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News: 2006 Press Releases
Here you will find the latest information, feature stories, plus comprehensive articles in the latest treatment options and research at Altoona Regional Health System.
12/28/06 - ARTHUR W. MORROW, D.0., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
12/27/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY STUDENT EARNS NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP
12/22/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ANNOUNCES RON MCCONNELL AS NEW CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
12/15/06 - Duncan tapped for CEO of Blair Medical Associates
12/13/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SETS JANUARY PROGRAMS
12/13/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PARTNERS WITH ALTOONA PIPE AND STEEL TO INCREASE WORKPLACE SAFETY
12/13/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS NEW PROSTATE CANCER TREATMENT
12/12/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL NURSING DIRECTOR ATTENDS CONFERENCE
12/8/06 - Cooking and kitchen safety tips for the holidays
12/8/06 - Decorate safely for the holidays
12/8/06 - For toy safety, follow manufacturer's instructions
12/7/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL FIELDS TEAM FOR AMERICAN HEART WALK
12/4/06 - Altoona Regional Health System's Healthy Living Club Graduates 23 from Sign Language Class
11/30/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL EMPLOYEE RETIRES WITH 29 YEARS OF SERVICE
11/24/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL DIALYSIS UNIT DONATES QUILTS
11/22/06 - DANNY R. FIJALKOWSKI, D.P.M., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
11/22/06 - THOMAS E. COVALESKI, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
11/22/06 - FRIENDS OF ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM LAUNCHES HOLIDAY FUND-RAISER
11/15/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PURCHASES EQUIPMENT WITH DONATION FROM WEIS MARKETS
11/15/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PHYSICIAN NAMED STATE "PSYCHIATRIST OF THE YEAR"
11/13/06 - FORMER NURSING STUDENTS RETURN, REMINISCE
11/09/06 - MATTHEW T. SABOL, D.P.M., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
11/09/06 - RYAN R. RIDENOUR, D.O., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
11/09/06 - EMMANUEL A. OSAGIEDE, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
11/09/06 - ROBERTO GONZALEZ, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
11/09/06 - JOHN A. BAKER, D.O., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
11/09/06 - THE AIDS MEMORIAL QUILT VISITS ALTOONA NOV. 17-DEC. 1
11/03/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SETS DECEMBER PROGRAMS
11/03/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL EMPLOYEE COMPLETES ASHE PROGRAM
10/19/06 - SAFE KIDS BLAIR COUNTY PROVIDES HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS
10/11/06 - TAMARA L. HOFFMAN, D.O., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
10/10/06 - PATRICK K. LENZ, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
10/10/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SETS NOVEMBER PROGRAMS
10/6/06 - NORMAN M. NECHES, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
10/5/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL DEMONSTRATES ASSISTANCE FOR PATIENTS WHO ARE DEAF
10/5/06 - MADHAVI SINGH, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
10/4/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL DEMONSTRATES ASSISTANCE FOR PATIENTS WHO ARE DEAF
10/3/06 - Safe Kids Blair County Participates in Fire Prevention Week October 8 - 14
10/3/06 - QUIT SMOKING CLASSES TO BEGIN OCT. 19
10/2/06 - HEALING SERVICE TO BE HELD OCT. 29
9/29/06 - HEALING MASS TO BE CELEBRATED OCT. 8
9/28/06 - JILL S. BLESCIA, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
9/28/06 - FRIENDS OF ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS
9/26/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL DIRECTOR'S EXPERIENCE WITH ACUTE TRAUMATIC STRESS MODEL PUBLISHED
9/25/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL RADIOLOGY EARNS AMERICAN COLLEGE OF RADIOLOGY ACCREDITATION
9/20/06 - U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION ISSUES WARNING ABOUT HEAVY FURNITURE, TVS KILLING YOUNG CHILDREN
9/20/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PROVIDES HUNTING SAFETY TIPS
9/14/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SETS OCTOBER PROGRAMS
9/14/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL EARNS JCAHO CERTIFICATION AS STROKE CENTER
9/8/06 - OVERCOMING OBSTACLES, REALIZING ONE'S POTENTIAL THEME OF HANDS OF HOPE EVENT OCT. 5
9/6/06 - ADAM J. BLESCIA, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
9/5/06 - KRISTEN M. GRINE, D.O., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
9/5/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL LABORATORY SERVICES RECEIVE ACCREDITATION FROM CAPR
8/15/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ANNOUNCES HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS FOR SEPTEMBER
8/10/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL RECEIVES DONATION FROM CAMBRIAN HILLS LADIES GOLF LEAGUE
8/04/06 - PIED A TERRE, HEART SURGEON'S NEW PLAY, OFFERS A CHANCE TO HEAL IN AN UNLIKELY SETTING
7/31/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL SURGERY CENTER EARNS DEFICIENCY-FREE INSPECTION FROM DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
7/25/06 - PET/CT AVAILABLE AT ALTOONA REGIONAL NEW SYSTEM OPTIMIZED FOR ONCOLOGY IMAGING AND A FASTER WAY TO 'SEE AND TREAT'
7/17/06 - Altoona Regional magazine earns national recognition
6/27/06 - RISK MANAGER PASSES EXAM
6/27/06 - AREA STUDENT GRADUATES FROM ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM SCHOOL OF MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY/CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE
6/21/06 - EXERCISE STUDIO MAKES DONATION
6/16/06 - SAFE KIDS BLAIR COUNTY TO DISTRIBUTE PLAYGROUND SAFETY SIGNS
6/13/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ANNOUNCES HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS FOR JULY/AUGUST/SEPTEMBER
6/13/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PRESENTS CHECKS TO LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS
6/12/06 - Altoona Regional Surgery Center Honored for Excellence in Customer Service
6/8/06 - Altoona Regional Health System's Healthy Living Club Graduates 23 from Sign Language Class
6/8/06 - NEW BULIMIA WEB SITE OFFERS WEALTH OF INFORMATION
6/5/06 - LABORATORY EXPANDS SERVICES
6/2/06 - REPORT: PA. HOSPITALS HAVE $71 BILLION EFFECT ON JOBS, COMMUNITIES
5/22/06 - May is Mental Health Month: Mind Your Health
5/18/06 - Safe Kids Blair County Supports 2006 'Click It or Ticket' Mobilization
5/15/06 - PHYSICIANS GRANTED PRIVILEGES ON MEDICAL STAFF OF ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM
5/4/06 - Bedford Woman Wins Jewelry Raffle
5/4/06 - SYSTEM SAYS THANKS DURING NATIONAL HOSPITAL WEEK
5/2/06 - Safe Kids Blair County Plans Pool/Spa Safety Awareness Events for Safe Kids Week May 6-13
4/26/06 - HEPATITIS C SCREENING SCHEDULED MAY 18; MANY PEOPLE MAY BE IN AN AT-RISK GROUP
4/25/06 - Altoona Regional Health System 2006 Spring Trauma Symposium
4/17/06 - PHOTO/VIDEO OPPORTUNITY: WOMEN'S NIGHT OUT 2006
4/14/06 - SUPPORT GROUP CANCELS APRIL MEETING
4/07/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ANNOUNCES HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS FOR APRIL
4/05/06 - TEEN WHO SAVED PRESCHOOLER FROM CHOKING NAMED SAFE SITTER OF THE YEAR
3/31/06 - Safe Kids Blair County to Offer Child Seat Inspections during the Senior Health Fair
3/20/06 - ANNUAL CAREGIVERS' CONFERENCE SET MAY 5
3/03/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ANNOUNCES HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS FOR MARCH
2/24/06 - CHRIS RICKENS NAMED ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR OF SURGICAL SERVICES
2/23/06 - JIM DESTEFANO PROMOTED
2/23/06 - JACQUIE RIZZO PROMOTED TO ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR OF CRITICAL CARE
2/22/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL SAYS GOODBYE TO TWO EMPLOYEES WITH 65 YEARS OF CUMULATIVE SERVICE
2/13/06 - COMBINED FREE CLINICS WILL EXPAND SERVICES TO UNINSURED
2/10/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL BUSINESS OFFICE SCORES TOUCHDOWN WITH "SOUPER BOWL" FOOD DRIVE
2/9/06 - Safe Kids Blair County Offers Car Seat Inspections, Safety Belt Fit Tests
2/1/06 - M&T BANK DONATES TO ALTOONA REGIONAL TO HELP PROVIDE MEDICAL CARE TO WORKING UNINSURED
1/30/06 - Duggan leaving Altoona Regional to become administrator at Virginia hospital
1/26/06 - ALTOONA REGIONAL DONATES USED EQUIPMENT TO DEVELOPING NATIONS
1/23/06 - HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS SET FOR FEBRUARY 2006
12/20/05 - HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS SET FOR JANUARY 2006




December 28, 2006 - ARTHUR W. MORROW, D.0., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

Arthur W. Morrow, D.O. Arthur W. Morrow, D.O., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System medical staff in the department of Family Medicine.

He is affiliated with Altoona Family Physicians, 501 Howard Ave., Suite F-2, Altoona.

Dr. Morrow is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.

He received his medical degree from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kirksville, Mo. He did his residency with Altoona Family Physicians.






December 27, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY STUDENT EARNS NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP

Mercedes Stoneberg Mercedes Stoneberg of Altoona, a student of the Altoona Regional Health System School of Medical Technology/Clinical Laboratory Science, has been selected by the American Society for Clinical Pathology as the recipient of a $2,500 national scholarship.

The Member Council Scholarship Committee selected Ms. Stoneberg based on her outstanding academic achievement in her laboratory medicine studies, strong leadership in the field and active community service.

Ms. Stoneberg is the daughter of Carolyn Stoneberg of Brockway. She graduated in May from Penn State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and a minor in biochemistry and molecular biology. She was a member of the Schreyer Honors College and graduated second in her class. Ms. Stoneberg worked in the research lab where she developed a special interest in pathology. She said that after working in the medical technology field for a few years, she may go to medical school for pathology.

Altoona Regional Health System School of Medical Technology/Clinical Laboratory Science is an accredited, 50-week internship program offering clinical theoretical concepts with clinical experience.






December 22, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ANNOUNCES RON MCCONNELL AS NEW CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

Ron McConnell James W. Barner, President/Chief Executive Officer of Altoona Regional Health System, and the board of directors announced today the appointment of Ron McConnell as chief operating officer of Altoona Regional effective Jan. 1, 2007. McConnell, who has been with Altoona Regional (and the former Altoona Hospital) since 2001 as Senior Vice President/Corporate Development, succeeds Dan Duggan who left Altoona Regional in March 2006 for a CEO position in Norfolk, Va.

In his previous position at Altoona Regional, McConnell was responsible for various departments and initiatives to include strategic planning, physician recruitment, corporate development, public and community relations (including the role as hospital spokesman), patient satisfaction and customer service, volunteer services, educational outreach and programming, and served as legislative liaison and liaison with the hospital's auxiliary.

As chief operating officer of the health care system, McConnell will oversee the day-to-day operations of Altoona Regional's Altoona Hospital and Bon Secours Hospital campuses. He will also continue to be the champion of the health care system's new operating environment focused on service and organizational excellence.

Barner stated that, "Ron has been a tremendous asset to the senior leadership team of Altoona Regional, and the board of directors and I have complete faith and trust in Ron's ability to continue to contribute to the success of Altoona Regional in this top leadership position. Ron is extremely dedicated to Altoona Regional, its employees, physicians, volunteers and patients, and is totally committed to the achievement of Altoona Regional's vision of becoming a world-class health care organization."

Prior to joining Altoona Hospital in 2001, McConnell was dean of institutional advancement at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pa., from October 1998 to October 2001; director of planned giving and community relations and a community specialist at the Home Nursing Agency in Altoona from May 1994 to October 1998; a graduate assistant for the MBA program director at Gannon University in Erie, Pa., from May 1993 to May 1994; and a research analyst/marketing coordinator at Trinity Investment Management Corp. in Bellefonte, Pa., from 1989 to 1992.

McConnell received his B.S. from The Pennsylvania State University, College of Health and Human Development with an interdisciplinary minor in business, and his M.B.A. with a concentration in finance from Gannon University.

McConnell serves on numerous local business groups, such as the Pennsylvania Economy League, Altoona Blair County Development Corporation KIZ Advisory Board and Blair County Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the American Hospital Association Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

He is a native of Altoona and resides in the city with his wife, Lauren, and their two children, Ben and Fiona.

As a result of this administrative reorganization, the senior leadership of Altoona Regional will have consolidated with a net result of two fewer executive positions. With Dan Duggan's departure last March and Dave Duncan's recent appointment as President/CEO of Blair Medical Associates, their previous duties will be absorbed within the reorganization.






December 15, 2006 - Duncan tapped for CEO of Blair Medical Associates

David Duncan David J. Duncan, Ph.D., FACHE, senior vice president and chief information officer, is leaving his position at Altoona Regional on Dec. 29 to accept the chief executive officer role with Blair Medical Associates, a system-affiliated corporation. Duncan will replace current BMA CEO John Brown, who is relocating to Virginia.

"Dave has provided tremendous leadership during his 26 years of service to both the former Altoona Hospital and newly merged system," CEO and President Jim Barner said. "He is an Altoona native, who takes great pride in this community and in ensuring that a delivery system of quality health care continues to be available for its residents."

Duncan has provided administrative oversight for the Altoona Family Physicians' Residency Program, Behavioral Health and the outsourced Information Management department, as well as being instrumental in facilitating the system's master facility planning process.

"It's hard for me to adequately express my appreciation to all the fine people who have made the last 26 years at Altoona Regional Health System so special to me,' Duncan said. "You may not know that I actually began working at Altoona Hospital as a high school student pushing laundry carts around the hospital in the summer of 1964."

Over that 42-year period, Duncan worked in the laundry, housekeeping, maintenance, social services, human resources, pharmacy and laboratory, and, he admits, some other departments he can't even remember.

"I can't think of any other organization that has been more a part of my life than Altoona Hospital," he said. "And now, as I leave to accept a leadership position at Blair Medical Associates, I want to say 'thank-you' to the hundreds of fine people who have shared all of these beautiful and memorable experiences with me."






December 13, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SETS JANUARY PROGRAMS

A Child Safety Seat Installation Checkup Station will be held Friday, Jan. 12, in the Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level. The inspections take place from 9:30-11 a.m. You must make an appointment. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889-7802.

A free osteoporosis screening for women only will be held Friday, Jan. 5, 12:30 to 3 p.m., in the Allegheny Room, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. You must call for an appointment. For more information, call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

Drivers age 55 and older are invited to participate in the AARP Driver Safety Program, a classroom refresher course that covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

The class is offered Tuesday, Jan. 9, and Wednesday, Jan. 10, 6-10 p.m. in the Logan Room, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. The fee is $10. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

Most people hope their "golden years" will be simpler and less stressful. But for many, that is not the case. When life becomes overwhelming, depression can occur. Join Dr. Joseph Antonowicz, a psychiatrist with Altoona Regional's Behavior Health Services, for "Depression in the Golden Years," Friday, Jan. 26. Lunch is served at 11 a.m. followed by the program until 1 p.m. Dr. Antonowicz will discuss depression's causes and treatments and offer suggestions for avoiding it. This program will be held at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, 2621 8th Ave. No fee. Registration required. To register, call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

A six-week series of yoga classes begins Jan. 16 and continues through Feb. 20. Beginners: 5:30 to 6:40 p.m. Intermediate: 6:50-8 p.m. Gail Murphy, instructor in hatha yoga, leads this program, which offers mind/body exercise, breath control, stretching and strengthening to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Fee: $30. Meets in Rotunda, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. Register now as class is limited to $25. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

Join Sharon Rydbom, our own craft diva, as she guides us in transforming an ordinary terra cotta pot into an adorable crackled candle holder at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, in the Juniata Room of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. A choice of colors will be available. Materials needed for class include one Styrofoam plate for paint, three paper towels, scissors and a hairdryer (if you have one). This is a quick and easy project to complete just in time for Valentine's Day. The cost is $7. Preregistration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.






December 13, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PARTNERS WITH ALTOONA PIPE AND STEEL TO INCREASE WORKPLACE SAFETY

Altoona Regional Health System and Altoona Pipe and Steel Co. recently collaborated to combat the potential for sudden cardiac death in the workplace through the training of employees in the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and CPR.

"Altoona Regional is pleased and encouraged by Altoona Pipe and Steel's commitment to the health and safety of its workforce," said R. Scott Magley, M.D., senior vice president/Chair of Emergency Medicine. "Early CPR and defibrillation within the first 3-5 minutes of collapse, plus early advanced care, can result in a greater than 50 percent long-term survival rate. AEDs combined with CPR work."

Dr. Magley facilitated Altoona Pipe and Steel's purchase of five defibrillators. Regulations require a physician's order for such a purchase.

Altoona Regional's Education department is providing the American Heart Association's Heartsaver AED course, which includes CPR and AED instruction, to 35-40 employees.

defibrillators "We're very excited about this," said Joel Hollander, president of Altoona Pipe and Steel. "We're trying to create a safer workplace for all of our employees. And, we hope it's the start of a wonderful relationship with the hospital in educating our employees in developing a healthier lifestyle.,

Sudden cardiac death from coronary heart disease occurs over 900 times per day in the United States. And, sudden cardiac death accounts for 330,000 deaths each year among U.S. adults, according to the American Heart Association.

Photo: Altoona Regional and Altoona Pipe and Steel recently collaborated to educate Altoona Pipe and Steel's workforce in CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators, such as the one held by company President Joel Hollander (center). The classes were taught by Altoona Regional educator Sherri McDonald, RN. They are joined by R. Scott Magley, M.D., who facilitated Altoona Pipe and Steel's purchase of five defibrillators.






December 13, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS NEW PROSTATE CANCER TREATMENT

Men with prostate cancer have a new treatment tool available -- Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) -- which allows daily radiation therapy to be delivered directly to the gland with fewer complications to surrounding organs.

This is accomplished through the implantation of gold marker seeds, which pinpoint the prostate gland's location within the pelvis. By precisely locating the gland, a smaller treatment field can be used. The prostate's position within the pelvis changes slightly on a daily basis due to differences in rectal and bladder fullness.

Prior to IGRT, the accepted practice was to use the bones of the pelvis as reference points of the treatment field. No way existed to use the internal anatomy to locate the prostate gland.

The gold marker seeds make the prostate gland visible and enable the treatment area to be substantially reduced. This limits radiation exposure to the bladder and rectum and reduces complications for the patient.

This treatment is currently limited to those patients who will receive Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) treatments.

In the physician's office, three gold marker seeds are placed in the prostate gland. The seeds are 1.2 x 3.0 mm. This is similar in size to a grain of rice.






December 12, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL NURSING DIRECTOR ATTENDS CONFERENCE

Paula McNulty Paula McNulty, R.N., B.S.N., M.B.A., administrative director of Nursing Resources at Altoona Regional Health System, attended the Tenth National Magnet Conference in Denver, Colo., Oct. 3-6. The conference was sponsored and hosted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) along with the official Magnet co-host, University of Colorado Hospital.

Representatives from Magnet-designated organizations and those aspiring to Magnet designation, such as Altoona Regional, gathered to share best practices, network, and create new collaborative relationships. Attendees numbered more than 3,000 from 10 countries.

Magnet designation is the highest level of recognition that the American Nurses Credentialing Center can award to organized nursing services. Currently 223 Magnet facilities exist: 222 in the United States and one in Australia. The goals of the Magnet Recognition Program are: to identify excellence in the delivery of nursing services to patients; to promote quality in an environment that supports professional practice, and to provide a mechanism for the dissemination of "best practices" in nursing services.

Independent research shows that Magnet facilities have reduced Medicare mortality and morbidity rates, increased levels of patient satisfaction, significantly lower rates of nurse burnout, reduced needle stick injury rates among nurses, improved nurse-to-patient ratios, and a decreased likelihood of nurses reporting that they are dissatisfied.

Altoona Regional plans to submit an application for Magnet status in January. The process includes an on-site survey in late 2008 or early 2009, after which a decision on the designation is made.






December 8, 2006 - Cooking and kitchen safety tips for the holidays

Safe Kids Blair County offers holiday safety reminders


As holiday goodies are being prepared, children are eager to lend a hand. Whether decorating cookies or mixing salad dressing, children need close adult supervision at all times in and around the kitchen.

Since each child is different, it is important for parents and caregivers to consider the developmental level and abilities of their children when it comes to assigning kitchen duties. Generally, children under age 10 don't fully understand what danger means and therefore should not handle the stove, electrical appliances, sharp utensils or hot dishes, says Sherry Turchetta, R.N., coordinator of Safe Kids Blair County. Younger children can begin helping in the kitchen with basics, like washing vegetables and fruits, or other tasks that don't require sharp knives, appliances or heat.

Safe Kids Blair County works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Altoona Regional is the lead agency of Safe Kids Blair County.

Following are a few suggested activities and age guidelines that Safe Kids Worldwide and the National Fire Protection Association recommends parents review to help keep the kitchen a fun, safe place for the family.

Children 3-5 can:
  • Get ingredients out of the refrigerator and cupboards.
  • Stir ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Pour liquids into a bowl.
  • Rinse foods under cold water.
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes in dough.
  • Children 6-8 can:
  • Use a butter knife to spread frosting, peanut butter or soft cheese.
  • Peel vegetables.
  • Measure ingredients.
  • Stir together ingredients in a bowl.
  • Set the table.
  • Children 9-12 can:
  • Begin to follow recipes.
  • Use electrical kitchen appliances such as blenders, food processors, electric mixers and microwaves.
  • Help plan the meals.
  • Open cans.
  • Squeeze garlic from a garlic press and use a grater to shred cheese and vegetables.
  • Turn stove burners on and off and select oven temperature when an adult is present.
  • Children above age 13 can:
  • Operate the stovetop without adult supervision.
  • Drain cooked pasta into a colander.
  • Remove a tray of cookies from the oven.
  • Heat food in the microwave without adult supervision.
  • General cooking and kitchen safety tips:
  • Never leave a hot stove unattended. (Unattended food on the stove is the number one cause of home fires.)
  • Never hold a child while cooking or carrying hot items.
  • Cook on back burners whenever possible, and turn all handles toward the back of the stove.
  • Don't allow loose-fitting clothing in the kitchen.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edges of counters and tables.
  • Be especially careful around tablecloths - children can pull hot dishes down onto themselves







  • December 8, 2006 - Decorate safely for the holidays

    Safe Kids Blair County offers holiday safety reminders


    ALTOONA - Holiday decorations, especially candles and electrical lighting, can be fire hazards, and Safe Kids Blair County reminds parents and caregivers to take a few precautions when decorating for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwaanza and other winter festivities.

    "Never, never leave lit candles unattended," says Sherry Turchetta, R.N., Safe Kids Blair County coordinator. "Don't put candles on a tree or a natural wreath, or near curtains or drapes. Keep matches and lighters locked out of reach."

    Safe Kids Blair County works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Altoona Regional Health System is the lead agency.

    In 2002, candles started 18,000 home fires in the United States, and twice as many home fires in December as in any other month, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

    "Decorative lighting should be labeled with the UL seal of approval from Underwriters Labs," Turchetta said. "If it's not labeled for outdoor use, don't use it outdoors."
    If you decorate a tree, Safe Kids Blair County recommends these precautions:
  • Never leave a lit Christmas tree or other decorative lighting display unattended. Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections and broken sockets. Do not overload extension cords or outlets and do not run an electrical cord under a rug.
  • Natural Christmas trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize the risk, get a fresh tree and keep it watered at all times. Do not put the tree near a fireplace, space heater, radiator or heat vent. LED lights burn cooler than incandescent lights and pose a lower risk of fire.
  • Decorate with children in mind. Do not put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches where small children can reach them. Trim protruding branches at or below a child's eye level, and keep lights out of reach.
  • Do not burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.
  • Safe Kids Blair County also offers these tips to prevent accidental poisoning:
  • Keep alcohol (including baking extracts) out of reach and do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.
  • Color additives used in fireplace fires are a toxic product and should be stored out of reach. Artificial snow sprays are also harmful if inhaled.
  • Holly berries, mistletoe berries, poinsettias, amaryllis, boxwood, Christmas rose, Crown of Thorns, English ivy and Jerusalem cherry are all potentially harmful if eaten.
  • For more information, or to find out whether other decorative plants and products are hazardous to children, call your Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.
  • For more information about home safety, visit the fire prevention and safety tips pages at www.usa.safekids.org.






    December 8, 2006 - For toy safety, follow manufacturer's instructions

    Safe Kids Blair County offers toy safety reminders


    ALTOONA - Parents and caregivers can make sure they're choosing safe toys for their children by paying close attention to warning labels and manufacturer's guidelines.

    "More than 3 billion toys and games are sold in the United States every year, and most of them are very safe. Warning labels and manufacturers' instructions tell you how to use the product safely," says Sherry Turchetta, R.N., Safe Kids Blair County coordinator. "If the manufacturer sets a minimum age or other restrictions, there's a reason. Follow the instructions."

    Nationwide, approximately 160,000 children per year ages 14 and under are treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries; nearly half of these children are under age 5. Safe Kids Blair County is led by Altoona Regional Health System. Safe Kids works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under.

    "By far, the biggest category of toy-related injuries - about 40 percent - involves riding toys, such as scooters, inline skates and skateboards," Turchetta said. "If you give a riding toy to a child, remember: The gift isn't complete without a helmet and protective gear." Riding toys should not be used near vehicle traffic, stairs, swimming pools or bodies of water.

    "If you buy toys secondhand or get hand-me-downs, visit www.recalls.gov to make sure the toy hasn't been recalled for safety reasons," she advised. "If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in right away so the manufacturer can contact you if the item is ever recalled."

    Don't hesitate to report defects or design features that seem dangerous. "If your child has a close call, the next child might not be so lucky," Turchetta said. "Report safety concerns about toys to the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov. Your experience could be part of a pattern that might lead to a recall."

    Safe Kids Blair County also recommends these precautions:
  • Use a small parts tester (available in quantity from the Safe Kids Resource Catalog) or the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper to identify choking hazards. Do not let small children play with anything that can fit into one of these cylinders.
  • Inspect toys to make sure they are in good repair. Do not let young children play with toys that have straps, cords or strings longer than 7 inches, due to the risk of strangulation.
  • Supervise children playing with any toy that has small parts, moving parts, electrical or battery power, cords, wheels or any other potentially risky component. (Simply being in the same room as your child is not necessarily supervising. Active supervision means keeping the child in sight and in reach and paying undivided attention.)
  • Teach children to put toys away after playing, to help prevent falls and unsupervised play, and make sure toys intended for younger children are stored separately from those for older children. Toy chests should be equipped or retrofitted with safety hinges that prevent the lid from closing on a child who is leaning over the open chest. If a chest does not have safety hinges, remove the lid.







  • December 7, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL FIELDS TEAM FOR AMERICAN HEART WALK

    2006 sign class A team of walkers from Altoona Regional Health System participated in the American Heart Walk and raised $1,451. More than 201 walkers participated in the walk held Sept. 23 at Penn State Altoona and raised $39,535. Funds raised are used by the American Heart Association to fight heart disease and stroke through research and education. Altoona Regional team members are (from left): standing - Connie Anderson, Penny Miller, Danielle Gibbons, Donna Reeves, Megan Garner, Cathy Wilt; kneeling - Christi Wimer, Debbie Fornwalt, Kay Adams, Becky McFalls and Georgianna Replogle.






    December 4, 2006 - Altoona Regional Health System's Healthy Living Club Graduates 23 from Sign Language Class

    Altoona Regional Health System's Healthy Living Club graduated 12 students from its sign language class. Under the instruction of the Rev. Bob Smith, a chaplain with the Altoona Regional Pastoral Care Department, the students learned 790 words and have the ability to sign the alphabet, numbers, recipes and more.

    2006 sign class

    Class members shown in the photo are (from left): first row - Joyce Moyer, Jennifer Moffitt; second row -- Brenda Garver, Susan Wagner, Amy Geer, Doris Jones, Rae Boggs, Dorothy Yingling; third row -- Kristi Somers, Jonathan Smith, Jerry Conrad, Faye Conrad and the Rev. Bob Smith, Instructor.






    November 30, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL EMPLOYEE RETIRES WITH 29 YEARS OF SERVICE


    Elaine Fayson, a linen aide, has retired from the Linen Services department, Altoona Hospital Campus, of Altoona Regional Health System, with 29 years of service.

    Fayson, of Duncansville, began her career with Altoona Hospital on Oct. 27, 1977, in the laundry. During her career she also worked in Supportive Services, the cold foods area of Nutrition Services, and Housekeeping. She returned to Linen Services 10 years ago.








    November 24, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL DIALYSIS UNIT DONATES QUILTS

    Photo Right: Altoona Regional Dialysis Unit employees Cindy Farrell, LPN, (left) and Cheryl Williams, RN, BSN, display the quilts they have made for Kidney Kamp Quilt Project 2007.

    Altoona Regional Health System's Dialysis Unit and its patients recently donated homemade quilts to the Western Pa. Kidney Kamp in New Kensington.

    Kidney Kamp offers a total camp experience for young campers with kidney disease under the age of 18, who are either currently on dialysis, transplanted or have pre-renal disease.

    "The campers loved the blankets. I wish you could have seen the enthusiasm and excitement," said camp directors Bob Kraynik and Sue Kirschbaum.

    Making 33 quilts or homemade blankets were 10 Altoona Regional employees, employees' family members, patients and patients' family members, according to Cindy Farrell, LPN, who works in the Dialysis Unit and spearheaded the project.








    November 22, 2006 - DANNY R. FIJALKOWSKI, D.P.M., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Danny R. Fijalkowski, D.P.M., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the department of Orthopedics/Podiatry.

    He is affiliated with Mainline Medical Associates, 1400 9th Ave., Altoona, and 792 Gallitzin Road, Cresson, and Nittany Valley Ankle & Foot Center, 2505 Green Tech Drive, Suite A, State College.

    Dr. Fijalkowski is board qualified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery and the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine.

    He received his residency training from Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Ohio, and graduated from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, Cleveland.







    November 22, 2006 - THOMAS E. COVALESKI, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Thomas E. Covaleski, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the department of Internal Medicine.

    He is affiliated with Lexington Hospitalists Inc.

    Dr. Covaleski is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He received his residency training and graduated from the College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey.







    November 22, 2006 - FRIENDS OF ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM LAUNCHES HOLIDAY FUND-RAISER

    Friends of Altoona Regional Health System has begun its annual Revealing the Angels Holiday Campaign. Money raised will benefit the Partnering for Health Services medical clinic, which provides free care to people without health insurance.

    The Revealing the Angels fund-raiser provides "Angel Card" ornaments, in honor or in memory of a loved one, for a donation. Ornaments will be placed on holiday trees at both campuses of Altoona Regional.

    A ceremonial tree lighting to recognize all "Angels" will take place at 10 a.m. Nov. 30 in the Atrium of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Avenue, and at 9 a.m. Dec. 1, in the 7th Avenue lobby, Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Avenue. Each event will also include a bake sale and basket raffle.

    Friends will also match Altoona Regional employee, medical staff and volunteer contributions up to $10,000.

    For additional information, please call Volunteer Services at 889-2151. Contribution envelopes can be found in the gift shops at both campuses.







    November 15, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PURCHASES EQUIPMENT WITH DONATION FROM WEIS MARKETS

    Altoona Regional Health System received a $10,000 donation from Weis Markets and has purchased two new pieces of equipment.

    Photo right: First row, from left: Jerry Hatch, regional director, Weis Markets; Andrea Pyo, R.N., maternity department, Altoona Regional Health System, and Ron McConnell, Altoona Regional , senior vice president, Corporate Development, (back row, from left:) John Klisiewicz, store manager, Altoona No. 64; Bob Klisiewicz, district manager; John Rabold, store manager, Altoona No. 40, and Michael Corso, director, Imaging Services, Altoona Regional.

    The first piece of equipment is the 12 Mhz Active Matrix Array Transducer, which is a high-resolution transducer that can be used for ultrasound imaging of the breast. This equipment provides sharp, detailed images that aid in the detection of breast abnormalities. This transducer, purchased for the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Imaging Services Department, brings the same equipment capabilities to the ultrasound departments.

    The other purchase was a bilibed, a special piece of equipment used to help newborns who have jaundice. The bed uses special lights to help the newborn's system break down bilirubin in his or her blood before it reaches unsafe levels that could cause permanent damage.








    November 15, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PHYSICIAN NAMED STATE "PSYCHIATRIST OF THE YEAR"

    Joseph Antonowicz, M.D., medical director of Altoona Regional Health System's Behavioral Health Services, has been named Psychiatrist of the Year by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Pennsylvania.

    This award is presented to the psychiatrist who has worked with the local NAMI chapter in his community to advocate strongly for the mentally ill and has demonstrated excellent patient care. The health system and NAMI of Blair County nominated Dr. Antonowicz.

    "I could not be more honored than to receive a recognition such as this from an organization that represents my patients and their families," Antonowicz said.

    Dr. Antonowicz has been medical director of Behavioral Health Services since 2001. He is board certified in general psychiatry, with added qualifications in geriatric psychiatry, and he is board certified in addiction medicine. He was previously board certified in family practice.

    "Dr. Antonowicz constantly strives through internal quality improvement initiatives and implementation of best practice models to provide the best possible care for his patients," his nomination letter stated. "His passion for the field and his care for patients is remarkable given the many funding, regulatory and staffing challenges facing the field of psychiatry and community mental health services. While he would shun such accolades, his warmth, caring, excellent skills and tireless efforts have indeed impacted Blair County in a positive way."

    (NOTE: THERE WILL BE AN INTERVIEW/PHOTO/VIDEO OPPORTUNITY FRIDAY, NOV. 17 AT 2 P.M. IN THE ROTUNDA, OUTPATIENT CENTER 6. PLEASE RSVP BY CALLING 889-2622.)







    November 13, 2006 - FORMER NURSING STUDENTS RETURN, REMINISCE

    Twenty former Altoona Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1967 graduates recently celebrated their 60th birthdays together and remembered their nursing school days.

    Seven classmates traveled in from out of town. Three came from Ohio: Kay (Aughenbaugh) George of Columbus, Tomasena (Bowser) Ross of Wadsworth and Judy (Brungard) Hammond of Batavia. The four others came from around Pennsylvania: Antoinette (Sottile) Huber of Havertown, Sandy (Hagerich) Lint of Johnstown, Marilyn (Forsyth) Christian of DuBois and Paula (Dawson) Anderson of Landenburg.

    The out-of-town alumni enjoyed a presentation and tour of the Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Hospital Campus. The building that housed their old dormitory facilities still stands but has been converted to other uses. Remnants of their former lives remain, however, such as an auditorium and an old telephone booth where they would communicate with the outside world.

    They also visited via modern-day phone with their former class adviser Fran Scherrer, who still resides in the area.


    Photo left: Seven members of the Altoona Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1967 tour the School of Nursing wing of the Altoona Hospital Campus. They are: (kneeling, left to right) Antoinette (Sottile) Huber and Paula (Dawson) Anderson, (back row, from left) Marilyn (Forsyth) Christian, Sandy (Hagerich) Lint, Judy (Brungard) Hammond, Tomasena (Bowser) Ross and Kay (Aughenbaugh) George.






    November 9, 2006 - MATTHEW T. SABOL, D.P.M., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Matthew T. Sabol, D.P.M., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System medical staff in the department of Orthopedics/Podiatry.

    He is affiliated with Advanced Regional Center for Ankle & Foot Care, with offices at 711 Logan Blvd., Altoona; 220 Regent Court, Suite F, State College, and 927 W. High St., Ebensburg.

    Dr. Sabol is board eligible with the American Board of Podiatric Surgery.

    He graduated from Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, Cleveland, and did his residency training at University Hospital-Richmond Heights, Ohio.






    November 9, 2006 - RYAN R. RIDENOUR, D.O., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Ryan R. Ridenour, D.O., has joined the Altoona Regional medical staff in the department of Family Medicine.

    Dr. Ridenour is affiliated with Blair Medical Associates, 1414 9th Avenue, Altoona, and Lexington Hospitalists, Inc., Altoona Regional Health System, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona.

    He is board certified with the American Osteopathic Board of Family Practice.

    He received his internship and residency training at Altoona Family Physicians, 501 Howard Ave., Suite F2, Altoona, and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.






    November 9, 2006 - EMMANUEL A. OSAGIEDE, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Emmanuel A. Osagiede has joined the Altoona Regional Health System medical staff in the department of Radiology.

    He is board certified with the American Board of Radiology.

    Dr. Osagiede graduated from the University of Ibadan, College of Medicine and Dentistry, and did an internship at Specialist Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria. He did his residency training at Cook County Hospital in Illinois in diagnostic radiology, and at Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C., in general surgery. He also received fellowship training in neuroradiology at Indiana University Medical School.






    November 9, 2006 - ROBERTO GONZALEZ, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Roberto Gonzalez, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional medical staff in the department/clinical service of Specialized Surgery/Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.

    Dr. Gonzalez is an associate with Blair Plastic Surgery, 3107 Fairway Drive, Altoona.

    He received his fellowship training in plastic surgery at the University of Louisville, Ky., and completed his residency in general surgery at West Virginia University, W.V. He graduated from Ignacio S. Santos, I.T.E.S.M. medical school in Mexico. He is board eligible with the American Board of Plastic Surgery.






    November 9, 2006 - JOHN A. BAKER, D.O., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    John A. Baker, D.O., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System medical staff in the department of Emergency Medicine.

    Dr. Baker is affiliated with the Department of Emergency Medicine, Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave., Altoona, Pa.

    He is board eligible with the American Osteopathic Board of Family Practice.

    He received his internship and residency training at Altoona Family Physicians, 501 Howard Ave., Suite F-2, and graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lewisburg, WV.






    November 9, 2006 - THE AIDS MEMORIAL QUILT VISITS ALTOONA NOV. 17-DEC. 1

    The AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display Nov. 17-Dec. 1 in the atrium of the Outpatient Center of Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona. The display is sponsored by Altoona Regional, Home Nursing Agency, and Penn State Altoona.

    The quilt will be on display to the public between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. seven days a week. On Wednesday, Nov. 29, an educational program about the quilt will be held at Penn State Altoona at 6:30 p.m. in the Slep TV Lounge. Participants will then travel by AMTRAN bus to the hospital to view the quilt. This will be followed by a brief discussion in the Cambria Room of the Outpatient Center.

    The quilt display is just one of many events taking place in the two weeks leading up to World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. A public silent auction to benefit the Home Nursing Agency AIDS Intervention Project will be held the evening of Dec. 1 at Penn State Altoona. The auction follows a catered, fund-raising dinner for which tickets are now on sale. The tickets cost $25 for adults, $10 for students, and are available through the Student Affairs Office in the Slep Student Center at Penn State Altoona. For more information, call Penn State Altoona at 949-5053.

    The AIDS Memorial Quilt began in 1987 as a way to create a memorial for people who had died of AIDS and in doing so help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. The first display of 40 panels was shown in June 1987. Just four months later, 1,920 panels were exhibited in its first national display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Half a million people visited the quilt that weekend.

    The quilt has continued to grow and to visually illustrate the numbers lost to the AIDS epidemic. It's a tool to bring names to statistics, to humanize the devastation and threat of AIDS and unify a generation in the struggle against this disease, according to the NAMES Project Foundation, which organizes quilt displays and preserves the quilt. Today, the quilt has approximately 46,000 panels and weighs more than 54 tons. There are more than 83,440 names on the quilt, which represent approximately 17.5 percent of all U.S. AIDS-related deaths.






    November 3, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SETS DECEMBER PROGRAMS

    A Child Safety Seat Installation Checkup Station will be held Friday, Dec. 8, in the Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level. The inspections take place from 9:30-11 a.m. You must make an appointment. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889-7802.

    Drivers age 55 and older are invited to participate in the AARP Driver Safety Program, a classroom refresher course that covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

    The class is offered Tuesday, Dec. 12, and Wednesday, Dec. 13, 6-10 p.m. in the Logan Room, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. The fee is $10. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Cooking for the holidays? Then join dietitian Randy Grabill in a fun and informative presentation of healthy holiday foods and cooking ideas Wednesday, Dec. 13. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Rotunda, sixth floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. You can host that holiday party or family get-together by choosing healthy yet tasty recipes rather than resorting to the traditional high-calorie, guilt-laden standards. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    The word "enliven" means to add life. That is exactly what the presentation "Seeing Yourself Through New Eyes: An Enlivened Approach to Life and Loving Yourself" will help you do. Join Pamela Wales, B.S.N., R.N., C.H.H.P. Friday, Dec. 15, as she prepares you to start the new year with a new perspective and way of thinking. Lunch is served at 11 a.m., followed by the speaker from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, 2621 8th Ave. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Certified Safe Sitter instructors will prepare adolescents ages 11 to 13 to baby-sit infants and young children in a safe, responsible and competent manner through a Safe Sitter Class scheduled 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 28. The class will be held in the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, 2621 8th Ave. The $20 fee includes materials, snacks and lunch. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Class size is limited.

    Participants will learn basic child-care skills; how to keep a house secure; how to take precautions to prevent accidents; basic first-aid skills; how to recognize common signs of illness, and possible interventions; how to treat or reduce discomfort, and how to rescue a choking child or infant.






    November 3, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL EMPLOYEE COMPLETES ASHE PROGRAM

    Jim DeStefano, director of Construction and Design Services at Altoona Regional Health System, recently completed the 2006 Healthcare Construction Certificate Program. The American Society of Healthcare Engineers (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association sponsored the program.

    The online course consisted of seven exam modules. A two-day certificate program followed in Pittsburgh. Attendees gained firsthand knowledge of the needs of the construction process, appropriate practices, safeguards to reduce liability, ways to improve the relationship between construction and business personnel, and how to work with quality control, risk management, and the latest compliance issues.






    October 19, 2006 - SAFE KIDS BLAIR COUNTY PROVIDES HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

    Pedestrian Safety Rules Essential on Most Dangerous Night of the Year


    Safe Kids Blair County reminds parents this Halloween that Trick-or-Treat Night is the most dangerous day of the year for child pedestrians. In fact, children are four times more likely to be killed while walking on Halloween than any other night of the year. It is essential for parents to prepare their children properly to stay safe while having fun.

    To keep kids safe, parents must remind them about the rules of the road and ensure that they will be seen by drivers this Halloween.

    "Parents need to remind kids about safety while walking before they go out trick-or-treating," says Sherry Turchetta, R.N., C.C.E., coordinator of Safe Kids Blair County. "Children should also bring flashlights or glow sticks with them, carry reflective bags or have reflective tape on their costumes and not wear masks that may inhibit their ability to see hazards. Ensuring kids are seen this Halloween is essential to keeping this holiday fun for everyone."

    Safe Kids recommends that children under age 12 do not trick-or-treat without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to go trick-or-treating without supervision, make sure they stick to a predetermined route with good lighting. Parents must also remind kids to:
  • Cross streets safely. Cross at a corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Don't assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you. Look left, right and left again when crossing, and keep looking as you cross. Walk, don't run across the street.
  • Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  • Be a safe pedestrian around cars. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  • And, finally, adults should carefully inspect all candy brought home by their children before it is eaten.






  • October 11, 2006 - TAMARA L. HOFFMAN, D.O., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Tamara L. Hoffman, D.O., has joined the Altoona Regional medical staff in the department of Family Medicine.

    Dr. Hoffman is affiliated with Lexington Hospitalists Inc., Altoona Regional Health System, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona.

    She is board eligible with the American Osteopathic Board of Family Medicine.

    Dr. Hoffman received her residency training at Altoona Family Physicians and graduated from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie.






    October 10, 2006 - PATRICK K. LENZ, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Patrick K. Lenz, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional medical staff in the department of Family Medicine.

    Dr. Lenz is affiliated with Mainline Medical Associates, 792 Gallitzin Road, Cresson.

    He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.

    He did his residency training at Hamot Medical Center, Erie, and graduated from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.






    October 10, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SETS NOVEMBER PROGRAMS

    A Child Safety Seat Installation Checkup Station will be held Friday, Nov. 10, in the Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level. The inspections take place from 9:30-11 a.m. You must make an appointment. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889-7802.

    A free osteoporosis screening for women only will be held Friday, Nov. 17, 12:30 to 3 p.m., in the Allegheny Room, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. You must call for an appointment. For more information, call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Drivers age 55 and older are invited to participate in the AARP Driver Safety Program, a classroom refresher course that covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

    The class is offered Tuesday, Nov. 14, and Wednesday, Nov. 15, 6-10 p.m., in the Logan Room, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. The fee is $10. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1.888-313-4665.

    Join Dr. Chad Rappaport, foot and ankle specialist with Blair Orthopedic Associates, for "My Ankles Are Killing Me," Friday, Nov. 17. Dr. Rappaport will discuss everything you wanted to know about ankle pain, including causes, diagnosis, prevention and surgical and nonsurgical treatment. Lunch begins at 11 a.m. followed by the program until 1 p.m. in the Education Center on the Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2621 8th Ave. There's no fee, and registration is required. Please call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Yoga will be offered from 5:30 to 6:40 p.m. for three weeks on Tuesdays, Nov. 28 through Dec. 12. The fee is $15. Classes are held in the Rotunda, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus.

    "Is Diabetes in Your Future?" Find out Wednesday, Nov. 15, when Dr. Michael Humphrey, D.O., of Blair Medical Associates focuses attention on prediabetes markers, early physical symptoms and where to turn if it happens to you. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Rotunda, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. No fee. Register by calling 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Class size is limited. Healthy refreshments will be served.






    October 6, 2006 - NORMAN M. NECHES, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Norman M. Neches, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional medical staff in the department of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

    Dr. Neches is affiliated with Blair Medical Associates, 1414 9th Ave., Altoona.

    He is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

    He received his residency training at Maimonides Medical Center, N.Y., where he also did his internship. He received his medical degree from SUNY-Downstate Medical Center, N.Y.






    October 5, 2006 - CHRISTOPHER B. PARONISH, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Christopher B. Paronish, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional medical staff in the department of Family Medicine.

    Dr. Paronish is affiliated with Patton Family Medical center, 142 E. Carroll St., Carrolltown.

    He is board certified with the American Board of Family Medicine.

    Dr. Paronish received his residency training at Latrobe Area Hospital and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.






    October 5, 2006 - MADHAVI SINGH, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Madhavi Singh, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System medical staff in the department of Family Medicine.

    Dr. Singh is affiliated with Blair Medical Associates, 1414 9th Ave., Altoona, and Lexington Hospitalists Inc., Altoona Regional Health System, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona.

    She is board eligible with the American Board of Family Medicine.

    Dr. Singh received her medical degree and performed her internship training at Gajra Raja Medical College, India. She did a residency with Kamla Raja Hospital, India, and Altoona Family Physicians, 501 Howard Ave., Altoona.






    October 4, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL DEMONSTRATES ASSISTANCE FOR PATIENTS WHO ARE DEAF

    Altoona Regional Health System's Case Management department will hold an open house to demonstrate Deaf Talk, a device which helps patients who are deaf or hearing-impaired interact with medical personnel.

    The open house will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, in the Cambria Room. Deaf Talk is video conferencing equipment that enables sign language translation between a hearing person and a deaf or hearing-impaired person in real time. It is available at the Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., and the Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave., Altoona.

    For more information on Deaf Talk, call the Case Management department at 889-2256.






    October 3, 2006 - Safe Kids Blair County Participates in Fire Prevention Week October 8 - 14

    ALTOONA - Safe Kids Blair County is once again providing a quantity of free 9 volt batteries to fire departments in Blair County. The batteries are for use in smoke detectors in homes with children.

    Tips for protecting your family
    A small fire can grow into a deadly one within minutes. To help prevent a tragedy, closely inspect your home to eliminate potential hazards. Prepare your home for an emergency, and teach your family about the dangers of fire and how to escape. If a child is coached properly ahead of time, he or she will have a better chance of surviving. Also, test/check your smoke detector each month, and replace the battery each year.

    Eliminate potential hazards:
  • Keep matches, lighters and other heat sources out of children's reach. Playing with matches and lighters is the leading cause of fire deaths for children ages 5 and under.
  • Keep flammable items such as clothing, furniture, newspapers or magazines away from the fireplace, heater or radiator.
  • Keep all portable heaters out of children's reach.
  • Avoid plugging several appliance cords into the same electrical socket.
  • Replace old or frayed electrical wires and appliance cords, and keep them on top of, not beneath, rugs.
  • Store all flammable liquids such as gasoline outside the home.
  • Safe Kids Blair County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Blair County was founded in 1991 and is proud to have Altoona Regional Health System as its lead agency.






    October 3, 2006 - QUIT SMOKING CLASSES TO BEGIN OCT. 19

    A Freedom from Smoking Class will be offered Wednesday, Oct. 19, and continue for eight weeks at the Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2621 8th Ave., Altoona.

    Each one-hour class begins at 4 p.m. The series is sponsored by Altoona Regional Health System, Blair County Reacts with Efforts Against Tobacco Hype & Its Effects (BREATHE) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The first class meets in the Kaufman Dining Room.

    Participants will learn about nicotine withdrawal, their smoking triggers and techniques for quitting and relaxation. Jack Jubala, Ph.D., is the instructor.

    To register, contact Lori Schultz at 889-7799 or e-mail at lschultz@altoonaregional.org.






    October 2, 2006 - HEALING SERVICE TO BE HELD OCT. 29

    A nondenominational healing service will be held at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, in the Infant of Prague Chapel in the Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2621 8th Ave.

    The intent of the service is to bring spiritual comfort to those experiencing illness or walking through valleys of challenge. It is the first of this type of service ever held at the hospital. All persons are invited. It includes the Laying on of Hands and Anointing with Oil and Holy Communion.

    For more information, call the Pastoral Care department at 889-2132 or 889-4323.






    September 29, 2006 - HEALING MASS TO BE CELEBRATED OCT. 8

    A healing Mass will be celebrated at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, in the Infant of Prague Chapel in the Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2621 8th Ave.

    The intent of the Mass is to bring spiritual comfort to those experiencing illness or walking through valleys of challenge. The Mass also includes the Laying on of Hands and Anointing with Oil.

    For more information, call the Pastoral Care department at 889-2132 or 889-4323.






    September 28, 2006 - JILL S. BLESCIA, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

    Jill S. Blescia, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System medical staff in the department of Pediatrics & Newborn.

    Dr. Blescia is affiliated with Blair Medical Associates-Pediatrics, Station Medical Center, 1413 Ninth Ave., Altoona.

    She is board eligible with the American Board of Pediatrics.

    Dr. Blescia graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and received her residency training at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.






    September 28, 2006 - FRIENDS OF ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS

    Mercedes Stoneberg of Brockway, Pa., and Kimberly Baur of Bel Air, Md., students of the Altoona Regional Health System School of Medical Technology, have received scholarship awards.

    The scholarships, $500 each, are given annually by Friends of Altoona Regional Health System.

    Photo left: Cindy Skupien (front, left) of the Scholarship Committee of Friends of Altoona Regional Health System recently presented scholarships to Mercedes Stoneberg (front, right) and Kim Baur (rear, left) who are students at the Altoona Regional School of Medical Technology, represented by Joseph Noel, program director.

    Ms. Stoneberg is the daughter of Carolyn Stoneberg of Brockway. She graduated in May from Penn State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and a minor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She was a member of the Schreyer Honor's College and graduated second in her class. Ms. Stoneberg worked in the research lab where she developed a special interest in pathology. After working in the medical technology field for a few years, she may go to medical school for pathology.

    Ms. Baur is the daughter of Robert and Lauren Baur of Bel Air, Md. She is a senior at St. Francis University, Loretto, where she is majoring in medical technology. Her extracurricular activities include the women's lacrosse team, where she served as team captain, Student Athlete Mentors, and Rural Outreach Chemistry for Kids. Ms. Baur's interest in medical technology developed during childhood visits to her grandmother's lab where she worked as a medical technologist. Ms. Baur plans to attend graduate school while working as a medical technologist.






    September 26, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL DIRECTOR'S EXPERIENCE WITH ACUTE TRAUMATIC STRESS MODEL PUBLISHED

    An article written by the Rev. Terryann Talbot-Moses, director of Altoona Regional Health System's Pastoral Care department, was published in the spring/summer 2006 issue of Trauma Response, a national publication of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. Her article chronicles the traumatic stress of a terminally ill patient.

    The article demonstrates how Pastor Talbot-Moses used the 10-step Acute Traumatic Stress Model, as explained in the book Comprehensive Acute Traumatic Stress Management by Mark D. Lerner, Ph. D., and Raymond D. Shelton, Ph.D., to guide a woman through a spiritual crisis at the end of her life.

    If you'd like to read the article, please contact Pastor Talbot-Moses in the Pastoral Care department at 889-2132 or 889-4326. For more information on the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, visit the Web sites www.traumatic-stress.org or www.aaets.org.






    September 25, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL RADIOLOGY EARNS AMERICAN COLLEGE OF RADIOLOGY ACCREDITATION

    The Radiology Department of Altoona Hospital Campus has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation as a result of a recent survey by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

    The ACR awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high practice standards after a peer-review evaluation conducted by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field.

    They assess the qualifications of the personnel and the adequacy of facility equipment. The surveyors report their finding to the ACR's Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides a comprehensive report.

    "All of the staff has helped, and has been working very hard to provide excellent care and high quality MRI services to our patients," MRI supervisor Sherry Piper said. "I thank all for their help in accomplishing this every day, not just for this accreditation."

    The ACR is a national organization serving more than 32,000 diagnostic-interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists and nuclear medicine and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging, radiation oncology and delivery of comprehensive health care services.






    September 20, 2006 - U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION ISSUES WARNING ABOUT HEAVY FURNITURE, TVS KILLING YOUNG CHILDREN

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning about the dangers of televisions and heavy furniture tipping over and killing young children. The number of TV tip-over deaths reported to the CPSC during the first seven months of 2006 is twice the typical yearly average. There have already been 10 deaths this year associated with televisions tipping over onto young children.

    In addition, there are at least 3,000 injuries involving children and TV tip-overs each year. The CPSC believes these deaths and injuries occur when children climb onto, fall against or pull themselves up on television stands, shelves bookcases, dressers, desks and chests.

    CPSC offers the following safety tips to prevent furniture or TV tip-overs:
  • Verify that furniture is stable on its own. For added security, attach to the wall or anchor to the floor all entertainment units, TV stands, bookcases, shelving and bureaus using appropriate hardware, such as brackets, screws or toggles.
  • Place the TV on sturdy furniture appropriate for the size of the TV or on a low-rise base.
  • Push the TV as far back as possible on its stand.
  • Remove items that might tempt kids to climb, such as toys and remote control, from on top of the TV and on furniture.







  • September 20, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PROVIDES HUNTING SAFETY TIPS

    Proper preparation for the upcoming hunting season begins now by addressing risk factors for common hunting related injuries.

    "The fact is that the bulk of hunting-related injuries have nothing to do with guns," says R. Scott Magley, M.D., chairman of Emergency Medicine and a hunter himself. "A little preparation and common sense can help ensure a safe, rewarding hunt."

    While firearm safety is stressed, most hunters have never had instruction on how to use a tree stand safely. "We see an awful lot of tree-stand accidents," Dr. Magley said. "Nationwide, about 10 hunters every year are killed in falls from tree stands, while many others suffer injuries ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to permanent injury, even paralysis."

    Other common injuries relate to being out of shape -- the most under-reported hunting accidents -- and range from back and joint problems to heart attacks, often while dragging deer out of the woods.

    "Even a few days of exercise, and warming up and stretching just before going into the woods, can help prevent these injuries," Dr. Magley said.

    Start with a visit to your doctor to talk about the physical stress of hunting. Dr. Magley suggests brisk walking for 30 minutes a day, four or five days a week.

    "Ideally, conditioning should begin six to eight weeks before the start of hunting season," he added. "But don't skip exercise just because it's later."

    Generally, firearm safety is the most stressed and reinforced instruction hunters receive. But even as Pennsylvania's shooting accidents continue to decline -- a record low 47 hunting-related shootings in 2005 -- firearms remain deadly.

    Of course, plenty of warm, waterproof fluorescent-orange clothing, especially on the head, is essential.

    "An orange hat has to be one of the most important articles for protection," Dr. Magley noted. "Our head is our highest point and we're constantly moving it around. It's that motion that attracts other hunters."

    Warm boots with good tread are also imperative.

    "Good tread is needed to avoid falls," Dr. Magley said. "Falls lead to accidental discharge of weapons, and that is another common safety risk."

    Finally, tell someone where you'll be hunting and when you expect to return. And, always carry a cell phone or pager with you, he advised.

    Here are some additional tips for safer hunting:
  • When using tree stands, read and follow manufacturer's guidelines.
  • Wear a fall-restraint device (a full-body harness is best).
  • Avoid permanent tree stands, which can weaken with age, and inspect your stand and climbing equipment before each use.
  • Limit or stop smoking, avoid alcohol and eating heavy meals just before hunting.
  • Stop and get medical attention at the first sign of dizziness, chest pains or palpitations. And take breaks, especially during long treks over hilly terrain or when dragging a deer.
  • Handle all firearms as if they are loaded.
  • Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Unload and place your firearm on the ground before crossing a fence, log or other obstacle.






    September 14, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SETS OCTOBER PROGRAMS

    A Child Safety Seat Installation Checkup Station will be held Friday, Oct. 13, in the Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level. The inspections take place between 9:30-11 a.m. You must make an appointment. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889-7802.

    A free osteoporosis screening for men and women will be held Friday, Oct. 6, 12:30 to 3 p.m., in the Kaufman Dining Room, Bon Secours Hospital Campus. You must call for an appointment. For more information, call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Join Christopher McClellan, D.O., of University Orthopedics for "What's Hip in Hip Pain," as he discusses the causes and treatment of chronic hip pain, including the latest in arthritis relief and hip replacement surgery. Learn your options for helping to relieve pain and remain active and independent on Friday, Oct. 20, with lunch at 11 a.m. followed by the program until 1 p.m. It takes place at Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Suite, 2621 8th Ave. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1.888-313-4665.

    Drivers age 55 and older are invited to participate in the AARP Driver Safety Program, a classroom refresher course that covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

    The class is offered Tuesday, Oct.10, and Wednesday, Oct. 11, 6-10 p.m., in the Logan Room, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. The fee is $10. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1.888-313-4665.

    Yoga will be offered at both the beginner and intermediate skill levels for six weeks on Tuesdays, Oct. 10 through Nov. 14. Beginners will take place from 5:30-6:40 p.m. and intermediate from 6:50-8 p.m.

    The fee is $30. Classes are held in the Rotunda, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus.

    Register now, as class is limited to 25. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Gail Murphy, instructor in Hatha Yoga, leads this program, which offers mind/body exercise, breath control, stretching and strengthening to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

    Join Jack Rocco, M.D., of University Orthopedics, who will discuss the causes, diagnosis and treatment options for back and hip pain in his talk, "Back Pain: Where Do You Get Relief?" The program begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4. Included in the discussion will be arthritis, sciatica and other back ailments.

    The program will be held in the Rotunda, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. There is no fee. Registration is required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Refreshments will be served.






    September 14, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL EARNS JCAHO CERTIFICATION AS STROKE CENTER

    Contact: Ron McConnell, 889-2271

    Altoona Regional Health System has earned certification as a regional stroke center by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

    The Regional Stroke Center demonstrated that its stroke care program follows national standards and guidelines that can significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients. The center's mission is to increase awareness of stroke prevention, warning signs and the value of early treatment within the 24-county region served by the center.

    "This certification is the right thing to do for our region. It is urgently needed as it is the only certified stroke center between Pittsburgh and Lancaster," Jim Barner, President and CEO said. "It culminates months and months of joint effort and work by our medical, nursing and operational staff. They are to be congratulated for a fine job."

    Each year about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke, which is the nation's third leading cause of death. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and someone dies of a stroke every 3.1 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with about 4.7 million stroke survivors alive today.

    Blair and Bedford counties are above the state average for deaths due to stroke. These higher-than-average rates are likely due to a high elderly population with heart disease and diabetes, a population with a high incidence of high blood pressure (hypertension) and obesity, and a small, but growing African-American population.

    "Rapid emergent care upon arrival at a certified stroke center such as Altoona Regional's will improve outcomes for patients," said R. Scott Magley, M.D., senior vice president, Emergency Medicine.

    The four aspects of Altoona Regional's Stroke Center are:
  • Aggressive diagnosis and treatment
  • Early rehabilitation therapy
  • Community education on recognizing a stroke
  • Community education on preventing strokes
  • At the Stroke Center, a special team has been established to respond swiftly to patients both in the Emergency Department and elsewhere in the hospital who have stroke symptoms less than six hours old. The team is set into action via a "code gray" pager system and members rush to the patient's bedside. Team members include (in the ED): a nurse, physician, neurologist, lab technician, X-ray technician, a supervisor, respiratory therapist, and a pastoral care chaplain.

    "The goal is a rapid, organized approach for evaluation and management of the stroke patient," Dr. Magley said.

    Quality of care increases at a certified stroke center because of the program's team approach to treatment. The team follows rigid national standards and guidelines defined by the American Stroke Association and the Joint Commission.

    Under those guidelines, team members must attain certain educational levels. For example, stroke registered nurses must have three days of neurology study in their Critical Care course. Eighty percent of the nurses who provide care to stroke patients at Altoona Regional are certified to perform the National Institutes of Health stroke scale. The stroke scale helps evaluate the deficits from a stroke.

    The Stroke Center is part of the neuroscience services offered at Altoona Regional, which includes many different medical and surgical specialties. Mark Lipitz, D.O., is medical director of neurology and of the Regional Stroke Center; James Burke, M.D., Ph.D., is chief of Neurosurgery, and Christi Wimer, R.N., B.S.N., C.N.R.N, is stroke services coordinator.

    Along with aggressive diagnosis and treatment, and early rehabilitation therapy, an important aspect of the Regional Stroke Center concept is education of the public on the signs of a stroke. Recognizing the signs early and getting treatment is key to minimizing the damage caused by a stroke.

    "Certain medications can be given, depending upon what type of stroke it is, and procedures are in place that help us immediately identify what is taking place in the patient's brain, which is literally under attack," Wimer said. "The sooner patients get to the hospital the better. They should always come as soon as symptoms appear."

    The fourth aspect of the stroke program is outreach and community education regarding prevention, to reduce the incidence of stroke by helping people recognize and modify their risk factors. This is accomplished through community presentations, community health fairs, and education of health professionals at other hospital facilities.






    September 9, 2006 - OVERCOMING OBSTACLES, REALIZING ONE'S POTENTIAL THEME OF HANDS OF HOPE EVENT OCT. 5

    People in recovery from mental illness, substance abuse, or both, their families and friends are invited to attend a program that focuses on the ability of all individuals working together to find success and contentment in spite of obstacles on Thursday, Oct. 5, at The Ramada Inn, Altoona.

    "Building Community: Taking Action" is this year's theme of the annual Hands of Hope event sponsored by Altoona Regional Health System, Blair County MH/MR/D&A Program, Home Nursing Agency, NAMI of Blair County and Penn State Altoona Health and Wellness Center.

    Doors open at 6 p.m. The event features various vendors with free informational handouts. The formal program starts at 7 p.m. Opening remarks will be given by Elizabeth Bollinger, M.D., staff psychiatrist at Altoona Regional Health System.

    The main presentation is a multimedia event featuring the stories of three people who have experienced and overcome obstacles related to mental illness, substance abuse or both. "In Your Own Voice" will be presented by Glenn Koons of the Chester County NAMI chapter; Cindy Boore, a consumer from Altoona Regional Health System, and John Gowhen, a consumer from Home Nursing Agency.

    The evening concludes with a remembrance and recognition service by Pastor Fred Romig.

    No registration is required. Admission is free. Refreshments will be provided. For more information, please call 889-2706.






    September 6, 2006 - ADAM J. BLESCIA, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF



    Adam J. Blescia, M.D., has joined Altoona Regional Health System's medical staff in the department of Emergency Medicine. He is board eligible in Emergency Medicine. He received his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, and completed his residency training at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, Pa.






    September 5, 2006 - KRISTEN M. GRINE, D.O., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF



    Kristen M. Grine, D.O., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System medical staff in the department of Family Medicine. Dr. Grine is affiliated with Altoona Family Physicians, Altoona Regional Health System, 501 Howard Ave., Suite F2, Altoona, Pa. She is board certified with the American Osteopathic Board of Family Medicine and the American Board of Family Medicine. She received her residency training at Altoona Family Physicians and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.






    September 5, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL LABORATORY SERVICES RECEIVE ACCREDITATION FROM CAP

    Altoona Regional Health System Laboratory Services on the Bon Secours Hospital Campus has been awarded accreditation by the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), based on the results of a recent on-site inspection.

    The accreditation program is recognized by the federal government as being equal to or more stringent than the government's own inspection program.

    During the CAP accreditation process, inspectors examine the laboratory's records and quality control of procedures for the preceding two years. CAP inspectors also examine the entire staff's qualifications, the laboratory's equipment, facilities, safety program and record, as well as the overall management of the laboratory. This stringent inspection is designed to specifically ensure the highest standard of care for the laboratory's patients.






    August 15, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ANNOUNCES HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS FOR SEPTEMBER

    Osteoporosis screening: Free heel scans

    By appointment only on Friday, Sept. 1, 12:30-3 p.m.
    Allegheny Room, OP6
    Altoona Hospital Campus
    For women only.
    No fee. To schedule your appointment, please call 889-2630 or toll-free 1-888-313-4665.
    Find out if you are at risk for osteoporosis. This bone mineral density screening is a noninvasive, painless tool that can help determine bone health and your risk for fractures.

    Sign Language Classes for Beginners

    Pastor Robert Smith of the Pastoral Care department of Altoona Regional will be the instructor for this 12-week sign language course, which begins Sept. 5 and continues each Tuesday through Nov. 21. The fee is $25 and class size is limited to 30. Registration is required. There will be assignments with the lessons, and a certificate will be given upon completion of the course. A three-ring binder will be needed. Snacks will be provided. The 90-minute class begins at 7 p.m. at the , Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, 2621 8th Ave. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665 to register.

    Child safety seat installation checkup station

    Friday, Sept. 8, 9:30-11 a.m.
    Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level.
    Look for the Safe Kids Van.
    Find out if your child's safety seat is installed properly. Your child's life may depend on it.
    By appointment only. Call 889-7802.

    AARP driver safety program

    Drivers age 55 and older are invited to attend a classroom refresher course offered by AARP and Altoona Regional's Healthy Living Club 6-10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 12 and 13.

    The course covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most insurance companies require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

    The classes will be held in the Logan Room on the sixth floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave. The fee is $10. Registration is required. To register, call 889-2630 or toll-free 1-888-313-4665.

    BMI: What is It? What Do the Numbers Mean?

    Join registered dietitian Connie Plowman in a discussion about body mass index (BMI) and its relationship to health on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, 2721 8th Ave. Since the Pennsylvania Department of Health has mandated that children in local school districts have their body mass index recorded, shouldn't we all be educated in interpreting the results? There will also be a discussion on healthy and fun recipes and snack tips. No fee. Register by calling 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Class size is limited. Healthy refreshments will be served.






    August 10, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL RECEIVES DONATION FROM CAMBRIAN HILLS LADIES GOLF LEAGUE


    Altoona Regional Health System's Pediatric Unit received a donation of numerous stuffed animals thanks to the generosity of the Cambrian Hills Ladies Golf League in Hastings. As part of their annual invitational, each woman purchased and donated a stuffed animal and brought it to the tournament. They decided to donate them to the Pediatrics Unit because they thought the young patients would enjoy having something to hug during their recoveries. Presenting the stuffed animals is Altoona Regional nurse and tournament participant Jane Getsy (standing) to Amy Kowalski (left) and Rachel Allison, registered nurses in the Pediatrics unit. Jane participated in the tournament and was asked to deliver the animals for the League.






    August 4, 2006 - PIED A TERRE, HEART SURGEON'S NEW PLAY, OFFERS A CHANCE TO HEAL IN AN UNLIKELY SETTING

    Branded with the tantalizing and intriguing tag line, "There's nothing more seductive than the truth…not your usual love triangle" Pied a Terre, the latest play by Dr. John S. Anastasi, offers a story of healing for three people in a setting usually reserved for other pursuits.

    In Anastasi's Pied a Terre, which means "a second home," a wealthy and successful but very wounded woman stumbles into the life of a young, beautiful but troubled prostitute. Now in the same Manhattan penthouse apartment with seemingly nothing in common, these two women, each carrying a tremendous burden, are hurled into an emotional roller coaster with many twists and turns as their individual stories develop.

    The Pied a Terre is turned upside-down as the drama unfolds, creating an opportunity for growth and change in both women's lives if they are willing to accept and allow that chance for healing. Can they overcome what appear to be insurmountable obstacles? Will they allow themselves to make the ultimate sacrifice toward happiness?

    Pied a Terre will be presented Aug. 22, 23 and 24 at 7 p.m., Aug. 25 at 8 p.m., Aug. 26 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. in the Paul R. and Margery Wolf Kuhn Theatre of the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts at Penn State Altoona. In addition to his role as heart surgeon and chairman of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Altoona Regional, Dr. Anastasi's credits as a playwright and producer continue to accumulate as he's mounted professional stagings of his plays "In My Father's Eyes" and "Stolen Lives" locally and in New York City through his production company M.L.C. Productions. Written by Dr. Anastasi in 2004, Pied aTerre is directed by Bradlee Bing and features an all-equity cast (professional theatre performers from the Actors' Equity Association).

    Tickets for Pied a Terre, $10 for students and $15 for regular admission, are available at the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts Box Office at Penn State Altoona Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and before and during all performances. Telephone reservations may be made by calling the box office at 949-5452. The Paul R. and Margery Wolf Kuhn Theatre is handicapped accessible and open to the public.






    July 31, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL SURGERY CENTER EARNS DEFICIENCY-FREE INSPECTION FROM DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

    For the third consecutive year, Altoona Regional Health System's Surgery Center earned a deficiency-free inspection from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

    The inspection is part of the surgery center's license renewal process and determines whether the center is following rules and regulations and life-safety requirements set forth by the Department of Health, according to Chris Rickens, administrative director of Surgical Services. The on-site visit includes a review of patient charts, policies and safety procedures.

    The license renewal is for one year.






    July 25, 2006 - PET/CT AVAILABLE AT ALTOONA REGIONAL NEW SYSTEM OPTIMIZED FOR ONCOLOGY IMAGING AND A FASTER WAY TO 'SEE AND TREAT'

    ALTOONA, Pa. - Altoona Regional now offers the cutting edge technology of PET/CT.

    PET/CT is an imaging procedure that provides physicians with information about the body's chemistry, cell function and exact location of disease. The precise images obtained with PET are not available with other technologies, such as CT, MRI or X-ray alone. The difference lies in the ability of PET to study body function rather than giving radiological images of anatomy or body structure.

    The combination of the metabolic information from PET and the anatomic information from CT places PET/CT at the forefront of cutting edge technology allowing physicians to more accurately stage and treat patient disease processes.

    For oncology patients, PET/CT is used to determine the exact location and stage of cancerous tissue and can prevent unnecessary surgery and biopsies and inappropriate treatments.

    "PET/CT will have a major impact on our clinical evaluations of cancer patients, and in many cases will enable our physicians to begin treatment earlier and increase the odds for successful patient outcomes," said Dr. E.R. Karunaratne, medical director of Imaging Services (Radiology).

    The new PET/CT system will shorten scan times as well as provide improved image quality.

    "Less time on the table means faster results and greater patient comfort," said Michael Corso, administrative director of Imaging Services. "With the new PET/CT system, we will see better image quality and greater confidence in image interpretation."

    "The new PET/CT system is another example of Altoona Regional's commitment to innovation and technology for early disease detection, supporting physicians in improved diagnosis and treatment," said James W. Barner, president and CEO.






    July 17, 2006 - Altoona Regional magazine earns national recognition

    Altoona Regional Health System's Healthy Living Magazine has won national recognition in the 23rd Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards, sponsored by Healthcare Marketing Report.

    Photo: (sitting) Anne Stoltz and Patt Frank; (standing) Chip Mock, Dave Cuzzolina, Ron McConnell and Jay Knarr

    Healthcare Marketing Report, the national newspaper of health care marketing, gave the magazine an award of merit for newsletters produced by systems with more than $100 million in revenue. Other award-winners in the same category were Temple University Health System and University of Pennsylvania Health System, both in Philadelphia, and Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, Texas.

    Healthy Living Magazine is produced by the system's Marketing and Communications Department staff, including Ron McConnell, senior vice president for Corporate Development; Dave Cuzzolina, department director; Patt Frank and Jay Knarr, marketing and communications specialists, and Anne Stoltz, Web site coordinator and writing assistant.

    The magazine is designed by Chip Mock, senior art director at Barash Advertising in State College.

    More than 3,800 entries competed in the Healthcare Advertising Awards.






    June 27, 2006 - RISK MANAGER PASSES EXAM

    Debra Ann Valent, ARM, CPHRM, senior risk manager of Altoona Regional Health System, Risk Management Department, recently completed the Associate in Insurance Services designation and passed the exam with the American Institute of CPCU/Insurance Institute of America, to receive her AIS designation.






    June 27, 2006 - AREA STUDENT GRADUATES FROM ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM SCHOOL OF MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY/CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE



    One area student was among three graduates honored at the 31st annual graduation exercises of the Altoona Regional Health System School of Medical Technology/Clinical Laboratory Science conducted Friday, June 23, 2006, at the Altoona Hospital Campus.

    The graduates were Amber D. Tarry, daughter of Tammy Feathers and the late John Tarry of Roaring Spring, Pa.; Catherine L. Pazsint, daughter of Janet Williams of Chillicothe, Ohio, and Daniel Pazsint of Wampum, Pa., and Katie J. Knapek, daughter of Susan King, Phoenix, Ariz., and Michael Knapek of Natrona Heights, Pa. Completion of the Altoona Regional program culminates in a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology/Clinical Laboratory Science.

    Joseph R. Noel, school program director, offered a welcome to the families of the graduates, honored guests, faculty and graduates.

    Joseph Pufka, administrative director of Laboratory Services, presented the Most Outstanding Student Award to Pazsint.

    Terry O. Morrow, Ph.D., coordinator, Medical Technology, Clarion University, was the guest speaker. Americo B. Anton, M.D., director of Laboratory Services, and Noel presented the diplomas and pins.

    Clinical Laboratory Science (Medical Technology) is an interesting, challenging and rewarding profession. Laboratory tests performed to aid physicians in their diagnosis and treatment of patients are done under the direction of clinical laboratory scientists (Medical Technologists). Working in a hospital, clinic, research laboratory, physician's office or in a public health laboratory, they are responsible for a variety of chemical, hematological, immunological, microbiological, serologic and other laboratory procedures. Such determinations contribute to patient care and provide important diagnostic data. The <> clinical laboratory scientist is also responsible for the quality control of the laboratory and supervision of other laboratory personnel. Since laboratory tests deal directly with life and death matters, the trained clinical laboratory scientist occupies a responsible, key position.

    As in other medical professions, the practice of clinical laboratory science is regulated both from within the profession, and in some states, by law.






    June 21, 2006 - EXERCISE STUDIO MAKES DONATION



    Members of Coalport Curves, an exercise studio, purchased and donated stuffed animals to pediatric patients at Altoona Regional Health System's Emergency and Pediatric units. Betty J. Renninger of Coalport (right) presents a portion of the animals to Development Associate Valerie Brumbaugh of the Corporate Development Department of Altoona Regional Health System.






    June 16, 2006 - SAFE KIDS BLAIR COUNTY TO DISTRIBUTE PLAYGROUND SAFETY SIGNS

    MEDIA ADVISORY
    Please attend a brief distribution event at Altoona's Fairview playground on 25th Avenue at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 22, 2006.

    The 25 signs will be distributed at that time to the Blair County Community Mobilizer to take to numerous playground coordinators. Also, several Altoona firefighters will erect a sign at Fairview playground (this is not Fairview Hills).


    ALTOONA - Safe Kids Blair County is distributing playground safety signs to numerous playgrounds throughout Blair County.

    "Now that school is out for the summer, there will be many children using local playgrounds," says Sherry Turchetta, Safe Kids Blair County coordinator. "We want them to enjoy themselves, but also to remember to play safely."

    "Our signs will provide a small reminder to them that life is fun but not without danger."

    Safe Kids Blair County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Blair County was founded in 1991 and is proud to have Altoona Regional Health System as its lead agency.

    FACTS ABOUT INJURIES TO CHILDREN ON PLAYGROUNDS

    Playgrounds are an opportunity for children to develop motor, cognitive, perceptual and social skills. Unfortunately, playgrounds are often the sites of accidental injuries.

    Recent statistics indicate more than 208,100 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for playground equipment-related injuries; children ages 5 to 14 accounted for nearly 75 percent of these injuries.

    Playground injuries are the leading cause of injury to children in child care and to children ages 5 to 14 in schools.

    It is estimated that one-third of playground equipment-related deaths and 75 percent of playground equipment-related injuries occur on public playgrounds.

    The majority (53 percent) of injuries that occur on public playgrounds involve climbing equipment, while the majority (67 percent) of injuries that occur on home playgrounds involve swings.

    Lack of supervision is associated with 40 percent of playground injuries. A recent study found that children play without adult supervision more often on school playgrounds (32 percent of the time) than playgrounds in parks (22 percent) or child care centers (5 percent).

    Nearly 40 percent of playground injuries occur during May, June and September.

    The total annual cost of playground equipment-related injuries among children ages 14 and under was estimated to be $6.8 billion in 2003.

    The leading cause of playground equipment-related fatalities is strangulation, and the majority of these deaths occur on home playgrounds.

    Strangulation resulting from entanglement or entrapment is the primary cause of playground equipment-related fatalities, accounting for nearly 56 percent of the deaths. Falls to the surface are responsible for an additional 20 percent of the deaths. Nonfatal playground equipment-related injuries are most often due to falls. The majority of these nonfatal injuries take place on public playgrounds, including school, child care and park playgrounds.

    Approximately 70 percent of playground equipment-related injuries involve falls to the surface, and 10 percent involve falls onto equipment.

    Protective surfacing under and around playground equipment can reduce the severity of and even prevent playground fall-related injuries. The risk of injury in a fall onto a nonimpact-absorbing surface such as asphalt or concrete is more than twice that of falling onto an impact-absorbing surface.

    It is estimated that only 25 percent of public playgrounds and 9 percent of home playgrounds have appropriate impact-absorbing surfacing around stationary equipment.

    The risk of injury is four times greater if a child falls from playground equipment that is more than 1.5 meters (approximately 5 feet) high than from equipment that is less than 1.5 meters high.

    A young child is at increased risk of injury when playing on equipment designed for older children. Only 42 percent of U.S. playgrounds have separate play areas for children ages 2 to 5 and children ages 5 to 12.

    Certain groups of children are at higher risk for playground-related injuries.

    Female children have a slightly higher risk of sustaining playground-related injuries than males.

    Children ages 5 to 9 account for more than half of all playground-related injuries.

    Some safety laws and regulations protect children from playground-related injury hazards.

    Playground equipment guidelines and standards have been developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Society for Testing and Materials. At least seven states have enacted some form of playground safety legislation.

    A recent study found that the rate of playground-related injuries at North Carolina child care centers dropped 22 percent after a law was passed requiring new playground equipment and surfacing in child care facilities to conform to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines.

    The CPSC has issued voluntary guidelines for drawstrings on children's clothing to prevent children from strangling or getting entangled in the neck and waist drawstrings of outerwear garments, such as jackets and sweatshirts. Children are at risk from strangulation when drawstrings on clothing become entangled in playground equipment.






    June 13, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ANNOUNCES HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS FOR JULY/AUGUST/SEPTEMBER

    Child safety seat installation checkup station


    Friday, July 14, 9:30-11 a.m.
    Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level.
    Friday, Aug. 11, 9:30-11 a.m.
    Bon Secours Hospital Campus, Seventh Avenue parking lot.
    Friday, Sept. 8, 9:30-11 a.m.
    Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level.
    Look for the Safe Kids Van.
    Find out if your child's safety seat is installed properly. Your child's life may depend on it.
    By appointment only. Call 889-7802.

    Osteoporosis screening: Free heel scans


    By appointment only on Friday, Aug. 4, 12:30-3 p.m.
    Kaufman Dining Room
    Bon Secours Hospital Campus
    For men and women.
    By appointment only on Friday, Sept. 1, 12:30-3 p.m.
    Allegheny Room, OP6
    Altoona Hospital Campus
    For women only.
    No fee. To schedule your appointment, please call 889.2630 or toll-free 1.888.313.4665.
    Find out if you are at risk for osteoporosis. This bone mineral density screening is a noninvasive, painless tool that can help determine bone health and your risk for fractures.

    AARP driver safety program offered by Altoona Regional and AARP

    Drivers age 55 and older are invited to attend a classroom refresher course offered by AARP and Altoona Regional's Healthy Living Club 6-10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, July 11 and 12, or Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 8 and 9, or Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 12 and 13.

    The course covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most insurance companies require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

    The classes will be held in the Logan Room on the sixth floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave. The fee is $10. Registration required. To register, call 889-2630 or toll-free 1-888-313-4665.

    "Hazards in the Sun: Are You at Risk?"


    Find out what you need to know about skin cancer on Friday, July 14. Is sun exposure really a problem?
    How much is too much? What is a "safe" time to enjoy the sun? Join Dr. Jane Rowe, dermatologist at Blair Medical Associates, as she offers information on the types and prevention of skin cancer, how to recognize the signs of skin cancer, and treatment options. Also, did you know that your medications may make you more susceptible to the harmful effects of the sun? Hear what a pharmacist at Altoona Regional has to say. The event begins with lunch at 11 a.m. in the Trzeciak Suite, Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave. The program follows lunch until 1 p.m. To register, call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    "Bird Flu: What is Happening?"


    Avian flu virus, also known as "bird flu," is getting worldwide attention. What is bird flu? How is it spread? Who is at risk? Is there a cure? What should be done to help prevent the spread of the virus? How is Altoona Regional prepared in the event of an outbreak? Join Dr. Scott Magley, senior vice president and chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine, as he speaks about this very important topic. The event begins with lunch at 11 a.m. in the Trzeciak Suite, Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave. The program follows lunch until 1 p.m. To register, call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Safe Sitter class offered to adolescents


    Certified Safe Sitter instructors will prepare adolescents ages 11 to 13 to baby-sit infants and young children in a safe, responsible and competent manner. This class will be held Thursday, Aug. 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Trzeciak Suite, Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus. Participants will learn basic child-care skills; how to keep a house secure; how to take precautions to prevent accidents; basic first-aid skills; how to recognize common signs of illness, and possible interventions; how to treat or reduce discomfort, and how to rescue a choking child or infant. The $20 fee includes materials, snacks and lunch. Registration required and class size is limited. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Beginner and intermediate yoga class offered for six weeks


    Gail Murphy, instructor in Hatha Yoga, leads this Healthy Living Club program, which offers mind/body exercise, breath control, stretching and strengthening to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being. This series of beginner and intermediate classes runs Tuesdays, Aug. 22 through Sept. 26, in the Rotunda, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave. The beginner classes run 5:30-6:40 p.m. The intermediate sessions run 6:50-8 p.m. Please call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Register now as class size is limited. Fee $30.

    "The Healing Mission of Wound Care"


    Whether from diabetes, poor circulation or some other condition, many worry about wounds, cuts, abrasions - skin that just won't heal. Wounds that resist the traditional modes of treatment are threatened by infection and the possibility of getting worse instead of better. On Thursday, Aug. 24, join Dr. Donald Mrdjenovich, certified wound specialist, as he discusses the causes of wounds that won't heal, how to prevent them, and the latest treatments available through Altoona Regional's Wound Care and Ostomy Program. The event begins with lunch at 11 a.m. in the Trzeciak Suite, Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave. The program follows lunch until 1 p.m. To register, call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    The fall craft: Painted Pilgrim tea towels


    Join Sharon Rydbom, our own craft diva, Friday, Aug. 25, as she guides us in creating an adorable Pilgrim tea towel to welcome the fall season into your home. Materials needed: two pieces of cardboard at least 7 by 7 inches each, covered first with aluminum foil, then wax paper; four paper towels, and a paint shirt, if desired. Fee $12. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Juniata Room, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave. Registration required by calling 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Sign language classes


    The Rev. Robert Smith of the Pastoral Care Department of Altoona Regional will be the instructor for this beginner's course in conversational sign language. The 12-week course begins Sept. 5 and concludes Nov. 21. Classes begin at 7 p.m. and last 90 minutes. There will be assignments with the lessons and a certificate upon completion of the course. A three-ring binder is needed. Snacks will be provided. Class limited to 30 people. Fee $25. Registration required. Register by calling 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.






    June 13, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PRESENTS CHECKS TO LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS

    ALTOONA - At a recent ceremony at Altoona Hospital Campus, Altoona Regional presented the City of Altoona and the five surrounding Logan Township Fire departments with $1,000 checks as part of a collaborative agreement for bioterrorism preparedness.



    Those in attendance included (from left): First row - Jeff Blake, Logan Township United Fire Department, board chairman; Jack Smith, Lakemont Volunteer Fire Company, president; Mark Salisbury, Greenwood Volunteer Fire Company, chief; Doug Glunt, Kittanning Trail Volunteer Fire Company, deputy chief; Second row - Randy Isenberg, City of Altoona Fire Department, fire marshal; Ron McConnell, senior vice president, Corporate Development, Altoona Regional; Reynold Santone, City of Altoona Fire Department, chief; John Hawksworth, Altoona Regional police chief. Tom Sral also accepted a check for Newburg Volunteer Fire Company.






    June 12, 2006 - Altoona Regional Surgery Center Honored for Excellence in Customer Service

    Altoona Regional Surgery Center has won two national awards for excellence in customer service. The Surgery Center's physicians and staff were named No. 1 for Overall Quality of Care in a national survey of patients by Professional Research Consultants Inc. (PRC).

    PRC, a nationally known health care marketing research company headquartered in Omaha, has conducted satisfaction surveys for more than 1,200 hospitals and health systems nationwide.

    Altoona Regional's Surgery Center, 800 Howard Ave., received PRC's highest honor, the Top Performer Award, given annually to the health care facility with the most patients saying their overall quality of care was "excellent."

    The Surgery Center also received the 5-Star Customer Service Award because customer satisfaction scores were in the top 10 percent (at or above the 90th percentile) for the prior calendar year. It is based on the percentage of surgery center patients who rate the facility "excellent" on Overall Quality of Care.

    "On behalf of the board of trustees and everyone at Altoona Regional, I congratulate all physicians and staff members at the Surgery Center for the exceptional work they are doing," said Jim Barner, President/CEO of Altoona Regional. "This award means a lot because it comes from those we serve - our patients."

    Hospital leaders from across the United States gathered at a national awards ceremony at The Qwest Center, Omaha, Neb., June 4 and 5 to participate in the 2006 PRC Client Education Conference. Accepting the awards for Altoona Regional were: Chris Rickens, administrative director of Surgical Services; Mitzi Kobuck, clinical manager of the Surgery Center; Lynda Fulton, CRNA with Lexington Anesthesia, and Bob Strawser, director of Customer Service for the system.

    "We are proud to honor Altoona Regional Health System as they have worked hard to make their facility an excellent place for their patients," said Joe M. Inguanzo, Ph.D., president and CEO of PRC. "We commend them for their commitment to provide first-rate health care for their community."






    June 8, 2006 - Altoona Regional Health System's Healthy Living Club Graduates 23 from Sign Language Class

    Altoona Regional Health System's Healthy Living Club graduated 23 students from its first sign language class May 23. Under the instruction of the Rev. Bob Smith, a chaplain with the Altoona Regional Pastoral Care Department, the students learned 790 words and have the ability to sign the alphabet, numbers, recipes and more.



    Class members shown in the photo are (from left): first row - Charity Harris, Theresa Keefer, Anna Bolt, Lisa Troutman, the Rev. Bob Smith; second row - Patti Plummer, Sharon Caruso, Debbie Sholtis, Joyce Stoehr, Carol Mills, Mary Setz; third row - Diana Harris, Paulette Farabaugh, Teresa Salome, Dorothy Patterson, Melissa Miller; fourth row - Tom Harris, Mary Bolt, Cornelia Gray, Sally Earnest, Joyce Mitchell, Ro Gibson. Other graduates were Diana Mills, Jimmy Walker and Breana Walter.





    June 8, 2006 - NEW BULIMIA WEB SITE OFFERS WEALTH OF INFORMATION

    For the first time, family and friends who want to support someone with bulimia nervosa, a potentially devastating eating disorder, have a one-stop comprehensive resource at www.bulimiaguide.org The Bulimia Nervosa Resource Guide for Family and Friends Web site provides in-depth information about the disorder. This is the only site that compares the effectiveness of treatments based on a comprehensive analysis of the available clinical evidence.

    The content of this site was created by ECRI (www.ecri.org), a nonprofit agency and Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization, under a grant from the Hilda and Preston Davis Foundation. Altoona Regional is a customer of ECRI, a non-profit risk management and product evaluation firm specializing in health care.

    The Web site offers clear answers to important questions, plus the following useful resources:
  • Efficacy of Treatments for Bulimia Nervosa - the comprehensive evidence report, containing the methods and results of ECRI's meta-analysis on psychotherapy, prescription drug therapy and other therapies
  • Checklists and tips for parents, friends and teachers
  • Searchable database of treatment facilities
  • Mental health mandates and parity laws
  • Information on health care insurers with coverage policies for bulimia nervosa
  • Links to other relevant resources






  • June 5, 2006 - LABORATORY EXPANDS SERVICES

    Altoona Regional Health System patients will obtain 16 laboratory test results faster thanks to the acquisition of five new instruments.

    When a patient has any type of laboratory work done, the immediate question is "How soon will I have my results?" It is not knowing that gives rise to a patient's anxiety and fear regardless of what type of testing is being performed, Laboratory Services Administrative Director Joe Pufka said.

    Tests that were previously sent out of town to a "reference lab" are now requested in sufficient numbers to perform them at Altoona Regional. This means results are available to physicians and, thus, to the patient significantly quicker.

    "The three different types of instruments acquired for the Chemistry and Hematology areas of the Laboratory are prime examples of how the merger of Bon Secours and Altoona Hospital has benefited the community," Pufka said. "In the 19 months since the merger, the staff has undertaken many, many changes and these are just a few of the changes more visible to patients. We are fortunate to have highly trained, quality-focused individuals who are willing to pull together and work as a team to benefit our patients. They have just done an outstanding job."

    The new equipment performs the following types of testing more quickly and accurately:
    Vitamin B-12 (a test that checks for a deficiency of this vitamin)


    Fetal Fibronectin (a test that provides an indication if a pregnant woman is at risk for pre-term delivery)

    Photo Left: Chemistry Supervisor Jean Plunkett, MT (ASCP), prepares equipment for a Fetal Fibronectin test, used to help a physician determine a pregnant woman's risk for preterm delivery.

    D-Dimer (blood clot detection tests)
    Platelet Function Screen

    This is the first time since 1999 that vitamin B-12 testing will be performed locally after being pulled from the market by the federal Food and Drug Administration, Chemistry Supervisor Jean Plunkett, MT (ASCP), said. The vitamin B-12 test was among the top three tests sent out of the area for analysis. Performing them in-house will result in a significant savings in both time and costs. This test will be run Monday through Saturday. Previously, results took up to three days to come back to the Lab. Now the tests will be run 24-hours a day.

    The Fetal Fibronectin test is ordered by obstetricians to assess the risk for preterm delivery in women with symptoms who are between 24 and 34 weeks gestation, and in asymptomatic women between 22 and 30 weeks gestation. Using a special test kit, the physician obtains a cervicovaginal secretion sample and sends it to the lab for testing. A result is available within 30 minutes and hadn't been available previously.

    Obtaining a faster result also factored into the selection of equipment in the Hematology area of the Lab. Hematology Supervisor Suni Susko, BSMT (ASCP) SH, selected a new instrument called the ACL Advance that detects blood clots and determines how fast your blood clots. The ACL Advance performs a test called a D-Dimer test, that determines if a patient has a blood clot. Physicians in the Emergency Department, an environment where every minute matters, most frequently use this test.

    The ACL Advance instrument takes less than 30 minutes to return this result on a blood sample. The former method took at least 90 minutes. "This new equipment will help the emergency medicine physicians diagnose their patients faster," Susko said. "This will help move patients through the ER faster and improve patient and physician satisfaction. This test is one of the things that was holding patients up in the ER."

    The Altoona Hospital Campus has two Advances and the Bon Secours Hospital Campus has two new coagulation analyzers -- one that comes on line in early June and one in July. These instruments perform such critical testing that a backup unit is required at each facility to ensure the test remains available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    Soon, the lab will begin performing in-house specialized coagulation tests that check people at risk for congenital and acquired clotting disorders. These tests (Protein C, Protein S, Antithrombin III, APC Resistance (aka Factor V Leiden), Lupus Anticoagulant) are performed with the results available within two business days versus three to seven days previously.

    Also, the lab will begin on-site testing for deficiencies of blood clotting factors to include Factors VII, VIII, IX, X, XI and XII. These tests screen patients for congenital clotting factor deficiencies that can result in extended bleeding after an injury.

    The second piece of equipment purchased for Hematology is the Platelet Function Analyzer-100. The purchase of this equipment for the Altoona Hospital Campus replaces a painful and less accurate test known as a "bleeding time." The bleeding time involves two small open incisions made on a patient's forearm. This test is ordered on patients whose clotting ability may be questioned prior to surgery. The cuts to the top layer of the skin are allowed to bleed openly and timed until stopping. Normally, the body stops the bleeding in 3 1/2 to 9 1/2 minutes. If the time falls outside the normal range, the test would be repeated on the other forearm - if the patient agrees. Now, the new equipment will replace the bleeding time test with a new "closure time" test. The closure time requires two tubes of blood obtained through a simple and near-painless blood draw and provides much more accurate results faster. This new test became available May 5.

    Other uses for the Platelet Function Analyzer include checking a patient's platelet function prior to surgery to see if aspirin, ibuprofen or other medications have increased the risk of excessive bleeding during the operation.

    And, an increasingly popular use for the Platelet Function Analyzer helps a cardiologist determine if his/her patient is on the appropriate dose of aspirin therapy to prevent a possible stroke or heart attack.






    June 2, 2006 - REPORT: PA. HOSPITALS HAVE $71 BILLION EFFECT ON JOBS, COMMUNITIES

    Altoona Regional Contributes Nearly $600 Million Annually to Local Community
    HARRISBURG, PA - A new report highlights the importance of hospitals to the state economy and it highlights the significant impact that Altoona Regional Health System has in our region.

    Pennsylvania's hospitals annually contribute nearly $71 billion to the state's economy, according to a new report released Wednesday by The Hospital & Health System Association of Pennsylvania (HAP). Pennsylvania's Hospitals: Partners for Economic Prosperity www.haponline.org/downloads/Pennsylvania_Hospitals_Partners_for_Economic_Prosperity_Spring2006.pdf shows the positive effects Pennsylvania's hospitals have on entire communities. The report updates a 2004 HAP study and presents new data from HAP and other sources.

    Altoona Regional Health System contributed a total benefit of $596,973,402 to the Pennsylvania economy, according to the report. The system had total spending of $250,966,243. This caused a ripple benefit in the economy of $346,007,159. Salaries alone paid to employees of Altoona Regional had a total economic benefit of $181,861,326, supporting nearly 4,646 employees at the hospitals and from throughout our region.*

    The HAP report found that 91 percent of rural hospitals are among their communities' top three employers, and it details the challenges all Pennsylvania's hospitals face as they try to access capital for essential information technology and hospital modernization investments.

    "Hospitals are cornerstones of their communities, providing quality care to all who come through their doors," said HAP President and CEO Carolyn F. Scanlan. "Pennsylvania's hospitals are also economic catalysts, providing a constant source of stable, well-paying jobs; stimulating multiple business opportunities in other fields; buying local goods and services, and contributing to the tax base at the state and local levels..

    "Pennsylvania's hospitals are home to technological innovations and medical breakthroughs, and they are safe havens for Pennsylvania's poorest and most vulnerable citizens."

    Among the report's findings, Pennsylvania's hospitals annually:
  • Provide a total contribution of nearly $71 billion to the state's economy.
  • $29.8 billion in direct total spending.
  • $41.1 billion in secondary spending.
  • Support the employment of almost 550,000 Pennsylvanians.
  • More than 275,000 in direct employment.
  • Nearly 275,000 in secondary employment.
  • Generate total labor income of nearly $21.4 billion.
  • "In just two years since our last report, the economic impact of Pennsylvania's hospitals has increased by an astounding $15 billion," Scanlan said.

    Pennsylvania's Hospitals: Partners for Economic Prosperity is available online at www.haponline.org/downloads/Pennsylvania_Hospitals_Partners_for_Economic_Prosperity_Spring2006.pdf. Data in the report are from the U.S. Department of Commerce and Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

    *(Based on statewide economic multipliers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce, RIMS II Multipliers for the hospital industry.)






    May 22, 2006 - May is Mental Health Month: Mind Your Health

    Thursday, May 25
    Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
    Free program begins at 7 p.m.
    The Ramada, Altoona

    "Mindfulness:" Learn how to live in the moment and control your mind rather than letting your thoughts control you, with Shannon Tronzo, LPC, and Dana DeStefano, RN, LCSW, of Home Nursing Agency.

    "How to Release Your Inner Dolphin:" A motivational presentation by nationally renowned speaker Karen Vadino, who teaches why laughter is the best medicine. (Karen will be available for media interviews between 6 and 6:30 p.m. in the ballroom.)

    What to expect if you attend:
  • Learn how to better care for yourself as a caregiver
  • Network with other caregivers and organizations
  • Learn techniques for de-stressing and embracing the moment
  • Experience alternative relaxation therapies
  • No registration required. Free handouts and refreshments.

    Sponsors:
    Altoona Regional Health System
    Blair County MH/MR/D&A
    Home Nursing Agency
    Penn State Altoona Health & Wellness Center
    NAMI of Blair County






    May 18, 2006 - Safe Kids Blair County Supports 2006 'Click It or Ticket' Mobilization

    Reminder to parents: 'Passenger safety is a lifetime commitment'


    Pennsylvania law enforcement will crack down on safety belt violations during the 2006 Click It or Ticket Mobilization, May 22 through June 4. Safe Kids Blair County, which is led by Altoona Regional Health System, reminds parents and caregivers that Pennsylvania law requires every child under 8 years old to be secured in an appropriate car seat or booster seat at all times in any moving car, truck, van or SUV. State law also requires that every passenger use a safety belt at all times.

    "Passenger safety is a lifetime commitment," says Sherry Turchetta, Safe Kids Blair County coordinator. "Babies, toddlers and older kids each need a specific type of car seat or booster seat. And kids who have outgrown booster seats - at least 4 feet, 9 inches tall and 80 to 100 pounds - still need to buckle up."

    Although drivers can be fined if anyone in the vehicle is not wearing a safety belt, or if a child is not in an appropriate car seat, the goal of the enforcement program is to educate drivers and passengers and promote the consistent use of safety belts.

    "We're not interested in fines and penalties - we're interested in making sure every child passenger is properly restrained," says Turchetta. "We also want to see parents and caregivers buckle up. Kids are strongly influenced by adult role modeling of good safety practices."

    Safe Kids Blair County offers car seat inspections and Safety Belt Fit Tests at Altoona Regional Health System each month from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians teach parents and caregivers how to install their own car seats in their own vehicles and adjust the safety features properly for their child. Inspections are free and usually take 10 to 20 minutes. Call 814-889-7802 for an appointment.

    "Think of it as a free private lesson in the proper use of your safety equipment," says Turchetta "We'll help you determine whether your child is ready to graduate from a car seat to a booster, or from a booster seat to safety belts."

    For more information about child passenger safety or additional car seat inspections year-round, visit www.safekids.org. The Click It or Ticket Mobilization is coordinated nationwide by Buckle Up America, a program of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; for more information, visit www.buckleupamerica.org.

    Safe Kids Blair County works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Its members include Pennsylvania State Police, PennDOT District 9 and Highway Safety. Safe Kids Blair County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Blair County was founded in 1992.






    May 15, 2006 - PHYSICIANS GRANTED PRIVILEGES ON MEDICAL STAFF OF ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM

    M. Naveed Arshad, M.D., and Maureen M. Ratchford, DPM, have been granted privileges on the Medical Staff of Altoona Regional Health System. This means they are permitted to admit and treat patients at both Altoona and Bon Secours hospital campuses.

    Dr. Arshad is board certified in family practice medicine and is affiliated with the Department of Emergency Medicine of Altoona Regional Health System. He graduated from Allama Iqbal Medical College, Pakistan. He completed a residency in family practice at Altoona Family Physicians. He also completed a residency in general surgery and radiology at Allegheny General Hospital and in nuclear medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center.


    Dr. Ratchford is board eligible for the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. She is affiliated with Premier Podiatry Group, PC, Ebensburg. She graduated from Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine and completed her residency at University Hospital - Richmond Heights, OH.






    May 4, 2006 - Bedford Woman Wins Jewelry Raffle


    ALTOONA - Linda A. Suter of Bedford (center) was the grand prize winner of a diamond dinner ring, donated by Your Jewelry Box, during a jewelry raffle to benefit Friends of Altoona Regional Health System. With Ms. Suter are store manager Sharon Reese (left) and Valerie Brumbaugh, development associate, Altoona Regional. The raffle raised $1,895 to benefit health system patients. Friends plans to use the donations to purchase bereavement memory boxes for women who have experienced a neonatal death.






    May 4, 2006 - SYSTEM SAYS THANKS DURING NATIONAL HOSPITAL WEEK

    ALTOONA - Altoona Regional Health System will celebrate National Hospital Week May 7-13 by honoring employees, volunteers, auxiliary members and Medical Staff members at both hospitals.

    "We want to express our appreciation to those groups for the outstanding contribution they make to the system and, more importantly, to the patients we serve," said system President and CEO Jim Barner.

    A total of 378 employees are being honored - one employee is celebrating 50 years of service, 10 employees with 40 years, 17 employees with 35, 38 with 30, 61 with 25, 36 with 20, 85 with 15, 55 with 10 and 75 with five years of service.

    A variety of celebratory events and activities have been scheduled:

    SUNDAY, MAY 7 - Sunday's Altoona Mirror will feature an advertisement acknowledging all employees who are being recognized for their years of service (in five-year increments) to the system.

    MonDAY, MAY 8 - Employees celebrating service milestones will receive award ribbons from the Human Resources Department. All week, those employees will receive free coffee, hot tea or fruit juices in the cafeterias of both campuses when wearing the award ribbons. An Employee Awards Recognition luncheon will be held at 1 p.m. in the Employee Dining Room at Bon Secours Hospital Campus for employees celebrating service milestones.*

    TUESDAY, MAY 9 - An Employee Awards Recognition luncheon will be held at 1 p.m. in the Altoona Hospital Campus cafeteria for campus employees celebrating service milestones.*

    WEDNESDAY, MAY 10 - Wednesday's Altoona Mirror will feature an advertisement acknowledging our active Medical Staff members.

    THURSDAY, MAY 11 - All employees, volunteers, clergy visiting patients and visitors on Altoona Hospital Campus will be recognized with break-treats served from 2 to 5 p.m. in the cafeteria during first and second shifts, and 1 to 2 a.m. Friday, May 12, during third shift. Likewise, all employees, volunteers, clergy visiting patients and visitors on Bon Secours Hospital Campus will be recognized with break-treats from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Employee Dining Room during first and second shifts, and 1 to 2 a.m. Friday, May 12, during third shift.

    *Media opportunity: Please call if a reporter/photographer/videographer will attend.






    May 2, 2006 - Safe Kids Blair County Plans Pool/Spa Safety Awareness Events for Safe Kids Week May 6-13

    ALTOONA - Safe Kids Blair County will conduct a Safety Fair with a focus on water safety Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Wright Elementary School, 11th Street and 19th Avenue.

    The Safety Fair will also feature a Child Safety Seat Check from 10 a.m. to noon at the school. "We will be distributing pool/spa safety brochures for parents and playing our safety game for kids to encourage safe water use," said Sherry Turchetta, R.N., Safe Kids Blair County coordinator.

    On Friday, May 12, a Child Safety Seat Installation Checkup Station will be held at Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage blue level from 9:30 to 11 a.m. by appointment only. Please call 814-889-7802 to make the appointment.

    Safe Kids Blair County will also provide pool and hot tub safety materials to local dealers and encourage them to distribute to families with children to increase public awareness of the dangers.

    Safe Kids Blair County works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. It's a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids was founded in 1982 and is led by Altoona Regional Health System.

    This year's National Safe Kids Week, May 6-13, events are dedicated to preventing drowning, the second leading cause of accidental death among children ages 1 to 14. A specific focus has been put on drain entrapment and entanglement, a particularly horrific way for children to drown. Entrapment occurs when part of a child's body becomes attached to a drain because of the powerful suction of a pool or spa's filtration system. It also can occur when a child's hair or swimsuit gets tangled in the drain or on an underwater object, such as a ladder.

    "A child is no match for the powerful suction of a drain," said Ms. Turchetta. "With the right equipment and knowledge, children can easily be protected from this risk. Parents should warn their children to stay away from drains and install safety devices if they own a pool or spa."

    New research shows only one third (34 percent) of parents with children age 14 and under recognize that drowning is one of the top two causes of accidental death among children, and that 66 percent are not at all or only somewhat familiar with the threat of drain entrapment and entanglement. Both of these findings are alarming because research reveals that pool and spa ownership is becoming more popular. One out of two parents (49 percent) report that they have a pool or spa at home.

    Through public awareness activities like National Safe Kids Week, Safe Kids Blair County seeks to educate parents and caregivers about potential risks to children, and adults' role in preventing injuries. National Safe Kids Week has been held annually for 13 years and this year's theme is Safe Pools for Safe Kids. The local events are among more than 300 Safe Kids Week events taking place across the nation.

    For more information, contact Safe Kids Blair County at 814-889-7802.






    April 26, 2006 - HEPATITIS C SCREENING SCHEDULED MAY 18; MANY PEOPLE MAY BE IN AN AT-RISK GROUP

    Altoona Regional Health System, in conjunction with the Blair County Healthy Community Partnership, a committee of the Blair County Health and Welfare Council, will sponsor a free Hepatitis C blood screening.

    The screening will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, at 501 Howard Ave., Altoona (across from Altoona Hospital Campus), B-Building, Room 204. The screening is free and confidential. Registration is preferred but walk-ins will be accommodated as time permits. Call 889-2194 to register or for information.

    A Hepatitis C '05 campaign was held last year in response to the 215 new cases of the disease reported in Blair County the year before. The 2003 reports coincided with heroin use among substance abusers and the trend continues in 2006.

    Hepatitis C is a virus that attacks the liver, causing cirrhosis or scarring, liver failure and liver cancer, and is most often contracted through high-risk behaviors such as intravenous drug use, tattoos and body piercing, and sharing needles or razors with someone who is infected.

    Other situations in which exposure can occur include dialysis, blood transfusions or solid organ transplants before 1992. Also, health care workers or individuals who work with blood have an increased risk of exposure - two of every 100 will contract the disease.

    Hepatitis C is known by nicknames like "the ghost virus" and "the silent killer" for its ability to evade widespread media attention and even medical diagnosis despite being one of the most prevalent causes of chronic liver disease in the United States.

    By the year 2014, Hepatitis C will be a pandemic, affecting an extraordinarily high number of people over a large geographic area, including Altoona and much of Blair County.






    April 25, 2006 - Altoona Regional Health System 2006 Spring Trauma Symposium

    Thursday, April 27, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
    The Casino at Lakemont


    Warm weather ... more driving ... swimming ... biking ... It's "trauma season." Unfortunately, with the onset of nice weather and the increased outdoor activity, emergency rooms and trauma centers see an increase in injury cases.

    Altoona Regional Health System's 2006 Spring Trauma Symposium is an opportunity for you to relay useful safety information to your audiences from the medical community. This year's presenters include Coroner Patty Ross; Simon Lampard, M.D., trauma surgeon and Trauma Center medical director; Denis Baysal, M.D., orthopedic trauma surgeon; physiatrist Hugh Newman, M.D., and R. Scott Magley, M.D., chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine.

    The keynote speaker this year is Dr. Joseph Tepas, director of Pediatric Trauma at the University of Florida Regional Trauma System and professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine. His nationally known major research efforts have focused on care of the injured child. He was a contributing author of the Institute of Medicine's report to Congress regarding Emergency Medical Services for Children.

    Dr. Tepas will be available for interviews from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.






    April 17, 2006 - PHOTO/VIDEO OPPORTUNITY: WOMEN'S NIGHT OUT 2006

    Altoona -- More than 500 women will gather Thursday, April 20, as Altoona Regional's Healthy Living Club welcomes Deb DiSandro, an advocate for the overworked and underappreciated women of America at Women's Night Out 2006.

    Encouraging women to "Break Free From the Purse Straps That Bind You," Deb will share a number of perspectives that comprise her slightly off solution to reducing stress, saving time and finding a healthy balance between work and home.

    Deb will be available for interviews and photographs between 6 and 7 p.m. This annual event takes place at The Casino at Lakemont. Doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner starts at 7 p.m. She will begin speaking at approximately 8 p.m.






    April 14, 2006 - SUPPORT GROUP CANCELS APRIL MEETING

    Altoona -- Altoona Regional's Living with Asperger's Support Group has canceled its April meeting scheduled for April 25. The support group is for adults with this autistic spectrum disorder, the parents of children with Asperger's and spouses of adults with Asperger's. If you are interested in learning more about this disorder that impairs social skills, you are invited to attend the next monthly meeting of the support group. It is scheduled for the last Tuesday of each month, May 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the 3F Conference Room of the Altoona Hospital Campus. A parent will present innovative strategies for Asperger's disorder.





    April 7, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ANNOUNCES HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS FOR APRIL

    AARP driver safety program offered by Altoona Regional & AARP

    Drivers age 55 and older are invited to attend a classroom refresher course offered by AARP and Altoona Regional's Healthy Living Club from 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, and Wednesday, April 12.

    The course covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most insurance companies require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

    The classes will also be offered 6-10 p.m. Tuesday, May 9, and Wednesday, May 10, or Tuesday, June 13, and Wednesday, June 14.

    The classes will be held in the Juniata Room on the sixth floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave. The fee is $10. Registration required. To register, call 889-2630 or toll-free 1-888-313-4665.

    Conversations About Life and Death

    Join physician assistant and palliative care liaison Danette George and Pastor Terryann Talbot-Moses, director of Pastoral Care, on Wednesday, April 26, for a conversation dealing with end-of-life issues, including making difficult medical decisions, making your wishes known to your loved ones, addressing your spiritual needs, and more. This program promises to be informative and thought-provoking. The event begins with lunch at 11 a.m. in the School of Nursing Auditorium, Altoona Hospital Campus. The program follows lunch until 1 p.m. To register, call 889-2630 or -888-313-4665.

    What You Should Know About Ovarian Cancer

    What are the symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer? Why is it a more difficult cancer to treat? What are the treatment options and how effective are they? Join Dr. Ryan Zlupko of Altoona OB/GYN Associates as he discusses this very important topic on Friday, May 19. The session begins with lunch at 11 a.m. followed by the program until 1 p.m. in the Trzeciak Suite in the Education Center on the Bon Secours Hospital Campus. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    "My Feet Are Killing Me"

    It is said, "When your feet hurt, you hurt all over." At this program on Thursday, June 8, Dr. Bert Altmanshofer, local podiatrist, will discuss common foot problems in older adults. He'll cover both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options available to help ease the pain. Lunch is served at 11 a.m. in the School of Nursing Auditorium followed by the program, which continues until 1 p.m. No fee, however, registration is required. To register, call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?

    Join Dottie Bromley of Penn State Cooperative Extension to find out how best to pass along your most meaningful personal belongings on Friday, June 16. What happens when there is a death? Who gets Grandma's pie plate or family Bible? She will present an interesting program on the transfer of nontitled property: What is fair, the special meaning of objects, along with options to distribute, and the consequences. The focus will be on collections, antiques, jewelry, furniture, etc. You are invited to bring a special family item and share the meaning it has to you. Lunch will be served at 11 a.m. in the Trzeciak Suite in the Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus. The program follows and continues until 1 p.m. No fee. Registration required by calling 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Safe Sitter class offered to adolescents

    Certified Safe Sitter instructors will prepare adolescents ages 11 to 13 to baby-sit infants and young children in a safe, responsible and competent manner. This class will be held Thursday, June 29, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Trzeciak Suite, Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus. Participants will learn basic child-care skills; how to keep a house secure; how to take precautions to prevent accidents; basic first-aid skills; how to recognize common signs of illness, and possible interventions; how to treat or reduce discomfort, and how to rescue a choking child or infant. The $20 fee includes materials, snacks and lunch. Registration required and class size is limited. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Intermediate yoga class offered for six weeks

    Gail Murphy, instructor in Hatha Yoga, leads this Healthy Living Club program, which offers mind/body exercise, breath control, stretching and strengthening to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being. This series of intermediate classes runs Tuesdays, April 18 through May 30, in the Rotunda, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave. The intermediate session runs 6:50-8 p.m. Please call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Register now as class size limited. Fee $35.

    Tune Up for Life: Men's Health Update

    Stop treating your car better than you treat your body! Join Dr. John Reinhardt, Mainline Medical Associates, as he educates men (and the women who love them) on healthy body preventive maintenance on Wednesday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. in Magee Lecture Hall, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave. Topics will include the importance of diet and exercise, diagnostic tests and what they mean, and general tips for a happy, long-lasting life. No fee. Register by calling 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Spring craft: Watermelon hat door decoration

    Join Sharon Rydbom, our own craft diva, on Friday, May 26, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. as she guides us in making an adorable watermelon hat decoration to welcome spring into your home. Materials needed: one plastic plate for paint, four paper towels, scissors and a paint shirt, if desired. This is a great project to do with "tweeners" as it is an easy craft to complete. Fee is $12 Register by calling 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665. Class size limited to 25.

    Window Box and Planter Gardening

    Join PSU's master gardeners Dee Martin-Spallone and Susan Daughtery on Wednesday, June 7, 6:30 to 8 p.m., as they "plant" ideas for our porch and window boxes! Their focus will include good flower/plant choices for small areas and containers, getting the most coloration, and how to properly care for these small "gardens of Eden." No fee. Register by calling 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Do You Have Sturdy Bones?

    Come find out how sturdy and healthy your bones really are with a free heel scan, also known as a bone density screening. Available only by appointment between 12:30 and 3 p.m. on Friday, May 5, 12:30-3 p.m., Allegheny Room, sixth floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., and Friday, June 2, 12:30-3 p.m., in the Kaufman Dining Room, Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave. For an appointment, please call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.






    April 5, 2006 - TEEN WHO SAVED PRESCHOOLER FROM CHOKING NAMED SAFE SITTER OF THE YEAR

    Altoona- Seventeen-year-old Ashley Johnson of Las Vegas, NV, used the Heimlich Maneuver she learned in Safe Sitter to save the life of a 4-year-old boy she was babysitting who was choking on a penny. Ashley took a Safe Sitter course at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, NV, when she was 12 years old. Throughout the event, Ashley stayed calm and provided comfort. She was named the 2006 Safe Sitter of the Year in recognition of her heroic action.

    Safe Sitter has been taught at Altoona Regional Health System for one year. The next class will be offered Thursday, June 29, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Trzeciak Suite of the Education Center of the Bon Secours Hospital Campus. A $20 fee includes materials, snacks and lunch. Registration is required. Call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665 to register or for more information.

    Safe Sitter is a national training program that prepares young adolescents to be safe, nurturing babysitters. The class teaches adolescent babysitters how to handle crises, how to keep their charges secure, and how to nurture and guide a young child. Safe Sitter babysitters help children stay safe and sound while their parents are away.

    Ashley was preparing lunch for Eli, 4, and Emilio, 8, when Emilio came running to her saying Eli was choking. "I saw Eli trying to gag. I asked him if he could talk and he shook his head. He wasn't able to breathe. I did the Heimlich maneuver twice and a penny popped out. Eli then started crying and threw up!"

    In the meantime, Emilio called his parents. Ashley called her own mother, a nurse at the hospital, who came over and saw that Eli was all right. Ashley said that although she was shaken, she knew to remain calm. "I wouldn't have known what to do if I hadn't learned it in Safe Sitter!" Ashley modeled the system Safe Sitter teaches for management of a life-threatening emergency - recognizing signs of choking as a threat to life, doing the Heimlich maneuver quickly and accurately, and calling for help - while remembering to stay calm and provide comfort.

    Patricia A. Keener, M.D., developed the medically accurate curriculum. It is taught in over 900 locations throughout the country, and over 35,000 young adolescents are trained each year.

    For information about registering your children for a Safe Sitter class, call Altoona Regional Health System, 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.






    March 31, 2006 - Safe Kids Blair County to Offer Child Seat Inspections during the Senior Health Fair

    Altoona - Safe Kids Blair County is offering child seat inspections on Wednesday, April 5, 2006, from 8 - 11 a.m. at the 26th Annual Senior Health Fair held at the Jaffa Mosque in Altoona. Attendees will learn from Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians how to install and adjust their child seats properly and to determine when an older child is ready to graduate from a booster seat to adult safety belts.

    "Surveys indicate that children ages 4-7 ride in safety restraints only 73 percent of the time. "That's an alarming statistic, and it shows that many parents and grandparents are unaware of the importance of booster seats," says Sherry Turchetta, Safe Kids Blair County coordinator.

    Kids who have outgrown child seats (usually 40 pounds) are safer and more comfortable on a booster seat until they are 4'9" (57") tall and 80 to 100 pounds - a height and weight most kids reach between ages 8-12.

    "A booster seat positions the adult safety belt correctly and also helps a child see out the window," she said. "Too many parents and grandparents move kids move from a booster seat to a safety belt before they're big enough. Child passenger safety is not just about babies and toddlers. It's a commitment that lasts a lifetime," Turchetta said.

    Safe Kids Blair County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Blair County was founded in 1991 and is proud to have Altoona Regional Health System as its lead agency.






    March 20, 2006 - ANNUAL CAREGIVERS' CONFERENCE SET MAY 5

    For those currently caring for a loved one at home, the Geriatric Interest Network of the Blair County Region (GIN) invites you to its fourth annual Caregivers' Conference, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., May 5, at the HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Altoona.

    "Our goal in holding the conference is to assist informal (unpaid) caregivers in the daily task of caring for their loved ones," said Paulette Feather of the conference committee. "We provide caregivers with important information and give them the opportunity to ask questions and network with other caregivers."

    The focus of this year's event is "Living with chronic conditions/Partnering with your health care provider." Topics to be addressed at the conference include:
  • Pulmonary and lung conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Coping and living with chronic illness
  • Feather said the speakers will discuss what you should expect when dealing with these common medical conditions and they will offer techniques to help you cope with this important responsibility.

    "Most times, people with debilitating conditions are unable to let their caregivers know when they are in pain or not feeling well," Feather explained. "It's very important for the caregiver to understand as much as they are able to regarding their loved one's medical condition."

    The conference is free and lunch will be provided. Registration is required and must be made by April 21 with Feather at the Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries Senior Daily Living Center by calling (814) 946-4693.

    Should your loved one need assistance in your absence on the day of this conference, contact Feather for information regarding complimentary daycare services.

    If you go:
    What: Annual caregivers' conference
    When: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. May 5
    Where: HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Altoona, 2005 Valley View Blvd.
    Admission: Free, but reservations are required by calling 946-4693 by April 21.





    March 3, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ANNOUNCES HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS FOR MARCH

    Appointments accepted for child safety seat installation checkups
    Is your infant or child restrained properly in a safety seat? Find out with a personal appointment to have your car seat installation checked Friday, March 10, by appointment between 9:30-11:30 a.m. in the parking garage at the Altoona Hospital Campus of Altoona Regional Health System, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona. Look for the Safe Kids Blair County van on the blue level. There is no fee for this important service, sponsored by Safe Kids Blair County and Altoona Regional, its lead agency. Each car seat must be installed in each make of vehicle according to the manufacturer's directions or the car seat may not offer the maximum protection to your child in a crash. Let a certified car seat inspector take a look and show you how to install a car seat or booster seat correctly. Call for your appointment today, 889-7802.

    AARP driver safety program offered by Altoona Regional & AARP
    Drivers age 55 and older are invited to attend a classroom refresher course offered by AARP and Altoona Regional's Healthy Living Club from 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, and Wednesday, March 15.

    The course covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most insurance companies require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

    The classes will be held in the Juniata Room on the sixth floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave. The fee is $10. Registration required. To register, call 889-2630 or toll-free 1-888-313-4665.

    Be stroke smart: Education is the key to prevention
    Knowing the warning signs of a stroke, or "brain attack," can save a life. Public knowledge is a key weapon in the fight to conquer this devastating illness. Join Christi Wimer, R.N., clinical coordinator of neurosciences at Altoona Regional, as she defines stroke and ministroke and discusses the warning signs, causes, treatment and prevention on Wednesday, March 22, in the School of Nursing Auditorium, Altoona Hospital Campus. Lunch will be served at 11 a.m. followed by program until 1 p.m. No fee, but registration is required. To register, call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Thinking about spring?
    Imagining warm weather? Ready for swimsuits and shorts? If not, get ready by joining registered dietitian Randy Grabill at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 8. Randy has the formula for lasting success for weight loss! Randy will assist us in developing realistic goals for ourselves and methods to achieve them. No fee. Registration required. Magee Lecture Hall, Altoona Hospital Campus. To register, call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.





    February 24, 2006 - CHRIS RICKENS NAMED ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR OF SURGICAL SERVICES

    Altoona - Chris Rickens has been named administrative director of Surgical Services of Altoona Regional Health System. He will oversee the operating room suites at Altoona Hospital Campus, Bon Secours Hospital Campus and the Altoona Regional Surgery Center.

    Rickens has been employed with the health system for 23 years. He began his career as a Surgical Technologist in the OR at Bon Secours Hospital Campus. Changing careers, he then obtained a bachelor's degree in Nursing from Mount Aloysius College. He then became a staff nurse at Bon Secours and rose through the ranks as a charge nurse and a nurse manager. He is pursuing a Master's Degree in Health and Human Service Administration from Mount Aloysius College. He is a member of the Association of PeroOperative Registered Nurses and is a Certified Nurse of the Operating Room.

    Rickens is married to Karen and they have two children. They reside in Altoona.





    February 23, 2006 - JIM DESTEFANO PROMOTED

    Altoona - Jim DeStefano of Altoona Regional Health System has been promoted to Director of Construction & Design Services. In this position, he is responsible for all renovation and construction projects at Altoona Hospital Campus, Bon Secours Hospital Campus and Station Medical Mall. DeStefano began his career at Altoona Hospital in 1991 as the project coordinator of engineering. He was responsible for the building of the seven-story outpatient center expansion in 1992, the new boiler/chiller plant in 1999 and the addition of the Altoona Hospital Regional Trauma Center with its elevated helipad in 2000.

    DeStefano, a graduate of Bishop Guilfoyle High School, is a mechanical engineering student at Penn State University. He lives in Hollidaysburg with his wife, Angie, and his son, Dan.





    February 23, 2006 - JACQUIE RIZZO PROMOTED TO ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR OF CRITICAL CARE

    Altoona - Jacquie M. Rizzo, R.N., B.S.N., C.C.R.N., has been named Administrative Director of Critical Care for Altoona Regional Health System. A former nurse manager for the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU), Rizzo will oversee the care of critical care patients at Altoona Hospital Campus and Bon Secours Hospital Campus.

    Rizzo started her 18-year career at Altoona Regional as a staff nurse on the medical/surgical unit intensive care unit of Altoona Hospital. She was promoted to evening charge nurse in CTICU, then daylight charge nurse and, then, Nurse Manager in 2003.

    She will complete her Master of Science in Nursing in April.





    February 22, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL SAYS GOODBYE TO TWO EMPLOYEES WITH 65 YEARS OF CUMULATIVE SERVICE

    Marian L. Auker, payroll supervisor, and Kathy Meckley, senior risk manager, retired in January from Altoona Regional Health System with 65 years and 10 months of combined service.

    Mrs. Auker of Altoona was hired April 14, 1959. In her career, which spanned 46 years and 10 months, she was a clerk in the business office, a bookkeeper, assistant business office manager, junior accountant and accounting clerk. She assumed her last position -- payroll supervisor -- on Aug. 20, 1973, a post dutifully worked for an additional 22 years. Marian officially retired Jan. 1, 2006.

    Mrs. Meckley of Duncansville began her tenure with Altoona Hospital as assistant vice president of risk management and executive director of Preferred Healthcare, the healthcare system's preferred provider organization, on Nov. 3, 1986. She resigned the as executive director of the PPO on July 1, 1994. She served as senior vice president from May 1, 1995, to Feb. 3, 1996, and then resumed the role of senior risk manager. She retired Jan. 27, 2006, with 19 years of service.

    Marian L. Auker, payroll supervisorKathy Meckley, senior risk manager





    February 13, 2006 - COMBINED FREE CLINICS WILL EXPAND SERVICES TO UNINSURED

    Operation Safety Net-Altoona and Partnering for Health Services have combined their missions to better serve the working uninsured of our region. Operation Safety Net patients will now be seen at Partnering for Health Services, 501 Howard Ave., Building B, Suite 204, Altoona.

    "Since the merger of Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital and Altoona Hospital on Nov. 1, 2004, the two clinics functioned independently," said Marian Fifer, executive director of the Altoona Hospital Partnership for a Healthy Community. "Upon evaluation, the board of directors determined that resources could be used collaboratively for the greater good of those the clinics serve." The clinics are a project of the partnership.

    By combining the free clinics, the Partnership improves access to care by having more physicians available to patients and provides more people with lifesaving medication.

    Seven physicians and three nurses volunteer their time to see patients. As Partnering for Health Services has in the past, the clinic will coordinate care with a network of specialty physicians, who also support this worthwhile mission.

    Participation in the free clinic is based upon eligibility guidelines. Patients who meet the guidelines are automatically enrolled in any indigent drug programs offered through pharmaceutical companies. If a medication is not available elsewhere, Altoona Regional may provide it. In addition, Altoona Regional donates many ancillary services, such as lab work, imaging services, (X-rays and CT scans) and some inpatient services, if necessary.

    Overall, Altoona Regional provided $4.8 million in free care to Blair County and the surrounding region in the last fiscal year.




    February 10, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL BUSINESS OFFICE SCORES TOUCHDOWN WITH "SOUPER BOWL" FOOD DRIVE

    Altoona Regional employee Karen Freet hears about people's economic woes daily when they call to make payment arrangements on their hospital bill with the Patient Financial Services Department. During all the hoopla over the recent Super Bowl between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks, Karen saw an opportunity to turn it into a win for the less fortunate in our community.

    She asked her coworkers to contribute canned goods to a "Souper Bowl" for the Altoona Food Bank. Nonperishable food items could be donated to either the Steelers or the Seahawks the week before the Feb. 5 football game. Karen posted the "score" daily and provided play-by-play of the donation action. The final score - Steelers 72, Seahawks 13. However, as Karen said, "The real winner is the community."



    Photo: Karen Freet (back row, center) organized a successful food drive for the Altoona Food Bank by using a Super Bowl XL theme. Her coworkers Debbie Biddle (front row, left) Jeffrey McNelis, (front row, right), Joan M. Sloan (back row, left) and Andrea Grager dress in their Pittsburgh Steelers garb to celebrate their win over hunger.




    February 9, 2006 - Safe Kids Blair County Offers Car Seat Inspections, Safety Belt Fit Tests

    February 12-18 is Child Passenger Safety Week


    ALTOONA, Pa. - Safe Kids Blair County is holding car seat inspections and safety belt fit tests on Friday, Feb. 17, at Team Chevrolet in Huntingdon and Saturday, Feb. 18, at Stocker Chevrolet in State College in observance of Child Passenger Safety Week.

    Team Chevrolet is along Route 22, Huntingdon. Inspections will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on a drop-in basis. Stocker Chevrolet is along Benner Pike, State College. Inspections will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on a drop-in basis.

    These are two of more than 200 Child Passenger Safety Week events at Chevy and GM dealerships across the country where certified CPS technicians will teach parents and caregivers to install and adjust their car seats properly and to determine when an older child is ready to graduate from a booster seat to adult safety belts.

    Altoona Regional is the lead agency of the local Safe Kids chapter, which is dedicated to the prevention of accidental childhood injuries. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of children ages 3-14. "Child passenger safety is not just about babies and toddlers. It's a commitment that lasts a lifetime," said Sherry Turchetta, Safe Kids Blair County coordinator. "Too many kids move from a booster seat to a safety belt before they're big enough."

    Infants and toddlers ride in safety restraints more than 90 percent of the time, but children ages 4-7 ride in safety restraints only 73 percent of the time. "That's an alarming difference, and it shows that many parents and caregivers are unaware of the importance of booster seats," Turchetta said.

    Kids who have outgrown car seats (usually 40 pounds, but some car seats are rated for 60 pounds or more) are safer and more comfortable in a booster seat until they are 4'9" (57") tall and 80 to 100 pounds - a height and weight most kids reach between ages 8-12.

    "Comfort is a factor in safety," Turchetta said. "Kids who can't sit comfortably on an adult seat are likely to slouch or squirm and move out of a safe position. That's when adult safety belts may fail to offer full protection to a small child." A booster seat positions the adult safety belt correctly and helps a child see out the window.

    "You'll be able to see for yourself whether your child is big enough to be safe in an adult safety belt," she said. "Whether you bring your child to one of our checkup events to be weighed and measured and take the Safety Belt Fit Test, or learn the test and perform it at home, you can actually see whether the adult safety belt protects your child better than a booster seat."

    State and local police are expected to join Turchetta at the Child Passenger Safety Week events. During CPS Week, Safe Kids Worldwide is unveiling a new Parent Toolkit to help educate kids, parents and other caregivers about the importance of booster seats. The kit includes:
  • The Safety Belt Fit Test
  • Q&A for kids talking to other kids about booster seats
  • Carpool safety checklists and guidelines for starting a safe carpool.
  • Safe Kids Blair County will provide a training session for parents of booster-age children in the Altoona area. Safe Kids Blair County provides car seat inspections monthly throughout the year as well. To find an inspection site or certified technician near you, call 814-889-7802. Visit www.usa.safekids.org for more information about child passenger safety, including a Parent Toolkit.

    Safe Kids Blair County works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Safe Kids Blair County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Blair County was founded in 1991.

    Safe Kids Buckle Up is a national program developed by Safe Kids Worldwide and sponsored by Chevrolet and General Motors to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of properly restraining children on every ride. The 10-year-old program has:
  • Inspected nearly 700,000 car seats
  • Held more than 15,000 car seat checkup events around the country
  • Donated more than 300,000 car seats to low-income families
  • Given hands-on training to more than 9 million parents and caregivers
  • Launched 119 Mobile Car Seat Check Up Vans - Chevy Express and Chevy Venture vans stocked with supplies and equipment to hold car seat inspections in underserved communities.
  • Safety Belt Fit Test
  • Have the child sit all the way back on the vehicle seat. Do the child's knees bend over the front edge of the seat? Do the child's feet touch the floor?

  • Buckle the lap and shoulder belts. Does the lap belt rest on the upper legs or thighs? Does the shoulder belt rest on the shoulder or collarbone? (Never put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back.)

  • Watch the child for the length of the trip. Can the child stay seated properly with the safety belt buckled? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, keep the child seated on a booster seat. Test again in a few months.




  • February 1, 2006 - M&T BANK DONATES TO ALTOONA REGIONAL TO HELP PROVIDE MEDICAL CARE TO WORKING UNINSURED

    M&T Bank recently contributed $5,000 to the Altoona Hospital Partnership for a Healthy Community, a charitable program operated by Altoona Regional Health System to provide medical care to the working uninsured.



    Bill Bogel (left), M&T vice president and regional executive for private client services, and Mike Settimio (right), M&T vice president for commercial lending, presented the check to Marian Fifer, executive director of the partnership, and Ron McConnell, senior vice president for corporate development for the health system.

    The clinic treated more than 2,000 patients in 2005, including 290 new patients, and made 286 referrals to medical specialists who also volunteered their services. In addition, 12 volunteers, including physicians, contributed more than 1,491 hours of time to the clinic.

    M&T Bank has 11 offices in Blair County and is the leading bank by market share.





    January 30, 2006 - Duggan leaving Altoona Regional to become administrator at Virginia hospital

    Former CEO of Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital was instrumental in the merger of Bon Secours-Holy Family and Altoona Hospital in 2004

    James W. Barner, Altoona Regional president and CEO, says resignation is a loss for the health care system and community

    Note: Dan Duggan and Jim Barner will be available for interviews today from 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. in the Cambria Room, 6th Floor, Outpatient Center of Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Avenue, Altoona.

    Please call and RSVP if you'd like to interview them.

    Daniel Duggan, executive vice president of Altoona Regional Health System, has announced that he is leaving his current position in March to become the administrator of a hospital in Norfolk, Va.

    Duggan, former chief executive officer of Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital, was instrumental in the merger of Bon Secours-Holy Family and Altoona Hospital in 2004. He will be the administrator of DePaul Medical Center, a Bon Secours Health System Inc.-owned facility. Bon Secours Health System owned Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital before the merger and is now part-owner of Altoona Regional.

    "This was a very difficult decision for me," Duggan acknowledged, "because I am truly committed to, and excited about, our newly merged health care system. I firmly stand behind all the decisions that were made to merge the two hospitals and strengthen the quality of health care for our region."

    "I want to reassure the community that the merger is progressing extremely well, and I have faith that Jim Barner and the entire leadership team will continue forward with the integration efforts," Duggan said. "Great things will continue to happen for this region as a result of the hospital merger, and I'm proud to have played a small part in that historic event."

    Duggan stated two reasons for his departure. First, his new administrator role within the Bon Secours Health System affords him an opportunity to steer an organization deeply rooted in a strong Catholic tradition that complements his own personal beliefs. Second, the professional opportunity in Virginia affords both him and his wife the chance to be closer to her aging parents, who have growing personal needs.

    James W. Barner, president and chief executive officer of Altoona Regional, worked closely with Duggan for two years leading up to the merger and in the time since. He said he greeted the news with mixed emotions.

    "While I am happy for Dan's opportunity for continued professional growth, I am saddened at the loss of Dan both personally and for Altoona Regional Health System," Barner said. "He has been a tremendous asset in operationally integrating the two former hospitals into the newly merged system."

    "Dan will be truly missed as a visionary, leader, coworker and friend. His departure creates a significant void on our leadership team, as well as on our board and in this community."

    Duggan's last day at Altoona Regional will be March 17.





    January 26, 2006 - ALTOONA REGIONAL DONATES USED EQUIPMENT TO DEVELOPING NATIONS

    Through an act of generosity made possible by the merger of Altoona and Bon Secours-Holy Family hospitals, Altoona Regional Health System is reaching beyond national and even continental boundaries to donate excess cancer treatment equipment to medically underserved regions of South America.

    One of the goals of the 2004 consolidation of Altoona and Bon Secours-Holy Family hospitals was to save money by combining duplicate services and staff, eliminating the need to purchase costly equipment for two sites.

    The two oncology departments are now the Altoona Regional Center for Cancer Care and have the very latest high-tech radiation therapy treatment planning system. Two excess and unused systems have been donated to medical colleges in Peru and Brazil that couldn't otherwise have afforded them.

    The donated systems and recipients are:
  • A Prowess 2-Dimensional Radiation Therapy Treatment Planning System for the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
  • A Varian Eclipse 3-Dimensional Radiation Therapy Treatment Planning System for the Universidad Nacional De Ingenieria in Lima, Peru.
  • "In keeping with the mission of Altoona Regional - for exceptional people to provide exceptional health care - it was decided to donate the systems to a worthy organization," said Sr. Mary Aquinas Tolusciak, finance assistant, Bon Secours Hospital Campus. "As a system of dedicated caregivers, it was our hope to find someone who would be able to use the equipment to help as many people as possible."

    The equipment was listed for donation on a medical physics Web listing. In addition, Altoona Regional contacted the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP).

    "IOMP has a used-equipment donation program to send good used equipment to facilities that would otherwise not be able to afford them," explained Greg Price, chief medical physicist at Altoona Regional. "What's old to us is actually state-of-the-art in many of these countries."

    Altoona Regional's donation will be used in the training of medical physicists and for the preparation of radiation therapy treatment plans for cancer patients.

    "Currently there is no treatment planning system at our university, and thus no hands-on training," said Raul Gonzales, a physicist associated with the Universidad Nacional De Ingenieria. "We are grateful for this donation. Our students will be better prepared to serve the community in the clinics and hospitals that provide radiation therapy."

    For more information, please contact Anne Stoltz at (814) 889-6405.





    January 23, 2006 - HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS SET FOR FEBRUARY 2006

    Come find out how sturdy and healthy your bones really are with a free heel scan, also known as a bone density screening. Available by appointment only between 12:30 and 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, in the Kaufman Dining Room, Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave., Altoona. For an appointment, please call 889- 2630 or 1-313-4665.

    Appointments accepted for child safety seat installation checkups
    Is your infant or child restrained properly in a safety seat? Find out with a personal appointment to have your car seat installation checked Friday, Feb. 10, in the parking garage at the Altoona Hospital Campus of Altoona Regional Health System, 620 Howard Ave. Look for the Safe Kids Blair County van on the blue level. There is no fee for this important service, sponsored by Safe Kids Blair County and Altoona Regional, its lead agency. Each car seat must be installed in each make of vehicle according to the manufacturer's directions or the car seat may not offer the maximum protection to your child in a crash. Let a certified car seat inspector take a look and show you how to install a car seat or booster seat correctly. Call for your appointment today, 889-7802.

    Learn about the links between spirituality, religion and health
    If you would like to learn more about recent studies which affirm a link between spirituality, religion and health, attend a program Friday, Feb. 10 in the School of Nursing Auditorium, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona. To register for the free program, call 889-2630 or toll-free 1-888-313-4665. Lunch begins at 11 a.m., then, join Pastor Terryann Talbot-Moses, director of Pastoral Care at Altoona Regional, as she discusses the impact of spirituality on your overall well-being. All faiths, religious practices and traditions are welcome. Ample time will be allotted for discussion and questions.

    AARP driver safety program offered by Altoona Regional & AARP
    Drivers age 55 and older are invited to attend a classroom refresher course offered by AARP and Altoona Regional's Healthy Living Club from 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, and Wednesday, Feb. 15.

    The course covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most insurance companies require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

    The classes will be held in the Juniata Room on the sixth floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave. The fee is $10. Registration required. To register, call 889-2630 or toll-free 1-888-313-4665.

    Ladies, how's your heart?
    Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Learn more about the risks for women from this often silent killer as Dr. Tracie Lillie from Blair Medical Associates discusses this very important topic at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the Rotunda, sixth floor, Altoona Hospital Campus.

    February is Heart Health Awareness Month and is an opportune time to learn the latest prevention and treatment options to keep your heart healthy. To register, call 889-2630 or 1-888-313-4665.

    Medical advances in heart devices topic of program
    More and more these days we are hearing about medical advance in devices like pacemakers and defibrillators. What are they, and who would likely need them? Find out through an informative program, Heart to Heart, Friday, Feb. 17, with Kim Koehle, R.N., of Altoona Regional's Cardiac Catheterization Lab. Come for lunch at 11 a.m.; the program will follow. Kim will explain and demonstrate the devices. Ample time will be allotted for questions. The free program takes place in the Trzeciak Suite, Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave., Altoona. To register, call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

    Volunteering is a gift
    It's a new year, and you've decided to do something to make a difference. Consider becoming a hospital volunteer. Find out how Friday, Feb. 24. Cindy Skupien, manager of Volunteer Services, and Jack Freas, president of Friends of Altoona Regional, will share the benefits and rewards of joining this special group of people. Lunch will be served at 11 a.m. followed by the program until 1 p.m. in the Trzeciak Suite, Education Center at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave., Altoona. Through becoming a volunteer, you will do something meaningful, meet new people and make new friends - and feel good in the process. By helping others, we also help ourselves. To register, call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

    YOGA: beginner and intermediate classes, six weeks each
    Gail Murphy, instructor in Hatha Yoga, leads this Healthy Living Club program, which offers mind/body exercise, breath control, stretching and strengthening to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being. This series of beginner and intermediate classes runs Tuesdays, Feb. 28 through April 4, in the Rotunda of the Outpatient Center, 6th floor, on the Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona. The beginner's session is held 5:30-6:40 p.m. and intermediate is 6:50-8 p.m. Please call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Register now as class size limited. Fee $30.





    December 20, 2005 - HEALTHY LIVING CLUB PROGRAMS SET FOR JANUARY 2006

    OSTEOPOROSIS: FREE HEEL SCANS
    Come find out how sturdy and healthy your bones really are with a free bone density screening. Available by appointment only between 12:30 and 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, in the Allegheny Room, Outpatient Center, 6th Floor, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona.

    IS YOUR CAR SEAT INSTALLED CORRECTLY?
    Is your infant or child restrained properly in a safety seat? Find out with a personal appointment to have your car seat installation checked Friday, Jan. 13, in the parking garage at the Altoona Hospital Campus of Altoona Regional Health System, 620 Howard Ave. Look for the Safe Kids Blair County van on the blue level. There is no fee for this important service, sponsored by Safe Kids Blair County and Altoona Regional, its lead agency. Each car seat must be installed in each make of vehicle according to the manufacturer's directions or the car seat may not offer the maximum protection to your child in a crash. Let a certified car seat inspector take a look and show you how to install a car seat or booster seat correctly. Call for your appointment today, 889.7802.

    AARP Driver Safety Program Offered by Altoona Regional & AARP
    Drivers age 55 and older are invited to attend a classroom refresher course offered by AARP and Altoona Regional's Healthy Living Club from 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, and Wednesday, Jan. 11.

    The course covers age-related physical changes, perceptual skills, rules of the road and more. All automobile insurance companies in Pennsylvania provide a premium discount to graduates age 55 and older. Most insurance companies require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

    The classes will be held in the Juniata Room on the sixth floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave. The fee is $10. Registration required. Please call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

    ReSOLUTION SOLUTIONS
    The new year is the perfect time to make healthy choices and the Altoona Regional Healthy Living Club can help. Whether you resolve to stop smoking, begin exercising or lose weight, you need to do some serious preparation work for this change in your life. Dr. Jack Jubala, clinical psychologist at Altoona Regional, will offer some keen insight on how to prepare yourself to succeed. He will share reasonable tips you can follow to help ensure a positive outcome. Join him on Friday, Jan. 20, at 11 a.m. in the Trzeciak Suite, Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus. Lunch is at 11 a.m. followed by the program from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. No fee. Registration required. Please call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

    THIS IS IT! STOP SMOKING NOW!
    You have finally faced the reality of what it's doing to you and made that all important choice - you are going to quit smoking! Here's a great way to reinforce your commitment: an eight-week course offered by Altoona Regional's Healthy Living Club. The weekly sessions will be held Wednesdays, Jan. 25 through March 15, 4-5 p.m. Your lifeline and leader on this journey will be Dr. Jack Jubala, clinical psychologist at Altoona Regional. The fee is $50. Registration is required. Class limited to 15 participants. Please call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

    YOGA: beginner and intermediate classes, six weeks each
    Gail Murphy, instructor in Hatha Yoga, leads this Healthy Living Club program, which offers mind/body exercise, breath control, stretching and strengthening to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being. This series of beginner and intermediate classes runs Tuesdays, Jan. 10 through Feb. 14, in the Rotunda of the Outpatient Center, 6th floor, on the Altoona Hospital Campus. The beginner's session is held 5:30-6:40 p.m. and intermediate is 6:50-8 p.m. Please call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Register now as class size limited. Fee $30.

    Yoga during pregnancy workshop
    Altoona Regional's Healthy Living Club presents Sharon Long, certified yoga instructor with specialized training in prenatal yoga, teaching a two-hour introductory workshop for pregnant women Monday, Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Rotunda, 6th floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. Women learn gentle postures, breath work, toning and meditation to support the body during the pregnancy, birth and after delivery. No previous yoga experience is necessary. Yoga is beneficial at any time during pregnancy. Register by calling 889-2630 or toll-free 1.888.313.4665.

    For those interested, Sharon will offer a six-week series of prenatal yoga classes at the Altoona YWCA on Mondays, Jan. 30 to March 6, 6:30-8 p.m. Fee $60. Please call the YWCA at 944-8119 for more information.

    WINTER CRAFT: BE MY VALENTINE
    Join Sharon Rydbom, Altoona Regional Healthy Living Club's own craft diva, as she guides us in decorating a five wooden "Sweet Tart" heart door/wall decoration, inspired by the Valentine candy. Chase away the wintertime blahs! Join us Friday, Jan. 27, 6:30 p.m. in the Juniata Room, 6th Floor Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. Fee $8. Register by calling 889-2630 or toll-free 1.888.313.4665.

    Materials you will need to bring:
    Strip of soft fabric, 3 inches wide by 30-36 inches long, for the bow at the top (choose a color suitable to your décor); small craft paint brush; glue gun (if you have one) and glue sticks; large Styrofoam plate for paint; two paper towels; scissors; tape measure, and three twist ties.

    BETTER NUTRITION FOR A HEALTHY 2006
    Altoona Regional's Healthy Living Club wants you to start the new year off right with sensible solutions to those problems we all have keeping a resolution to follow a healthy diet. Join Laura Vasbinder, registered dietitian, as she provides good food tips for a healthier you at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 30 in the School of Nursing Auditorium on the Altoona Hospital Campus. Learn which foods to enjoy and which ones to limit in order to feel good, look good and ward off chronic conditions. Ample time will be allotted for questions. Lunch is at 11 a.m. followed by the program from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. No fee. Registration required. Please call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.





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