West Penn Hospital Emergency Department to Reopen on February 14, 2012

Updated on February 13, 2012
Kenneth Melani

Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System Officials Announce Return of Full Service Hospital to Bloomfield Community

Officials from Highmark and the West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) today joined community leaders to celebrate the restoration of emergency medical services at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Bloomfield.   West Penn Hospital’s newly equipped and renovated emergency department will open at 8 am on Tuesday, February 14, and mark the hospital’s rebirth as a full service healthcare provider.

“Today is a great day for the people of Bloomfield and its surrounding communities, many of whom have relied upon West Penn Hospital as source of exceptional healthcare services throughout their lifetime.  The opening of this state-of-the-art, beautifully refurbished emergency department represents another critical step towards a very bright future for this hospital, West Penn Allegheny Health System and our emerging healthcare provider organization,” said Kenneth R. Melani, MD, Highmark President and Chief Executive Officer.

In November, Highmark and WPAHS announced an affiliation agreement between the two organizations that, pending regulatory approvals, will considerably strengthen the health system and position it as the center piece of a new and innovative integrated healthcare delivery system for the region.   Among the consequences of WPAHS’ recent financial difficulties was a significant downsizing of West Penn Hospital and the closure of its emergency department on December 31, 2010.

According to Thomas Campbell, MD, Chair of Emergency Medicine for WPAHS and the former medical director of West Penn Hospital’s emergency department for more than two decades, emergency medical care is a vital community resource that often serves as the front door to a hospital’s full spectrum of clinical and support services.

“It is absolutely fitting that we are reopening West Penn Hospital’s emergency department on Valentine’s Day, because one thing that has always distinguished this hospital and its outstanding staff is a love for this community and the commitment to every single person who comes through these doors that they will be treated with dignity, compassion and the highest quality of care possible,” Dr. Campbell said.

“Our dedicated employees are thrilled to once again have the opportunity to fulfill that important mission, and we are delighted that so many have come back to work in this wonderful new facility,” he said.

Two recent job fairs at West Penn have attracted more than 2,000 interested applicants for jobs throughout the hospital.

The new West Penn Hospital emergency department features a redesigned patient entrance on South Millvale Avenue, 23 patient beds and a number of technological upgrades, including a 128 slice CT scanner (to be installed in March) and a fast track patient triage system.

Complimenting the emergency department opening is a significant expansion of inpatient services and other facility enhancements at the hospital, including newly renovated medical, surgical and intensive care units that offer all-private patients rooms and upgraded labor and delivery capabilities.

The improvements are all components of a much broader plan to revitalize and modernize West Penn Hospital so that it is poised to play a central role in meeting the healthcare needs of the region for many years to come.

“As an emergency physician, I am particularly excited to help share this terrific news today with the residents of Bloomfield, our employees, medical staff and the many community leaders who have been tireless advocates for this hospital over the years.  The reopening of the West Penn Hospital emergency department signifies the beginning of the fulfillment of our promise to restore and enhance essential services at this proud and beloved institution,” said Keith T. Ghezzi, MD, WPAHS Interim President and Chief Executive Officer.

Dr. Ghezzi said future plans for West Penn Hospital include expanding the hospital’s overall capacity to 300-350 private patient rooms; further expansion and renovation of its labor and delivery facilities; the return of cardiovascular services; remodeling of the hospital’s lobbies and waiting rooms; and renovation and reorganization of the hospital’s Mellon Pavilion to accommodate more physician practices and better coordinate patient care services.

Other existing services at West Penn that are expected to also grow as the hospital transitions back into a full service community hospital include its nationally recognized Burn Center and bone marrow transplantation program, Institute for Pain Medicine, Sleep Disorders Center, radiation oncology program, breast diagnostic program, pelvic floor disease center, Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Lupus Center of Excellence and Joslin Diabetes Center.

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