Altoona Emerging as a Regional Provider of UPMC’s World-Class Care

ALTOONA — The process of bringing to this area new medical services and the high quality medical care of UPMC is accelerating.

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the hospital becoming UPMC Altoona. UPMC is a world-renowned Pittsburgh health system rated No. 1 in Pennsylvania and No. 10 in the country in the prestigious U.S. News & World Report annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals.

UPMC Altoona President Jerry Murray said there has been significant progress toward making Altoona a regional hub for UPMC’s world-class care, and exciting plans are emerging for bringing new and enhanced medical services to this area.

Here is a partial list of plans:

  • Telemedicine for doctors at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to evaluate patients here will be used in the emergency room and maternity unit by late summer or early fall. This brings the expertise of one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the nation* to Altoona’s ER and labor and delivery unit. (*According to U.S. News & World Report)
  • UPMC Altoona will partner with Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC to make world-class breast care conveniently available to women in the region. Magee-Women’s Hospital’s experts and UPMC Altoona will work together to coordinate care.
  • The transplant clinic at Station Medical Center that now serves only kidney transplant patients will expand soon for liver transplant patients. Patients will have surgery at UPMC in Pittsburgh, but the clinic will save them many trips to and from Pittsburgh for pre- and post-operative care. Patients needing transplants can be very sick, and this will be a great relief for them.
  • The hospital plans to break ground in the fall for Logan Medical Center, an 85,000-square-foot medical complex on Logan Boulevard between Altoona and Hollidaysburg. The facility will offer hospital and physician services in a state-of-the-art complex.
  • A new radiation oncologist will join Jack Schocker, M.D., at UPMC CancerCenter. Joshua Siglin, M.D., is from the residency program at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and will begin seeing patients here Aug. 1. Siglin has special skills in stereotactic radiosurgery, a process that can deliver high doses of radiation to the target area with minimal exposure to the healthy tissue that surrounds it.
  • Another specialist, Elliott Bilofsky, D.O., is joining our medical staff this month. This is another success that can be credited to the UPMC affiliation. Dr. Bilofsky is an experienced and innovative ear, nose and throat, head and neck, facial plastic and cosmetic surgeon. He will be performing surgeries that have been unavailable here, keeping patients in Altoona who would otherwise need to leave town.
  • Adrian Clayton, D.O., will join Elite Orthopedics, a UPMC practice, Sept. 29. Dr. Clayton has completed a fellowship in adult joint replacement and reconstruction and will offer the latest in minimally invasive hip and knee replacement and reconstruction surgery, as well as expertise in revision surgeries.

How UPMC Altoona Will Provide the World-Class Care of UPMC

Most significantly, integration with UPMC also means incorporating its care, quality, and patient safety enhancements into UPMC Altoona.

Linnane Batzel, M.D., UPMC Altoona’s senior vice president for Quality and Medical Affairs, said integration with UPMC involves much more than just a name change.

“We have an extraordinary opportunity to learn and grow with a world-class organization and the leading health care system in Pennsylvania,” Batzel said.

“At UPMC Altoona, we have always made improvement in quality and patient safety a priority, and now we have the vast resources and experience of UPMC to push that goal further.

Batzel, who participates in monthly meetings with her UPMC colleagues to discuss challenges and system-wide solutions, said the following clinical integration is occurring:

  • UPMC Altoona is already adopting the UPMC protocols for care. This must occur gradually as staff education accompanies every change in process or protocol.
  • Physician credentialing will become integrated in October.
  • The launch of an outpatient electronic medical record (EMR) will include some decision rules and protocols. The inpatient EMR will be changed over in April of 2015 and will include UPMC care plans and protocols.

“UPMC Altoona’s systems improvement and quality staffs are working closely with UPMC’s Donald D. Wolff Jr. at the Center for Quality, Safety, and Innovation,” said Batzel.”

“We are working with their specialists on fall prevention and benchmarking with other UPMC facilities on Core Measures, hand washing, and other patient safety initiatives and outcomes.

“We are improving communication and collaboration between our Altoona physicians and Pittsburgh-based physicians through telemedicine, outreach clinics, and participation on committees and teams that select new protocols and technology for the system.

“Our pharmacy leadership participates in the central ‘Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee’ and brings research and recommendations back for our use and incorporation into our practice.

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