dr. Gregory Fino, an intensive care doctor at St. Clair Hospital, in an April 24 report about a severely ill patient who survived.

There are other drugs in this class that could be used, as well.

“As of right now, dexamethasone was the one that’s been studied. But I think there will be some cross-play between other steroids. The dosages will vary, as well as the frequency,” says Dr. Kaura.

Dexamethasone also has potential side effects that can be serious, including an increased risk for infections.

“Initially, when the COVID pandemic started, there was a scare in using steroids,” Dr. Kaura says.

In the trial, these superimposed infections did not occur.

This type of drug can make your blood pressure and blood sugar go up; it can affect your bones, your eyes, your mood and your body chemistries. So it should be used only for appropriate patients and with caution.

Link:  https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/17/dexamethasone-and-coronavirus/

St. Clair Hospital expansion gets $1 million gift from Richard King Mellon Foundation

The St. Clair Hospital Foundation has received a $1 million donation from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to help build a state-of-the-art outpatient center for the hospital’s main campus in Mt. Lebanon.

The money is earmarked for what will be called the Dunlap Family Outpatient Center.

The donation brings to $28 million the total in grants and private gifts toward the $142 million project. The development, largest in the hospital’s history, is intended to meet growing patient demand and adapt to trends in health care nationally, officials said Friday in announcing the gift.

Construction is underway, and planners hope to open the outpatient building in late 2020.

Continue reading

New Procedure Offering Hope to Afib Patients

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Kathryn Reveille had an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, or Afib.

“I had palpitations. Really, really strong palpitations that were disabling,” she said.

She tried medications, and endured eight shocks to the heart. Nothing worked to keep it in a normal rhythm.

Her heart wasn’t beating effectively. She couldn’t walk without it racing. She had trouble breathing.

“My hospitalizations became more frequent. The stays were longer. One was 23 days,” she said

With Afib, instead of just one area, multiple areas in the top chamber tell the heart to beat. With so many signals, the bottom chambers beat irregularly.

“Our goal is to help them feel better. Our goal is to help prevent a stroke,” St. Clair Hospital heart surgeon Dr. Andy Kiser said.

Ten years ago, Kiser invented a procedure to control Afib, particularly for people who have been in the rhythm for a long time.

Continue reading

This local hospital has a financial tool to get at the true costs of procedures for patients — and it’s not chargemaster

While new federal regulations required all hospitals to publish online a list of charges for procedures, supplies and drugs, no one thinks the move goes far enough to help get at the true cost to patients. But one local hospital has been doing just that for the past three years.

St. Clair Hospital in February 2016 rolled out its financial tools webpage that provides patients with an estimate of out-of-pocket costs for common hospital procedures, including surgery, colonoscopy, CT scans and sleep studies.

“A lot of patients are really price sensitive, especially patients who have a higher deductible, who know they will be responsible for a larger part of health care expenses,” said Beth Pittman, VP and COO of St. Clair Medical Services.

Continue reading