Lancaster City Zoners Grant Variances For Lancaster General Hospital $60M Expansion

Lancaster General Health has received variances from city regulations that will enable its planned $60 million expansion of Lancaster General Hospital to move ahead.

With little discussion and no public opposition, the Lancaster Zoning Hearing Board on Monday approved variances to building height and setback requirements.

The county’s largest health care provider wants to expand the Stauffer building on the northeast corner of the hospital at Lime and Frederick streets to eight floors, putting in 66 private rooms.

Joseph Puskar, an LGH senior vice president, said the hospital is responding to changes in the health care industry.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lancaster-city-zoners-grant-variances-for-lancaster-general-hospital-m/article_3e74556c-fdb1-11e4-bf1e-8f1af7ea2f8c.html

New Memorial Hospital Of York Plan Prompts Traffic, Noise Concerns

Related: Memorial to break ground on replacement hospital.

Memorial Hospital held a public forum at the West Manchester Township building that allowed community members to view the plans for the replacement hospital.

Here are some of their concerns:

Traffic

Deb Kauffman, CEO of White Rose Credit Union attended because her business is located near the new hospital. She is concerned about traffic but hopes the new hospital will bring in some more business.

Will there be speed bumps? Traffic lights? Reduced speed? These are all questions Doreen Lehr had after seeing the photos of the plan because she lives right at the entrance on Roosevelt Road. She says during rush hour it takes her five to 10 minutes to get out of her driveway as it is and people speed. They’ll have to expand the road, her husband, Joseph Lehr suggested.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_28064340/community-responds-new-memorial-hospital

Allegheny Health Network’s $600M Plan To Expand Reach Depends On Highmark

Allegheny Health Network proposes investing part of $175 million from Highmark Inc. in renovations and technology upgrades at its Allegheny General and West Penn hospitals, anticipating that they will accommodate more patients when Highmark insurance subscribers lose in-network access to UPMC next year.

The Highmark-owned hospital system would build outpatient medical centers and expand emergency, trauma and women’s health services to underserved parts of Western Pennsylvania as part of a spending plan that executives say will help it better compete with UPMC.

“The entire amount … will be used for capital improvements at Allegheny Health Network to fill in certain service line gaps,” Chief Financial Officer Karen Hanlon said during a state Department of Insurance hearing Monday. “No portion of the requested funding will go to pay operating expenses.”

UPMC Treasurer Tal Heppenstall Jr. said Allegheny Health Network is in worse financial condition than Highmark has reported and chided the company for its “profound lack of financial transparency.” He said it appears Highmark is hiding huge losses in “sporadic, fragmented and murky” financial statements.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/healthnews/8208546-74/highmark-health-network#ixzz3ZH4hmeqt
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Lehigh Valley Health Network Looking To Almost Double Muhlenberg Hospital

Lehigh Valley Health Network is looking to almost double its Muhlenberg hospital in Bethlehem, according to new plans submitted to the city.

LVHN has proposed a six-story, 155-bed addition to its current 188-bed Schoenersville Road hospital. The plans have been submitted to Bethlehem but haven’t yet been scheduled for consideration, Bethlehem Assistant Director of Planning and Zoning Tracy Samuelson said.

LVHN spokesman Brian Downs declined Monday to discuss the plans, calling them preliminary.

“We’re considering things all the time,” he said.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2015/05/lehigh_valley_health_network_l.html

$60 Million Expansion Planned For Lancaster General Hospital

Lancaster County’s largest health care provider announced this morning that it is planning a six-story, $60 million expansion of its flagship facility, Lancaster General Hospital.

The expansion would enable the hospital to provide all private patient rooms, Lancaster General health said in a news release.

The LG Health Board of Trustees is scheduled to make a final decision on the project at its May meeting, according to the release. Work completed thus far is in anticipation of trustee and municipal approvals, it said, “to enable construction to begin as early as this summer.”

“Among LGH’s current 533 inpatient beds, 142 are located in semi-private rooms,” the release said. “LG Health plans to expand onto the northeast corner of the hospital, near Lime and Frederick streets.”

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/million-expansion-planned-for-lancaster-general-hospital/article_d4bc21b8-f00e-11e4-ad3b-239f83f71d33.html

MCCC Medical Assisting Program Earns Maximum Reaccreditation

PHOTO: Medical Assisting students perform free health screenings each semester for Montgomery County Community College students, faculty and staff. Photo by Matt Carlin

PHOTO: Medical Assisting students perform free health screenings each semester for Montgomery County Community College students, faculty and staff. Photo by Matt Carlin

BlueBell/Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Medical Assisting program recently received full reaccreditation through 2022 from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP) upon recommendation from the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). The eight-year accreditation is the maximum award possible, and MCCC met CAAHEP’s required standards and objectives without any recommendations or suggestions.

Introduced in 2003, the 34-credit Medical Assisting certificate is comprised of classroom instruction, on-campus laboratory simulations and practical experience at affiliated clinical sites. The program is offered at both MCCC’s Central Campus in Blue Bell and West Campus in Pottstown. A total of 222 students have graduated from the program over the past 12 years.

Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks that keep the offices of health practitioners running smoothly.

“Nationally-credentialed Medical Assistants assist in meeting the community’s workforce demands for qualified health care professionals,” said Kathleen Schreiner, director of medical office professions at MCCC.

Graduates from the MCCC’s program qualify to complete the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) certification examination for Certified Medical Assistants (CMA) and/or the American Medical Technologists (AMT) certification examination for Registered Medical Assistants (RMA).

“Our graduates have achieved an eight-year cumulative pass rate of 97.66 percent on the national credentialing examination,” shared Schreiner. “Employers regularly seek our Montgomery County Community College graduates to meet their workforce needs because of our reputation for preparing well-qualified health care professionals.”

Medical Assisting graduates may choose to enter the workforce immediately upon certification or may apply their credits toward MCCC’s Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Health Services Management.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Occupational Outlook Handbook,” employment opportunities for medical assistants are expected to grow by 29 percent through 2022, which is significantly higher than the average growth rate of 11 percent for all occupations. In 2012, the median wage for medical assistants was $29,370, nationally.

To learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s Medical Assisting program, visit http://www.mc3.edu/academics and choose Areas of Study, followed by Health Sciences and Medical Assisting.

Gallup: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Well-Being Could Be Worse, But Not Much

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area’s overall well-being could be worse, but not much.

The metropolitan area ranked 94th overall out of 100 communities in the U.S. in Gallup opinion poll “State of American Well-Being: 2014 Community Well-Being Rankings.”

The survey issued Tuesday compares how people feel about and experience their daily lives in five areas:

■ Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goal.

■ Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life.

Read more:

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/gallup-scranton-wb-well-being-could-be-worse-but-not-much-1.1860711

Memories And Sadness Greet Montgomery Hospital Demolition

NORRISTOWN, PA – The start of a six-month demolition of the seven-story Montgomery Hospital building on Powell Street this week has unlocked a flood of emotional responses from former patients, employees and residents of the nearby Locust Street block.

“It’s sad, but it is what it is,” said Leah Yzzi, a 16-year resident of Norristown who worked at the hospital as both a switchboard operator and as a teenage candy striper. “It was stupid to move the hospital to East Norriton.”

Yzzi gave birth to her three children — Kailee, 13, Jordan 12, and Angelo, 8 — at Montgomery Hospital.

“I made a lot of friends there. My mom, Kathy Kriebel, worked there for 15 years as an oncology nurse,” she said. “My step-dad, Dave Trumbore, worked there as an infectious disease doctor. I actually candy striped there for two summers in high school. I liked doing that.”

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150312/memories-and-sadness-greet-montgomery-hospital-demolition

UCLA’s Feinberg To Be Named Geisinger Head

David Feinberg, M.D., chief executive of UCLA Health System, will become the sixth chief executive of Geisinger Health System, claiming the top spot at a medical care network with 23,500 employees that has been lauded as a model in the fast-changing world of health care.

On May 1, Feinberg officially claims the reins of a nonprofit that has greatly expanded its reach and now includes Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township and Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton. The health system now hopes to refocus on improving health care delivery and outcomes.

In a conference call with reporters Monday, Feinberg said he studied Geisinger’s approach for years, hoping to learn and maybe adopt their approaches. But he never imagined leading the system, which he called a dream come true.

“Geisinger is so important to American medicine today,” he said, calling the system one of the first with integrated insurance, facilities and doctors. “American health care is transitioning from a system where we are paid on volume, where more difficult cases result in more costs even as outcomes have not improved by as much. Geisinger has shifted from volume to value by measuring outcomes for patients.”

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/ucla-s-feinberg-to-be-named-geisinger-head-1.1837860

Luzerne County Deficit Increases By $6.4M, Audit Says

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Luzerne County Council heard two unpleasant updates Tuesday: the deficit grew to an estimated $10.1 million at the end of 2013 and repayments have skyrocketed on an inherited 2006 debt refinancing package.

The deficit increased because spending exceeded revenue by $6.4 million last year, said Andrea L. Caladie, a CPA with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, during a draft audit summary presentation.

The fund balance is now a negative $10.1 million because the county carried over a $3.7 million deficit from 2012, she said.

The audit was due June 30 under the county’s home rule charter. County Budget/Finance Division Head Brian Swetz has blamed staffing shortages on delays compiling information the outside auditors needed to complete their work.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50746020/

MCCC Medical Billing And Coding Class Opens Door To Rewarding Career‏

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

Blue Bell, Pa.— Holly Gately, Audubon, found a new career—one that she’s “excited” about—in the growing field of medical billing and coding thanks to Montgomery County Community College.

“I was a 30-something year old mother whose children were all in school for the first time. I had no career or post-secondary education,” shared Gately, who, like many adult students, was nervous about going back to school.

“I talked about it with my family and decided to try this new career. I registered for class and got my books. My life was changed. This was a path I could get excited about,” she said.

MCCC’s Medical Billing and Coding course—funded in part by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and offered through the Commonwealth’s JobTrakPA program—is designed for those who want to begin medical billing and coding careers or prepare for certification examinations. The course teaches students the principles of medical coding using the health industry coding manuals of CPT, ICD-9 and ICD-10 and HCPCS.

“It wasn’t always easy to get all the homework and studying done with family [obligations], but I thrived. I excelled in the course and was given the opportunity to extern for a billing company,” said Gately, who completed the course among the top in her class.

Gately went on to pass the rigorous Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Exam on her first try, and she is currently employed in a billing and coding position with an ophthalmology practice.

“I am so glad that I decided to take a chance on a new path. I have a new career, self confidence, amazing people that I now call friends, and, most of all, I have pride in knowing that I accomplished something big and wonderful,” she said.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook cites that careers in medical records and health information technology are expected to grow by 22 percent through 2022—11 percent higher than the average occupation growth rate.

Registration is going on now for the next Medical Building and Coding cohort at MCCC. The class will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-10 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (with a one hour break for lunch) starting Dec. 2 and running through Feb. 17 at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Tuition is $1,350.

For more information about JobTrakPA programs at Montgomery County Community College, visit http://www.mc3.edu/workforcedevelopment/jobtrak, call the JobTrakPA hotline at 215-461-1468 or email jobtrakpa@mc3.edu.

MCCC’s Radiography Director Chairs JRCERT Board Of Directors

Poelhuis-1

Montgomery County Community College’s Radiography Program Director Debra Poelhuis recently was elected to serve as chair of the Board of Directors of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College’s Radiography Program Director Debra Poelhuis recently was elected to serve as chair of the Board of Directors of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT).

JRCERT is the only agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation for the accreditation of traditional and distance learning educational programs in radiography, radiation therapy, magnetic resonance, and medical dosimetry.

The JRCERT Board is comprised of eight members from across the United States, and each member is recommended by a specific professional organization. Poelhuis was recommended for membership by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. She has served as second and first vice chair before her election to JRCERT board chair.

Leadership of the JRCERT Board will allow Poelhuis to observe best practices from programs across the country and to be informed of issues that may affect radiography education—including Montgomery County Community College’s program—in the future.

As chair, she will conduct meetings deciding the accreditation of programs and represent the Board at professional conferences and forums.

“On occasion I may be part of a team that conducts unannounced site visits for programs with allegations of noncompliance of the standards,” she said.

Poelhuis started her career as a diagnostic radiographer in 1972. She is certified in mammography, has experience in interventional radiography and computed tomography and spent a sabbatical semester doing forensic radiography.

Involved in radiography education for 34 years, Poelhuis was program director at a Kentucky community college for 13 years since its inception before coming to Pennsylvania to lead MCCC’s Radiography program. She holds an A.S. in Radiologic Technology, a B.S. in Allied Health, and an M.S. in Agency Counseling.

Poelhuis became involved with JRCERT through her mentor, a faculty for the Indiana University Radiography program, who also served as chair of the JRCERT Board.

Poelhuis has two grown children and is married to sculptor Bill Leth, an art instructor at Cedar Crest College and the Baum School of Art, both in Allentown.

MCCC’s Radiography program provides a comprehensive curriculum and educational experience for students who wish to become integral members of a health care team. The program provides opportunities to develop competence in critical thinking, technical skills and interpersonal communication necessary for the practice of diagnostic radiography. Competence is achieved through the integrated use of lecture, laboratory activities, small group presentations, research, and clinical education experiences.. For more information about MCCC’s Radiography program, visit mc3.edu.

Lancaster General Hospital Makes Becker’s List Of 100 Great Hospitals In U.S.

Becker’s Hospital Review is pleased to announce its 2014 list of “100 Great Hospitals in America.” Each of following institutions has a rich history, strong credentials and a growing focus on how to best care for patients in an era of reform. These organizations have played home to some of the greatest medical advancements in U.S. healthcare history, and they are also the bastions of their respective communities — serving the roles of academic hubs or local mainstays.

To develop this list, the Becker’s Hospital Review editorial team conducted research, considered nominations and evaluated reputable hospital ranking sources, such as U.S. News & World Report, Truven Health Analytics’ 100 TopHospitals, Healthgrades, Magnet designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, The LeapFrog Group, and several other resources.

Click here to see the list in alphabetical orderhttp://www.beckershospitalreview.com/100-great-hospitals-2014/full-list.html

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Former York City Financial Officer Says Mayor Asked Him To Resign

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

York City’s former top financial officer said the city’s mayor showed up at his house on a Sunday in April and asked for his resignation.

This week, former business administrator Michael O’Rourke said Mayor Kim Bracey did not provide an explanation for the request, and he still does not know the reason.

“I asked her why, and she said, ‘I just want to make a change,'” O’Rourke said.

That contradicts Bracey’s original characterization of the situation.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_25682926/former-york-city-financial-officer-says-mayor-asked

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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

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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