Stability Spurs More Growth In Pittsburgh

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slow and steady wins the race: It works for the tortoise, and it seems to be working for Pittsburgh.

The latest annual “Pittsburgh Today and Tomorrow” report by PittsburghTODAY found that Pittsburgh continues to make modest economic progress after years of decline.

PittsburghTODAY is a nonprofit part of the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social & Urban Research that tracks the region’s progress compared with 15 other areas of similar size, geographic and demographic makeups.

Doug Hueck, program director for PittsburghTODAY, highlighted data regarding population growth, unemployment levels and housing appreciation rates as examples of the city’s revival.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/02/22/Stability-spurs-more-growth-here/stories/201402220041#ixzz2u57osImH

Enhanced by Zemanta

King’s Confirms Ramada Purchase

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — King’s College confirmed Monday that it has agreed to purchase the Ramada hotel property located at 20 Public Square for $2.7 million.

King’s also is seeking $7 million in state funding to purchase and renovate the hotel to accommodate expansion of its physician assistant program.

The college has applied for the funding through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program that is proposed in state Senate Bill 680. The legislation has been approved by the state House and Senate and is now in Gov. Tom Corbett’s office.

If approved, the legislation would provide the project with $7 million in state funding to be matched by the college, making for a $14 million project.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/941057/Kings-confirms-Ramada-purchase

Pottstown Memorial Medical Center Furloughs 30 Workers For 90 Days

POTTSTOWN — Pottstown Memorial Medical Center has instituted three-month furloughs for dozens of its employees and one of its units will be closed.

“We are implementing furloughs for less than four percent of employees across our hospital.  The furloughs impact both represented and non-represented employees.  Impacted employees are being reassigned to other open positions as possible,” PMMC spokesperson Debra Bennis wrote in an email received by The Mercury at 4:51 p.m. Tuesday.

An email reply from The Mercury at 4:52 p.m. Tuesday, which asked how many employees the hospital has, went unanswered; as did a subsequent phone message asking how many people have been furloughed.

The statement Bennis provided included no information about what departments experienced the furloughs.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130730/NEWS01/130739893/pmmc-furloughs-30-for-90-days#full_story

Saint Vincent Reaches Final Agreement With Highmark

Headquarters of the insurance company in Pitts...

Headquarters of the insurance company in Pittsburgh, , . Address 120 Fifth Ave., Downtown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Those folks at Highmark are gobbling up anything that’s not nailed down!

Erie, PA – The future of Saint Vincent Health System is now in the hands of Erie County Orphans’ Court.

Saint Vincent and Highmark Inc. have reached a definitive agreement for the Erie hospital to join Highmark’s integrated delivery system — the newly named Allegheny Health Network.

Saint Vincent would join Jefferson Regional Medical Center and West Penn Allegheny Health System in the network.  The Pennsylvania Insurance Department announced its approval Monday of Highmark’s takeover of West Penn.

“We look forward to joining the Highmark (network) in the very near future, along with Jefferson Regional Medical Center and West Penn Allegheny Health System, as we work to preserve health-care choice and ensure access to the highest level of quality care for residents throughout all of western Pennsylvania,” Saint Vincent Chief Executive Scott Whalen said in a statement.

Read more:

http://goerie.com/article/20130430/NEWS02/304309961/Saint-Vincent-reaches-final-agreement-with-Highmark

Pennsylvania Approves Highmark-West Penn Allegheny Health System Merger

Headquarters of the insurance company in Pitts...

Headquarters of the insurance company in Pittsburgh, , . Address 120 Fifth Ave., Downtown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department today gave conditional approval for insurer Highmark Inc. to affiliate with the financially ailing West Penn Allegheny Health System, laying the foundation for Highmark’s plans to establish an integrated health care delivery system to compete with UPMC.

Insurance commissioner Michael Consedine, in a release announcing the decision, said, “Our goal from the outset was to have a comprehensive, transparent review in order to make a fully informed and well-founded determination.  We have met that goal.”

In statement, Gov. Tom Corbett said “the goals for the commonwealth are to improve health care access, quality and affordability.  Today’s decision is an important step toward making these goals a reality in Western Pennsylvania.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/state-approves-highmark-west-penn-allegheny-health-system-merger-685517/#ixzz2RreWfl90

Hazleton General To Merge With Lehigh Valley Health

English: Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, PA...

English: Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, PA, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greater Hazleton Health Alliance plans to merge with Lehigh Valley Health Network, pending approval by state and federal regulatory agencies, the health groups announced Wednesday.

Greater Hazleton Health Alliance has a staff of more than 1,000 people and includes the 150-bed Hazleton General Hospital and the Hazleton Health & Wellness Center, which provides diagnostic testing and rehabilitation.

It also operates a network of physicians and surgeons in 15 offices. LVHN employs more than 12,000 workers and 1,000 beds at three hospitals.   In addition, it operates nine health centers and numerous physician practices throughout the Lehigh Valley region.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-lvh-hazleton-merger-20130424,0,1475217.story

Lancaster General’s $50 Million Project At Former Lancaster Family YMCA Site Moves Forward

After receiving approvals more than a year ago to build a new office building and a parking garage on the former Lancaster Family YMCA site, Lancaster General Health put the brakes on the project.

Now it’s full speed ahead.

Andrew Baldo, vice president of project developer Arcadia Properties, on Wednesday sought and received from the city Planning Commission a waiver of preliminary plan approval requirements.

The waiver allows the $50 million project to skip a step and moves it closer to having all approvals in place by late June.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/839506_Lancaster-General-s–50-million-project-at-former-Lancaster-Family-YMCA-site-moves-forward.html#ixzz2QqkIejI3

Reading On Course For $35 Million Cumulative Deficit By 2017

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading is on course to amass a $35 million cumulative deficit by the end of 2017 even if it raises property taxes by 5 percent a year, controller Christian Zale told City Council on Monday.

The budget likely will be $1 million short this year and $1.4 million short in 2014, but Zale said the city’s own fiscal cliff comes in 2015, when it expects a $10.2 million deficit.

That will be repeated in 2016 with a $10.9 million deficit, and again in 2017 with an $11.4 million deficit, he said.

“Now is the time to address the 2015 cliff, (and) also ensure future decisions do not exacerbate these projected deficits,” he said.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=469810

Reading Health System Lays Off 210 Employees

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The parent company of Reading Hospital, Reading Health System, laid off 210 employees today as part of a cost-cutting plan that also will eliminate an additional 181 jobs through attrition and change the employee retirement package from a defined-benefit pension to a 401(k) plan.

Hospital officials said the cuts are in response to changes in the national health care system, including cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals.

Also, fewer patients are getting elective surgeries because the patients themselves have been laid off or experienced reductions in their medical benefits, said Therese Sucher, chief operating officer.

The cuts are in part due to the 2010 Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which required hospitals to implement electronic health records so all patients and physicians have immediate access to patient information.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=470221

Geisinger Tops UPMC In Pennsylvania Member Satisfaction, J.D. Power Reports

Geisinger Health Plan was tops in member satisfaction among Pennsylvania health plans with UPMC Health Plan and Central Pennsylvania’s Highmark Blue Shield not far behind, according to a report released today by J.D. Power and Associates.

Geisinger finished with 739 points out of a possible 1,000 to claim highest member satisfaction for the second year in a row.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/geisinger-tops-upmc-in-pennsylvania-member-satisfaction-jd-power-reports-678839/#ixzz2NFD01q76

Nashville’s Latest Hit? The City Itself

NASHVILLE — Portland knows the feeling.  Austin had it once, too.  So did Dallas.

English: Collage of Nashville landmarks. Top r...

English: Collage of Nashville landmarks. Top row: 2nd Avenue, Kirkland Hall (Vanderbilt University), The Parthenon; Middle row: Nashville Skyline; Bottom row: LP Field, Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even Las Vegas enjoyed a brief moment as the nation’s “it” city.

Now, it’s Nashville’s turn.

Here in a city once embarrassed by its Grand Ole Opry roots, a place that sat on the sidelines while its Southern sisters boomed economically, it is hard to find a resident who does not break into the goofy grin of the newly popular when the subject of Nashville’s status comes up.

Mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat in his second term, is the head cheerleader.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/us/nashville-takes-its-turn-in-the-spotlight.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&hp

Lancaster General Health Compensation: Plenty, But Not Out Of Line

For the guy who just opened a $300 bill from Lancaster General Health for five minutes worth of blood work, the six- and seven-figure compensation for top LGH officials may be enough to get that blood boiling.

But LGH’s compensation appears to be in line with industry standards.  In fact, you might make a case that Lancaster General President and CEO Tom Beeman is underpaid.

To put LGH compensation in context, Lancaster Newspapers compared it with compensation at five regional hospitals or health systems about the same size as Lancaster General: Wellspan Health, in York County; Pinnacle Health, in Dauphin County; Reading Health, in Berks County; Lehigh Valley Health, in Lehigh County; and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, also in Dauphin County.

The figures show that Beeman got less than the top executives at four of the five comparable institutions.

In 2010, Beeman made $1.35 million in total compensation.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/791279_LGH-compensation–Plenty–but-not-out-of-line.html#ixzz2EfKsV6QH

Police Union, Pottsville City Council Share Ideas In Effort To Avoid Officer Layoffs

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following a one-hour, closed-door meeting Thursday night, members of Pottsville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 44 and the city council have come up with a few concepts that might save jobs, according to FOP President Brian Kotzmoyer.

“It was a very positive meeting,” Kotzmoyer said.

“Both sides realized we’re doing our best to try to avoid layoffs. The officers put forth some ideas about cost-savings initiatives and some things they can do to generate more revenue on our end,” said Councilman Mark Atkinson, who chairs the council’s public safety committee.

When asked for his thoughts after the meeting, Councilman Michael P. Halcovage, who chairs the finance committee, said: “We’re just throwing around ideas.  I can’t give you any specifics.”

Read more:  http://republicanherald.com/news/police-union-pottsville-council-share-ideas-in-effort-to-avoid-officer-layoffs-1.1413124

Sheetz Health Facility Opens

Sheetz located in Frostburg, Maryland

Sheetz located in Frostburg, Maryland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  I think this is pretty amazing that a convenience store chain would build a wellness center for their employees.

CLAYSBURG – Sheetz employees now have a greater opportunity to improve their health with Wednesday’s opening of the $4 million Sheetz Center for Shwellness beside the Sheetz Distribution Center in the Walter Business Park near here.

“This is a state-of-the-art health and wellness center.  This creates an environment for our employees to be actively involved and more responsible for their health and wellness,” said Bill Young, director of compensation, benefits and risk.

Sheetz, along with its partner Marathon Health, will use medical staff to provide individual health and wellness coaching to employees and their eligible dependents.  The Shwellness Center is intended to help Sheetz employees improve their overall health by creating awareness of their own health conditions, while allowing them to better manage their medical care costs.  All services are offered to eligible employees and dependents free of charge.

Read more:  http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/566450/Sheetz-health-facility-opens.html?nav=725

‘Eds And Meds’ Still Growing In Pittsburgh Region

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pittsburgh region’s 21st-century economy has often been referred to as one where manufacturing has been displaced by the “eds and meds” sector, but there remain pockets where local residents still lean heavily on the more traditional means of employment.

In nine Allegheny County municipalities, more than twice as many residents are employed in manufacturing as is the case in the county overall, according to new census data. Many of the communities are in the Route 28/Allegheny Valley corridor, where many light manufacturing firms operate — some of them growing and thriving.

The occupational information was just one nugget in a bounty of new American Community Survey data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The data are based on a survey of the national population over a five-year span, from 2007-11, with the government deeming the sample size sufficient to release estimates for wide-ranging characteristics of every municipality.

While Allegheny County and the surrounding region once served as a manufacturing center for the nation, only 8.3 percent of the county’s workforce was employed in manufacturing in the modern era, the ACS data said.  That was down from 9 percent in the 2000 census and was less than the 10.8 percent for the nation as a whole.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/eds-and-meds-still-growing-in-pittsburgh-region-665151/#ixzz2EJ4ATXbo

’60 Minutes’ Report Critical Of Health Management Associates

A national health-care chain that operates two hospitals in Lancaster County has come under fire after an investigative TV news program aired allegations that profits — and not patient care — motivated many of the company’s decisions in the emergency room.

CBS correspondent Steve Kroft on “60 Minutes” Sunday charged Health Management Associates with running unnecessary tests and admitting patients without cause — all to drive up revenue.

Based in Naples, Fla., HMA is the nation’s fourth-largest for-profit hospital chain.  Locally, HMA operates Lancaster Regional Medical Center at 250 College Ave. and Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center in Lititz.

Danielle Gilmore, director of marketing for Lancaster Regional, declined to discuss the CBS report, instead sharing a statement issued by HMA’s corporate office in Naples.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/788776_-60-Minutes–report-critical-of-Health-Management-Associates.html#ixzz2E1Aur9Zx

Reading Health System Challenged On Merger

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

State and federal authorities want to block Reading Health System’s acquisition of a competitor, a move they say would harm local consumers by reducing competition.

State Attorney General Linda Kelly and the Federal Trade Commission announced Friday that they will ask a federal judge on Monday for an injunction to stop the deal for Surgical Institute of Reading LP, Spring Township.

“The proposed acquisition would result in substantially higher prices for many kinds of medical procedures,” Kelly said in a statement.  “It would be bad not just for patients but also for employers in the Reading area.”

The FTC also has issued an administrative complaint, initiating a proceeding that will determine the legality of the deal.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=428738

West Penn Allegheny Cancels Highmark Affiliation Agreement

English: Highmark Place from PNC Park in Pitts...

English: Highmark Place from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, taken 2008 showing the new Highmark branding atop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saying that Highmark Inc. wanted it to restructure through bankruptcy, West Penn Allegheny Health System canceled the $475 million deal under which the insurer planned to acquire WPAHS.

WPAHS board chairman Jack Isherwood said in a written statement this morning that he considers bankruptcy a poor option for the health system’s employees and customers.

“To us, bankruptcy is not the first option, it’s the last option,” he said.

WPAHS is actively looking for new partners and is willing to consider all types of companies — another insurer, nonprofit, for-profit.

Senior management will remain in place, Mr. Isherwood said.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center East End Expansion Leads To Controversy

English: UPMC Logo

English: UPMC Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When UPMC paid $10 million in 2006 for the old Ford Motor Co. building on Baum Boulevard in Bloomfield, jaws dropped at what some considered an exorbitant price, even for a local landmark.

The sale “sort of stopped purchasing for a while because a lot of people thought they could get rich, too,” Pittsburgh Councilman Bill Peduto said. “They thought that if they held out, UPMC would knock with a check with a couple of extra zeroes.”

People did indeed get rich following the sale of the 1915 building that once served as a Ford assembly plant and showroom, but not by holding out as a way to take advantage of the $10 billion health care giant.

They simply owned the right property at the right time when UPMC, with its deep pockets, made a strategic decision to establish a larger East End footprint.