West Penn Allegheny Health System Announces Final Plans for The Western Pennsylvania Hospital

October 29, 2010

West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) today announced that it has finalized its plans for which services will be offered at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Bloomfield. In June, the System had announced the major consolidation of its two city-based acute-care hospitals to better meet community health needs and prepare the system for national health care reform changes.

Under the consolidation, Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) on the North Side will serve as West Penn Allegheny’s quaternary facility, supporting the system’s comprehensive services in oncology, the neurosciences, critical care, orthopaedics and cardiovascular care, as well as the organization’s comprehensive clinical and basic research programs.

The Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Bloomfield will continue to support inpatient service for the system’s Women’s and Infants’ Center, including obstetrics, gynecology, gynecologic oncology, and neonatal intensive care unit. In addition, it will offer inpatient services for the West Penn Burn Unit and inpatient rehabilitation services.

West Penn will also offer outpatient services and outpatient surgery. Specifically, the hospital will offer vascular, general, orthopaedic, otolaryngology, colorectal, plastic, podiatric, ophthalmologic and urologic surgeries on an outpatient basis. In addition, the Bloomfield campus will continue to house physicians’ offices and outpatient services such as a gastroenterology lab, pharmacy, radiology, pain management institute, sleep clinic, radiation oncology, breast center, pelvic floor center, the Lupus Center of Excellence, the Joslin Center for Diabetes, and the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine.

The West Penn School of Nursing and the School of Respiratory Therapy will also remain on campus. All other inpatient, surgical and outpatient services will transition to Allegheny General Hospital beginning in January 2011. The West Penn Emergency Department is scheduled to close on December 31, 2010.

“We have done everything possible to minimize the number of people who will lose jobs as a result of our changes,” said Christopher T. Olivia, MD, WPAHS president and CEO. “We tried to place as many people as possible in other jobs across the System, and we also offered our West Penn employees the use of an on-site career center to help them find jobs outside of our System as well. We are grateful for the support of the City, County and State leaders that has enabled us to provide a full array of support to our employees in this meaningful way.” As a result, the System was able to reduce the number of jobs it originally anticipated would be impacted due to its urban consolidation plans. To date, approximately:

* 210 employees whose positions have been eliminated have accepted other open positions within West Penn Allegheny Health System;

* 65 employees’ jobs will move from West Penn Hospital to Allegheny General Hospital as clinical services are moved;

* 220 employees left West Penn Allegheny through resignations; and,

* 400 employees from across the system will lose jobs as a result of the announced changes and will be offered severance packages.

At this time, the System does not anticipate any additional jobs will be impacted as a result of its plans for West Penn Hospital. West Penn has issued a notice to the Bureau for Workforce Investment as legally required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act that 352 people would lose jobs at the hospital. This number is a portion of the 400 people who will lose jobs across the System as a result of the consolidation plans.

WPAHS has also announced it will continue to transform its delivery system by investing in Allegheny General Hospital as its sole quaternary care facility, and plans to expand services in the suburbs where patients are seeking more care. The System is in the midst of a $60 million renovation to prepare Allegheny General to accommodate additional patients through the construction of 96 new state-of-the-art, private patient rooms. These rooms will be variable acuity units, capable of handling critical care patients throughout their recovery. The construction is being funded by the Series 2007 Bond Project Fund, which must be utilized for capital improvement projects to the System’s facilities.

WPAHS also plans to open a 55,000 square foot outpatient care center in Peters Township during fiscal year 2011. This is the first of the System’s planned outpatient care centers. The System also recently opened a Women’s Health Center at Canonsburg General Hospital to expand the services it offers to the community. At Forbes Regional Hospital, WPAHS is in the process of adding nine new treatment rooms to the Gerald McGinnis Emergency Department to better serve the 45,000 patients who seek treatment there each year. Alle-Kiski Medical Center has also just completed a renovation and remodeling of the Emergency Department to double its size.

“Our future system will be defined by excellence in patient care, delivered in a variety of clinical settings throughout Western Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Olivia. “We are pleased that West Penn will continue to serve Bloomfield and its surrounding neighborhoods with the outstanding patient care that it has become known for.”