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News: 2010 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.


12/28/10 - CONTACT INFO FOR FIRST BABY OF NEW YEAR
12/23/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PARTICIPATES IN TOASTY TODDLER PROGRAM
12/23/10 - Altoona Regional Health System is a Donate Life Rose Sponsor
12/09/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL, PENN STATE COLLABORATING FOR LARGE RESEARCH STUDY
12/09/10 - MARSHA L. HALEY, M.D., CERTIFIED BY AMERICAN BOARD OF RADIOLOGY IN THERAPEUTIC RADIOLOGY
12/09/10 - ERIC M. KEPHART, D.O., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF
11/30/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS FOR MARCH 28 HEALTH CARE HONORS RECOGNITION DINNER
11/10/10 - System hosts PAHA Central Region meeting
11/10/10 - ARTHUR J. DEMARSICO, D.O., RECERTIFIED BY AMERICAN REGISTRY FOR DIAGNOSTIC MEDICAL SONOGRAPHY
11/10/10 - Dental clinic receives donation
11/02/10 - HENRY C. WONG, M.D., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF
11/01/10 - SABESAN KARUPPIAH, M.D., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF
11/01/10 - DAVID L. BURWELL, M.D., APPOINTED CHIEF MEDICAL INFORMATION OFFICER
11/01/10 - DAVID L. KERSTETTER JR., M.D., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF
11/01/10 - COREY R. SCHUTT, D.O., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF
10/29/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL VASCULAR SURGEON INSTRUCTS OTHER PHYSICIANS IN ADVANCED ENDOVASCULAR TECHNIQUES
10/28/10 - STAFF CRITICAL CARE NURSE PROMOTED AT ALTOONA REGIONAL
10/28/10 - Altoona Family Physicians residency program recognized
10/21/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN NOVEMBER
10/20/10 - DIRECTOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES HIRED
10/20/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ATTAINS TRAUMA CENTER REACCREDITATION
10/12/10 - FINAL UPDATE RE: VEHICLE ACCIDENT
10/12/10 - MEDIA BRIEFING AS OF 11:30 A.M. RE: VEHICLE ACCIDENT
10/8/10 - UNITED CONCORDIA DENTAL PLANS FREE DAY OF CARE OCT. 15 AT JAMES W. BARNER COMMUNITY PEDIATRIC DENTAL CLINIC
10/7/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OPENS NEW PHYSICAL MEDICINE & REHABILITATION FACILITY IN STATION MEDICAL CENTER
10/3/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL NURSES EARN ADVANCED DEGREES
10/3/10 - SEAN MURPHY HIRED AS DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION SERVICES AT ALTOONA REGIONAL
10/1/10 - MICHAEL J. PREMATTA, M.D., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF
10/1/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL COURIER RETIRES WITH 36 YEARS OF SERVICE
10/1/10 - ADAM J. BLESCIA, M.D., CERTIFIED BY AMERICAN BOARD OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE
9/17/10 - ROUTINE X-RAY PATIENTS PLEASE USE BON SECOURS HOSPITAL CAMPUS
9/17/10 - SAFE KIDS BLAIR COUNTY SPONSORS CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY WEEK EVENTS SEPTEMBER 19-25
9/17/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SETS OCTOBER PROGRAMS
9/16/10 - LABORATORY MEDICAL DIRECTOR RETIRES WITH 36 YEARS OF SERVICE
9/16/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HIRES CLINICAL RECRUITER
9/16/10 - R. CHARLES HOWELLS II, M.D., CERTIFIED BY AMERICAN BOARD OF OTOLARYNGOLOGY
9/16/10 - MANUEL A. 'ALEX' GUERRERO, M.D., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF
9/16/10 - MEERA BAJWA, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
9/16/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN OCTOBER
9/16/10 - FOUNDATION GOLF EVENT RAISES MORE THAN $40,000
9/2/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL NAMES TWO CHAPLAINS TO PASTORAL CARE DEPARTMENT
8/25/10 - Outpatient Diabetes Self-Management Program Receives Accreditation by American Association of Diabetes Educators
8/24/10 - HEILWOOD WOMAN COMPLETES INTERNSHIP
8/24/10 - DELRAN WOMAN COMPLETES NUCLEAR MEDICINE INTERNSHIP
8/20/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS HIRES OFFICE MANAGER
8/20/10 - CHRISTOPHER J. LINCOSKI, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
8/19/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN SEPTEMBER
8/19/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES SEPTEMBER PROGRAMS
8/19/10 - COLLEGE OF HEALTHCARE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVES CERTIFIES ALTOONA REGIONAL CIO
8/11/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL NAMES FOUNDATION PRESIDENT
8/9/10 - GURMEET K. KALRA, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
8/5/10 - SUZANNE Y. DIB, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
8/5/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL EARNS AMERICAN COLLEGE OF RADIOLOGY ACCREDITATION FOR CT TECHNOLOGY GRADUATION EXERCISES
8/5/10 - BON SECOURS HOSPITAL CAMPUS LABORATORY EARNS ACCREDITATION FROM COLLEGE OF AMERICAN PATHOLOGISTS
7/22/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM SCHOOL OF MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY/CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE CONDUCTS GRADUATION EXERCISES
7/19/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES AUGUST PROGRAMS
7/19/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN AUGUST
7/8/10 - IMAGING SERVICES EMPLOYEE RETIRES WITH 35 1/2 YEARS OF SERVICE
7/8/10 - GEORGE W. CUMMINGS III, D.O., OBTAINS BOARD CERTIFICATION BY AMERICAN OSTEOPATHIC BOARD OF SURGERY
7/8/10 - NEW PATIENT ACCESS MANAGER HIRED
7/8/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM BEGINS OFFERING PET/CT IMAGING SERVICES IN-HOUSE
6/24/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ADVANCED PRIMARY STROKE CENTER AWARDED RECERTIFICATION FROM THE JOINT COMMISSION
6/10/10 - HEALTH CARE SYSTEM WINS ADVERTISING AWARDS
6/10/10 - LABORATORY EMPLOYEE RETIRES WITH 34 YEARS OF SERVICE
6/10/10 - NURSE RETIRES WITH 30 YEARS OF SERVICE
6/10/10 - NEW BUYER SELECTED FOR NURSING/EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS
6/10/10 - SHEHNAZ MOHSIN, M.D. JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
6/09/10 - CHECKING ON ELDERLY DURING HEAT WAVE MAY PREVENT DEHYDRATION
5/27/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL RECEIVES AWARD FOR COMMITMENT TO QUALITY CARE FOR STROKE PATIENTS
5/17/10 - INTENSIVE CARE UNIT NURSE EARNS CARDIAC MEDICINE CERTIFICATION
5/14/10 - NUTRITION SERVICES EMPLOYEE RETIRES WITH 40 YEARS OF SERVICE
5/14/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES JUNE PROGRAMS
5/14/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN JUNE
5/13/10 - Delta Dental awards $10,000 grant to Altoona community dental clinics
5/13/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE RECEIVES MORE THAN $6,000 FROM ALTOONA CURVE
5/6/10 - MEDIA ADVISORY
5/4/10 - STROKE AWARENESS MONTH SPECIAL EVENT
4/29/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL CENTER FOR CANCER CARE GRANTED THREE-YEAR ACCREDITATION
4/28/10 - MOBILE LEARNING CENTER FOR ORTHOPEDICS VISITS ALTOONA REGIONAL
4/15/10 - DANIEL Y. LIN, M.D., Ph.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF
4/14/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES MAY PROGRAMS
4/09/10 - NATIONALLY-RECOGNIZED SPEAKER TO HOLD WORKSHOP FOR MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH
4/09/10 - CELEBRATE DONATE LIFE MONTH EVENT
4/2/10 - Outpatient facility will be more convenient Station Medical Center building will eliminate current problems
4/2/10 - New business model helps hospitals succeed Toyota’s industry method has improved patient wait times, eliminates waste
4/2/10 - Health system to use facility as data center
4/01/10 - REGISTERED NURSE RETIRES WITH 42 YEARS OF SERVICE
4/01/10 - REGISTERED NURSE EARNS PROMOTION
4/01/10 - BARBARA M. LABBAN, M.D., CERTIFIED IN NEPHROLOGY BY AMERICAN BOARD OF INTERNAL MEDICINE
4/01/10 - JEEVITH I. KUMARESAN, M.D. CERTIFIED BY AMERICAN BOARD OF PEDIATRICS
3/22/10 - DIET CLERK RETIRES WITH 39 YEARS OF SERVICE
3/19/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN PROVIDES MEDICAL RELIEF TO HAITI EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS
3/16/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ALZHEIMER’S SUPPORT GROUP PRESENTS SPEAKER
3/16/10 - Safe Kids Blair County Joins National Health and Safety Partners to Eliminate "Forgotten Child" Deaths
3/16/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN APRIL
3/15/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES APRIL PROGRAMS
3/15/10 - NATIONAL HEALTH CARE DECISION DAY SET FOR APRIL 16
3/8/10 - COLORECTAL CANCER: THE RISKS AREN'T EQUAL
3/5/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE RECEIVES $10,000 DONATION FROM WEIS MARKETS INC.
3/4/10 - NURSE MANAGER ACCEPTS NEW POSITION
3/4/10 - NURSE EDUCATOR APPOINTED TO STATE NURSES ASSOCIATION POSITION
3/3/10 - PENN STATE ALTOONA LADY LIONS RAISE $1,500 FOR ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE'S TEAM PINK
2/18/10 - PSYCHIATRIST EARNS CERTIFICATION FROM AMERICAN BOARD OF PSYCHIATRY
2/18/10 - PSYCHIATRIST EARNS CERTIFICATION FROM AMERICAN BOARD OF PSYCHIATRY
2/18/10 - CARDIOLOGY TECHNICIAN RETIRES WITH 34 YEARS OF SERVICE
2/18/10 - LOCAL SCHOOLS RAISE $4,500 FOR ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE’S TEAM PINK
2/17/10 - ANNUAL REPORT OUTLINES HEALTH SYSTEM'S IMPACT ON COMMUNITY
2/17/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES MARCH PROGRAMS
2/16/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN MARCH
2/12/10 - PENN STATE ALTOONA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL GAME TO BENEFIT ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE’S TEAM PINK
2/4/10 - SIX ALTOONA FAMILY PHYSICIANS CONTRIBUTE TO NEW BOOK
1/26/10 - LOCAL SCHOOLS JOIN ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE’S TEAM PINK
1/22/10 - GO RED DAY TO SUPPORT THE FIGHT AGAINST HEART DISEASE AND STROKE IN WOMEN SET FOR FRIDAY, FEB. 5
1/21/10 - NURSE RECEIVES MASTER'S DEGREE
1/21/10 - ALTOONA FAMILY PHYSICIANS RESIDENCY PROGRAM EARNS NATIONAL ACCREDITATION
1/21/10 - TWO CARDIOLOGY DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES RETIRE
1/15/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES FEBRUARY ROGRAMS
1/15/10 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN FEBRUARY
1/12/10 - NATIONAL EXPERT ON BREASTFEEDING ISSUES SPEAKS TO CONFERENCE
1/8/10 - IN-SERVICE ON CONCUSSION EDUCATION FOR ALTOONA AREA JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL PERSONNEL
1/2/10 - FIRST BLAIR COUNTY BABY OF NEW YEAR BORN AT ALTOONA REGIONAL

December 28, 2010 - CONTACT INFO FOR FIRST BABY OF NEW YEAR

To set up interviews and video opportunities regarding first baby of the New Year coverage, contact Anne Stoltz at 814.934.1799 by 10 a.m., Jan. 1, 2011.

Altoona Regional Health System will provide gifts for the first baby born in 2011 and the last baby born in 2010. For your convenience, here is the list of gifts:

The family of the first baby born at Altoona Regional receives the following gifts:
  • Mother: a dozen red roses and a $50 gift certificate from Target
  • Father: $50 gift certificate from Target
  • Baby: $200 savings bond
  • A newborn picture taken at the hospital at no charge.
The families of other babies born here Jan. 1 receive:
  • Mother(s): 1/2 dozen red roses and a $25 gift certificate from Target
  • Father(s): $25 gift certificate from Target
  • Baby(ies): $75 savings bond
  • A newborn picture taken at the hospital at no charge.
The last baby born in 2010 at Altoona Regional receives:
  • Mother: a dozen red roses and a $50 gift certificate from Target
  • Father: $50 gift certificate from Target
  • Baby: $100 savings bond
  • A newborn picture taken at the hospital at no charge.







December 23, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL PARTICIPATES IN TOASTY TODDLER PROGRAM

Donations to the Toasty Toddler project
Altoona Regional employees, volunteers and physicians donated over 90 winter coats, plus mittens, gloves, hats and snow pants as part of the Family Resource Center's Toasty Toddler project.

In addition, coordinators received $600 in cash donations for the program. Keeping true to their employer's mission, the response and generosity of Altoona Regional staff was overwhelming.

Photo: (from left) - Jo Lines, R.N.; Annette Glista, R.N.; Cathy Cummings, R.N., and Barbara Mercer, R.N., all from Same Day Surgery at Altoona Hospital Campus, display some of the winter coats their department donated to the Toasty Toddler program.






December 23, 2010 - Altoona Regional Health System is a Donate Life Rose Sponsor

The Donate Life float in the annual Rose Parade, which is watched by tens of millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide on New Year's Day, will include roses donated by Altoona Regional.

The roses honor donors, recipients and others touched by organ and tissue donation.

"We are proud to honor families of organ, eye and tissue donors that we have served," said President and CEO Jerry Murray. "Our dedicated Donate Life Roses recognize the generosity of donors and their families. Through our participation we join in a meaningful tribute that reverently celebrates our role as a vital collaborative partner in the organ and tissue donation process."

Altoona Regional is a recipient of the National Medal of Honor presented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recognizing an organ donation consent conversion rate of at least 75 percent within a 12-month cycle. Altoona Regional's rate was 92.9.






December 9, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL, PENN STATE COLLABORATING FOR LARGE RESEARCH STUDY

Altoona Regional is collaborating with Penn State University Park on a five-year research study entitled "Early Nurse Detection of Delirium Superimposed on Dementia."

Delirium is sudden, severe confusion and rapid changes in brain function that occur with physical or mental illness. It is estimated 22-89 percent of hospitalized patients over the age of 65 may develop delirium while in the hospital. This has been shown to increase a patient's length of stay and increase unexpected outcomes such as falls and skin breakdown, among others.

This research not only is important to increasing the science of treatment of patients who may potentially develop delirium in the hospital, but it provides an opportunity for Altoona Regional nurses to be a part of a national research study.

One of the goals of the Altoona Regional research program is to bridge the gap between academia and the clinical setting to promote research utilization. These collaborative efforts help accomplish that bridge.

This study was approved by both the Altoona Regional and Penn State institutional review boards. In addition, this study has been funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The study is led by Donna Fick, Ph.D., primary investigator, Penn State; Jane McDowell, project coordinator at Penn State, and Kim Corle, Quality Management, Altoona Regional, who will coordinate the research efforts at the Altoona Regional site. The study is being conducted at Altoona Regional, Vanderbilt and Mount Nittany Medical Center. The researchers hope to begin enrolling patients in the study in January.






December 9, 2010 - MARSHA L. HALEY, M.D., CERTIFIED BY AMERICAN BOARD OF RADIOLOGY IN THERAPEUTIC RADIOLOGY

Marsha L. Haley, M.D.
Marsha L. Haley, M.D., a member of the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff, has been certified by the American Board of Radiology in Therapeutic Radiology through Dec. 31, 2020.

Dr. Haley is a radiation oncologist with Altoona Regional's Center for Cancer Care.

Board certification is a voluntary program in which specialists seek to improve their performance and demonstrate a commitment to their profession. Certification involves the passage of both written and oral examinations.






December 9, 2010 - System hosts PAHA Central Region meeting

Eric M. Kephart, D.O.
Eric M. Kephart, D.O., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the Department of Family Medicine (Sports Medicine).

Dr. Kephart practices with Blair Orthopedics, 3000 Fairway Drive, Altoona.

He is board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians.

He received his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his fellowship in Sports Medicine at St. Joseph Medical Center in Reading.

Dr. Kephart is a member of the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine.






November 30, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS FOR MARCH 28 HEALTH CARE HONORS RECOGNITION DINNER

Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life's second Health Care Honors recognition dinner will take place March 28 at the Blair County Convention Center, Altoona.

Health Care Honors is held to recognize exceptional personal contributions by Altoona Regional board members and employees, as well as associated health, safety and social service providers and philanthropists, to improve community health. Proceeds are used to support a recognized institutional need.

The 2011 Health Care Honors dinner will recognize people in six distinct award recognition categories:

Board of Directors Award — This honor is reserved for an Altoona Regional board member who has provided outstanding leadership and/or service that has resulted in policies or actions that have improved the quality of health care services or led to improved efficiency and financial performance.

Award of Honor — This honor will recognize creative, insightful, effective and altruistic leadership by an Altoona Regional employee or community member during his or her lifetime to ensure exceptional health care or essential social support services for the community.

Health Care Professional Award — The recipient of this award will be a physician, nurse or allied health care professional who has demonstrated long-term (multiyear or lifetime) contributions of personal time, talent and/or financial resources to the health system and/or community health or social service needs. Nominees should be leaders who help set a standard for exceptional and compassionate patient care.

Volunteer Award — This award will be presented to someone who gives significant personal time and talent to Altoona Regional for the benefit of the health or welfare of our community. Nominees should have a record of long-term, selfless and exceptional dedication to nonprofit health, family service, social welfare or religious organizations that improve our community.

First Responder "Hero" Award — Nominees for this award will have provided exceptional life-sustaining care to a patient or community member(s). In addition to Altoona Regional employees, nominees can be firefighters, police officers, EMTs or others who have performed unselfish acts with a risk to their own life.

Philanthropy Award — This honor is reserved for people, foundations or businesses who have helped establish a standard of philanthropic giving to Altoona Regional Health System's Foundation for Life. Candidates for this award will have made an exceptional outright or planned charitable contribution to improve access to health care or to expand health care programs or services for the benefit of all members of our community.

Nomination forms are available at www.altoonaregional.org/gift_giving.

Nominations must be submitted no later than December 31, to the Foundation for Life at 620 Howard Ave., Altoona.

You can get ticket information on the Web site or from the Foundation office, 889.6406






November 10, 2010 - System hosts PAHA Central Region meeting

Friends of Altoona Regional
Friends of Altoona Regional, the system's auxiliary, recently hosted a meeting of the 23 auxiliaries that comprise the Central Region of the Pennsylvania Association of Healthcare Auxiliaries (PAHA). During the day's events, Louise Berry of Friends, who serves as state secretary/treasurer of PAHA, installed PAHA officers, including Friends President Vicki Baughman as president of the Central Region.

Photo: PAHA officers are (from left) - Louise Berry; Vicki Baughman; Cherri LeBard, president-elect; Helen Shelley, vice president; M. Ann Rinker, recording secretary; Oksana DeArment, corresponding secretary, and Fran Hartman, treasurer.






November 10, 2010 - ARTHUR J. DEMARSICO, D.O., RECERTIFIED BY AMERICAN REGISTRY FOR DIAGNOSTIC MEDICAL SONOGRAPHY

Arthur J. DeMarsico, D.O.
Arthur J. DeMarsico, D.O., a board certified vascular surgeon with Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery of Altoona Inc., 620 Howard Ave., Altoona, was recently recertified by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) for his Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) certification. This is a globally recognized standard of excellence in sonography.

Diagnostic sonography is an ultrasound-based diagnostic imaging technique used to visualize body structures, including tendons, muscles, joints, vessels and internal organs, for possible pathology or lesions.

ARDMS promotes quality care and patient safety through the certification and continuing competency of ultrasound professionals.

Criteria for recertification include a minimum of 500 vascular laboratory studies and 12 credit hours of ARDMS-accepted continuing medical education credits specifically related to vascular ultrasound.

The RPVI credential, offered exclusively to physicians, validates the clinical expertise fundamental to vascular sonography interpretation and provides recognition of the skills and knowledge required in making consistent and reliable diagnoses in vascular disease.






November 10, 2010 - Dental clinic receives donation

United Concordia Dental donates $1,000 to James W. Barner Community Dental Clinic
United Concordia Dental recently donated $1,000 to offset expenses, such as supplies and equipment, related to providing dental care to about 2,000 children in the James W. Barner Community Dental Clinic in the Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center (GACTC).

Children primarily come from throughout Blair County. The endeavor is a partnership between the Altoona Regional Partnership for a Healthy Community and GACTC.

Photo: Woodrow Greene (second from right), community outreach coordinator, United Concordia Dental, presents check to Cloyd Beers, executive director, Altoona Regional Partnership for a Healthy Community. With them (from left) are: Lanny F. Ross, D. Ed., executive director, GACTC; Julia Mallory, community outreach representative, United Concordia Dental, and Donald J. Betar, D.M.D., clinical director.






November 2, 2010 - HENRY C. WONG, M.D., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF

Henry C. Wong, M.D.
Henry C. Wong, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the Department of Specialized Surgery, Clinical Service of Urology.

Dr. Wong practices with Blair Medical Associates, 601 Hawthorne Drive, Suite 100, Hollidaysburg.

He is board certified by the American Board of Urology.

He received his medical degree from Rush Medical College, Chicago. He completed his residency at Naval Medical Center, San Diego.






November 1, 2010 - SABESAN KARUPPIAH, M.D., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF

Sabesan Karuppiah, M.D.
Sabesan Karuppiah, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the Department of Family Medicine.

Dr. Karuppiah practices with Altoona Family Physicians.

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

He received his medical degree from Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institution, India. He completed his residency at Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center in New York and his fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.






November 1, 2010 - DAVID L. BURWELL, M.D., APPOINTED CHIEF MEDICAL INFORMATION OFFICER

David L. Burwell, M.D.
David L. Burwell, M.D., will serve as Altoona Regional Health System's Chief Medical Information Officer.

In this new part-time role that is a result of funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Dr. Burwell will lead physician and clinical adoption of various physician-centric technology projects such as Computerized Physician Order Entry, clinical documentation applications and medication management systems.

Dr. Burwell will continue to practice family medicine in his office at 764 Plaza, Suite. 3, Duncansville.






November 1, 2010 - DAVID L. KERSTETTER JR., M.D., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF

DAVID L. KERSTETTER JR., M.D.
David L. Kerstetter Jr., M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the Department of Medicine/Gastroenterology.

Dr. Kerstetter practices with Blair Gastroenterology, 810 Valley View Boulevard, Altoona.

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

He received his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Harvard University, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and a fellowship in Gastroenterology at Brown University, Warren Alpert Medical School.






November 1, 2010 - COREY R. SCHUTT, D.O., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF

Corey R. Schutt, D.O.
Corey R. Schutt, D.O., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the Department of Orthopedics.

Dr. Schutt practices with University Orthopedics Center, 1505 9th Ave., Altoona.

He is board eligible by the American Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

He received his medical degree from Nova Southeastern University, Florida. He completed his residency at Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania and his fellowship in Orthopedic Trauma at Medical University of South Carolina.






October 29, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL VASCULAR SURGEON INSTRUCTS OTHER PHYSICIANS IN ADVANCED ENDOVASCULAR TECHNIQUES

Arthur J. DeMarsico, D.O.
Arthur J. DeMarsico, D.O., a board certified vascular surgeon with Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery of Altoona Inc., 620 Howard Ave., Altoona, recently instructed physicians from throughout the country in advanced endovascular repair techniques at three different programs.

On Sept. 13 and 14 and Oct. 11 and 12, Dr. DeMarsico served as a faculty member for "Endovascular Advances: A Hands-On Preceptorship Program," presented by the Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning (ACHL), Chicago. Radiologist Richard Wertz, M.D., of Lexington Radiology, exclusive provider of radiology services at Altoona Regional, served as co-faculty for the programs.

Two additional such courses will be offered at Altoona Regional. ACHL offers accreditation services for a variety of clinicians, including physicians. These programs are for interventional cardiologists, vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists who want to expand their hands-on experience in the treatment of peripheral vascular disease.

On Sept. 23 and 24, Dr. DeMarsico served as co-moderator and faculty member for "Gore Advanced Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm," an endovascular course in Charleston, S.C. Dr. DeMarsico served as a co-moderator with Dr. David Minion from the University of Kentucky. Drs. DeMarsico and Minion instructed others in advanced techniques for endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair.






October 28, 2010 - STAFF CRITICAL CARE NURSE PROMOTED AT ALTOONA REGIONAL

Registered nurse Delores Smithbauer, C.C.R.N., C.M.C., of Ebensburg was recently promoted to night shift clinical nurse manager in the Intensive Care Unit .

Before her promotion, Smithbauer worked in the Medical Intensive Care Unit as a registered nurse. During her nearly 10 years in the health system, she has also worked in the Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit and the Emergency department.

Smithbauer received her registered nurse diploma in 1999 from the Conemaugh School of Nursing, Johnstown. She received her critical care registered nurse certification in 2004 and her cardiac medicine certification earlier this year. She is enrolled at Mount Aloysius College, Cresson, in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.






October 28, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN NOVEMBER

Altoona Family Physicians (AFP) presented Gateway to Physicians award
Gateway Health Plan recently presented Altoona Family Physicians (AFP) with the "Gateway to Physicians" award for its quality, accessibility and efficiency of faculty, residents and staff. AFP is one of the largest providers in the Blair County area to Gateway patients.

Photo: Tim Bechard, Gateway Health Plan representative (center), presented a check and the award to Dr. Arthur Morrow, AFP associate director (left), and Sue Daniele, AFP billing assistant.






October 21, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN NOVEMBER

Altoona Regional Health System offers the following support group meetings and patient clinics in November as a public service to the community. They are listed alphabetically according to the campus on which they are conducted.

Support groups meeting on the Altoona Hospital Campus use the Allegheny and Bedford rooms and the Rotunda on the 6th floor of the Outpatient Center, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona; Dining Room B adjacent to the main cafeteria, and the 4F Conference Room in the Behavioral Health Center, 5th Street and Willow Avenue.

The Bariatric Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 943-7040 for information.

Breastfeeding classes are offered to expectant parents Wednesdays, Nov. 3 and 10, from 6-8 p.m. in the Rotunda. For more information, call 889-2557.

The Breastfeeding Support Group meets at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 889-2557.

The Caregivers Corner Support Group meets at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, at Hoss's in Duncansville. For information, call 889-3123.

Central Pennsylvania Ostomy Society meets at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, in the Rotunda, Outpatient Center. Call 944-2766 for information.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Group meets at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Dining Room B, Fourth Floor, Tower. Call 889-2141 for information.

Diabetes Outpatient Education is available by individual appointment and group sessions. A referral by a physician is required. Call 889-2487 for information.

The Lap Band Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, in the Bedford Room. Call 943-7040 for information.

The Parkinson's Support Group meets at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 29, at Hoss's Restaurant, Altoona. Call 889-2141 for information.

The Support Group for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, in the 4F Conference Room. Call 889-2141 for information.

The following support groups and clinics meet at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, 2500 7th Ave. The Trzeciak Conference Suite is in the Education Center at 2621 8th Ave. For Kaufman Dining Room and fourth floor waiting room, please use the 7th Avenue entrance.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m. every Monday in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 946-9002.

The Breast Cancer Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, in the Trzeciak Conference Suite. For information, call 886-6458.

The Faith-based Bereavement/Grief Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Nov. 3 and 17, in the fourth floor waiting room. For information, call 889-3323.

Look Good...Feel Better workshop facilitated by trained cosmetologists who teach women with cancer how to understand and care for changes in skin and hair that may occur during treatment. This program is offered Nov. 4 from 6-8 p.m. in the Trzeciak Conference Suite. It is presented in partnership with the American Cancer Society, Personal Care Products Council Foundation and the Professional Beauty Association/National Cosmetology Association. For information, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

The Sleep Apnea Support Group, for people using CPAP or BiPAP therapy, meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, in the Institute for Sleep Medicine waiting room, 4th floor. For information, call 889-4466.

The Stroke Support Group meets at noon Tuesday, Nov. 9, in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 889-4463.

A Wheelchair Clinic will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, in the second floor Physical Medicine gym. Physician referral required. Call for information and appointment, 889-4463.






October 20, 2010 - DIRECTOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES HIRED

Thomas N. Jones of Ruston, La.
Altoona Regional Health System recently hired Thomas N. Jones of Ruston, La., as director of Environmental Services.

Jones previously worked as director of Environmental Services/Housekeeping Services Support at Sodexho, a national housekeeping contractor. Earlier in his career, he worked for Christus Spohn Health System, where he supervised 200 employees at the 720-bed medical center; University of Chicago Hospitals, an 887-bed, four-hospital campus, and ARAMARK USA, another national housekeeping contractor.






October 20, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ATTAINS TRAUMA CENTER REACCREDITATION

Altoona Regional Health System has received reaccreditation through Sept. 30, 2013, from the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation as an Adult Level II trauma center. It has held that accreditation since 2002.

Primarily serving 14 counties in Central Pennsylvania, the Trauma Center cares for a higher volume of trauma patients than the required yearly volume of 350. In January, the Trauma Center reached a total volume of 10,000 patients seen since becoming accredited.

Effective Oct. 1, there are 31 hospitals that are accredited trauma centers in the state, including 14 Adult Level I trauma centers and 12 Adult Level II trauma centers, including Altoona Regional; four Pediatric Level I trauma centers, two Pediatric Level II trauma centers, and two Level III trauma centers.

In Pennsylvania there are three levels of trauma centers. Level I trauma centers require trauma research, a surgical residency program, and an annual volume of 650 major patients per year.

A level II trauma center meets the same high level of care but does not require the research and residency components, and volume requirements are 350 major trauma patients per year.

Level III trauma centers are smaller community hospitals which do not require a minimum volume of trauma patients. Their focus is to stabilize severe trauma in preparation for transport to a higher level trauma center as well as care for patients with moderate trauma. They do not need neurosurgical resources.

Level I and II trauma centers can also be categorized as either Adult Trauma Centers or Pediatric Trauma Centers.

Each trauma center regardless of its level is an integral component of the emergency medical services system.






October 12, 2010 - FINAL UPDATE RE: VEHICLE ACCIDENT

Altoona Regional Health System has treated or is treating 14 people involved in a car-bus accident in Cambria County. The 14 people included 13 Penn Cambria students and a bus driver.

Twelve of the 14 were brought to Altoona Hospital Campus, two to Bon Secours Hospital Campus.

Ten students have been treated for minor injuries and released. Three other patients have been admitted. No information is available on the 14th patient.

For further information on the admitted patients, you must call 889.2271 with their name. If they have agreed to allow us to release information, we will do so. Otherwise, we must say that we have no information available on that person.

Also, according to hospital policy, after any patient's death, discharge or transfer, the hospital is no longer in a position to disclose information to the media concerning that person.

All policies on the release of patient information comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) guidelines.






October 12, 2010 - MEDIA BRIEFING AS OF 11:30 A.M. RE: VEHICLE ACCIDENT

Altoona Regional Health System has treated or is treating 14 people involved in a car-bus accident on Gallitzin Road, Cambria County. The 14 people included 13 students and a bus driver.

Twelve of the 14 were brought to Altoona Hospital Campus, two to Bon Secours Hospital Campus.

Nine students have been treated for minor injuries and released.

The conditions of the remaining patients are not available at this time.






October 8, 2010 - UNITED CONCORDIA DENTAL PLANS FREE DAY OF CARE OCT. 15 AT JAMES W. BARNER COMMUNITY PEDIATRIC DENTAL CLINIC

WHAT: United Concordia Dental donates free day of dental care to area children.

WHEN: 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 15.

WHERE: James W. Barner Community Pediatric Dental Clinic, GACTC, 1500 4th Ave., Altoona. The clinic is a partnership between the Altoona Regional Partnership for a Healthy Community and Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center. The news conference will take place first in Room 237. Video/photos will be available of patient care being given in the dental clinic itself.

WHY: Pennsylvania received an F in addressing children's dental health (Pew Charitable Trust); October is National Oral Hygiene Month; funding is needed to support the clinic.

WHO: Woodrow Greene, community outreach coordinator, United Concordia Dental
Cloyd Beers, executive director, Altoona Regional Partnership for a Healthy Community
Donald J. Betar, D.M.D., clinical director
Lanny F. Ross, D.Ed., executive director, GACTC
Ron McConnell, Altoona Regional chief operating officer






October 7, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OPENS NEW PHYSICAL MEDICINE & REHABILITATION FACILITY IN STATION MEDICAL CENTER

(Assignment Editors: The opportunity to take photos and video will be available Monday, Oct. 11. Please call 889-2622 to make arrangements.)

Altoona Regional Health System will open its first outpatient service — Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Services — in the Station Medical Center on Monday, Oct. 11.

The 10,115-square-foot facility features:
  • Two HydroTracks, an underwater treadmill designed to provide hydrotherapy to the back and lower extremities
  • A fully-equipped gym with state-of-the-art isokinetic testing for joints (provides joint-specific strength assessment for joint problems and/or following orthopedic surgery such as knee replacements and other orthopedic surgeries)
  • Functional assessments using primus BTE (functional capacities, pre-employment screening and work hardening and conditioning)
Additional services include:
  • A full-range of physical therapy
  • A full complement of occupational therapy, including a certified hand therapist and manual lymphatic drainage
  • Speech therapy with a certified speech pathologist
  • Vestibular and balance rehabilitation featuring the Biodex Balance System
"This is a spacious, very convenient facility designed with our patients in mind," said Paul Tryninewski, director of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. "It is convenient both to the other medical practices at the Station Medical Center and it also very accessible to major roadways off of 17th Street and I-99. The new site also features ample, door-side parking."

The outpatient Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Services department has increased its staff and hours to better serve patients. Expanded hours will be Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to noon. The department also has a new phone number (889-3900) and a new fax number (889-3902).

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation is the first of many services to move into Station Medical Center.

"The consolidation of our outpatient services and staffs at Station Medical Center is yet another way we are enhancing health care for our community," said Jerry Murray, Altoona Regional president and CEO. "The services will not only be more accessible but many will also offer updated and upgraded technology, especially Imaging Services with digital mammography and a wide-bore MRI."

Wide-bore MRI offers all the features of traditional MRI but with more room.

Imaging Services will begin its move to Station Medical Center in stages sometime after Jan. 1.

Other services moving to the Station Medical Center include Cardiac Rehabilitation, Sleep Lab, HealthForce, Outpatient Laboratory Services, Neurology testing and Pre-Anesthesia. These departments will have staggered move-in dates in the next 30-60 days.

Patient Access (registration) will also have staff at the new site.

Altoona Regional is a nonprofit community health care provider. Two acute-care hospitals anchor the 497-bed system, which includes more than 20 affiliated health care companies. Altoona Regional offers centers of excellence in cancer care, heart care, neurosciences, behavioral health, vascular and wound care and much more. Its Regional Trauma Center serves more than 20 counties in Central Pennsylvania. The mission of Altoona Regional Health System is for exceptional people to provide exceptional health care.






October 1, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL NURSES EARN ADVANCED DEGREES

An Altoona Regional Health System administrative director and two nursing clinical managers have received advanced educational degrees.

Christel Grazier, R.N., B.S.N., C.N.O.R., of Tyrone, administrative director of Surgical Services, and Cherie Steele, R.N., B.S.N., C.N.O.R., of Martinsburg, clinical manager of Operating Room Services, obtained their Masters in Health and Human Service Administration from Mount Aloysius College, Cresson.

Dawn Schandelmeier, R.N., of Altoona, Medical Progressive Care Unit clinical manager, recently completed her Master of Science degree in Nursing and Business Administration Health Care Management from the University of Phoenix.

Christel Grazier, R.N., B.S.N., C.N.O.R., of Tyrone Cherie Steele, R.N., B.S.N., C.N.O.R., of Martinsburg Dawn Schandelmeier, R.N., of Altoona
Christel Grazier, R.N., B.S.N.,
C.N.O.R., of Tyrone
Cherie Steele, R.N., B.S.N.,
C.N.O.R., of Martinsburg
Dawn Schandelmeier,
R.N., of Altoona







October 1, 2010 - SEAN MURPHY HIRED AS DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION SERVICES AT ALTOONA REGIONAL

Sean Murphy
Former Altoona native Sean Murphy, currently of Frederick, Md., has been hired as director of Information Systems at Altoona Regional Health System.

Murphy is responsible for information technology and services in support of the health system's two hospital campuses and all customer support issues. He leads business process and networking infrastructure modernization efforts such as computerized provider order entry and relocation of the enterprise data center. He directs IT and telecommunications initiatives and help desk support and guides clinical and business application development and sustainment.

Murphy retired Oct. 1 as a lieutenant colonel with 21 years of service. He served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. His final assignment was at Fort Detrick, Md., where he served as chief information security officer.

He received his bachelor's degree in Human Resources and Labor Relations from the University of Maryland, a Master of Science degree in Health Care Administration from Central Michigan University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Florida.

Murphy is a board certified Health Care Administrator through the American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE) where he has attained fellow status.

He is also board certified by Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS).






October 1, 2010 - MICHAEL J. PREMATTA, M.D., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF

Michael J. Prematta, M.D.
Michael J. Prematta, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the Department of Medicine/Internal Medicine, Clinical Service of Allergy and Immunology.

Dr. Prematta practices with Central Pennsylvania Asthma and Allergy Care, 501 Howard Ave., Suite A202, Altoona.

He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He is board eligible with the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

He received his medical degree from Penn State University College of Medicine. He completed his residency and a fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.






October 1, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL COURIER RETIRES WITH 36 YEARS OF SERVICE

Calvin Blontz Jr. of Pinecroft
Calvin Blontz Jr. of Pinecroft recently retired as a courier in the Supply Chain department of Altoona Regional Health System with 36 years of service.

He was hired in 1974 for the floor crew in Housekeeping. After two years, he transferred to Supportive Services where he worked for 18 1/2 years. Then, Blontz became an anesthesia aide for three years before transferring into the Supply Chain department in 1990.






October 1, 2010 - ADAM J. BLESCIA, M.D., CERTIFIED BY AMERICAN BOARD OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE

Adam J. Blescia, M.D.
Adam J. Blescia, M.D., a member of the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the Department of Emergency Services, has been certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) through Dec. 31, 2020.

Certification is sought and earned by physicians on a voluntary basis. ABEM certifies only those physicians who meet high educational, professional standing and examination standards.






September 17, 2010 - ROUTINE X-RAY PATIENTS PLEASE USE BON SECOURS HOSPITAL CAMPUS

All patients needing routine outpatient X-rays should go to the Bon Secours Hospital Campus of Altoona Regional Health System to have them taken until further notice. Please use the 8th Avenue entrance.

Construction is being done to enhance Imaging Services on the Altoona Hospital Campus. Thank you for your cooperation.






September 17, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SETS OCTOBER PROGRAMS

During Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 19-25, Altoona Regional Health System and Safe Kids Blair County join the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to remind families to review their child's safety in the family vehicle.

The theme of Child Passenger Safety Week 2010 "Back to Basics - Safe from, the Start" - reminds parents and caregivers that as children go back to school, it is a good time to evaluate the safety of all children traveling in vehicles. Going back to the basics of buckling up every one, every time will ensure the safety of Pennsylvania families. Buckling up is a habit that should start from birth and follow through to adulthood.

On an average day in Pennsylvania, there are about 350 crashes on state highways. It is a fact that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children ages 3 to 21, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Correctly buckling up a child in a safety seat, booster seat or seat belt is the single most effective way to protect motor vehicle occupants and to reduce fatalities in a crash.

Safe Kids Blair County will conduct a child safety seat inspection station at Sam's Club, Altoona, Thursday, Sept. 23, from 3 to 6 p.m. and at Radio Station WRTA parking lot, 2513 6th Ave., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24.

Here are some safety tips to help families "get back to basics":
  • Restrain all adults and children on every trip, every time.
  • Keep your child in the back seat.
  • Use child safety seats and booster seats correctly. Last year, at PennDOT-funded car seat inspection stations, more than eight out of 10 child safety seats checked were being used improperly.
  • Use the best safety restraint for your child's size. Take into account a child's age, weight, height, physical development and behavior.
Here are four steps to help decide which type of child safety seat is best:

1. Infants ride rear-facing in infant car seats/rear-facing convertible car seats until they weigh at least 20 pounds AND are at least 1 year of age. For optimal protection, use a rear-facing car seat until the child reaches the maximum weight and/or height allowed by the manufacturer.

2. Forward-facing toddler car seats from a minimum age 1 and at least 20 pounds to around age 4 and at least 40 pounds.

3. Booster seats from about 4 years old and at least 40 pounds to age 8, unless 4'9".

4. Lap and shoulder safety belts at age 8 or older and 4'9" tall when the vehicle seat belt fits correctly. Children under 13 should ride in a back seat of the vehicle.

Under Pennsylvania's child passenger safety law, all drivers are responsible for securing children in the appropriate child restraint system and are responsible for the front seat occupants to wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt system.






September 17, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SETS OCTOBER PROGRAMS

The Healthy Living Club has scheduled the following educational programs and screenings for October as a community service. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665 to make an appointment or to register. The Altoona Hospital Campus is at 620 Howard Ave.; the Bon Secours Hospital Campus is at 2500 7th Ave., and the Education Center is at 2621 8th Ave.

A free osteoporosis screening (heel scan) is available for men and women by appointment only on Friday, Oct. 8, from 12:30-3 p.m. in the Kaufman Dining Room, Bon Secours Hospital Campus.

No fee. Call 889.2630 to schedule your appointment. Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease" because bone loss happens without symptoms. Osteoporosis occurs when, over time, bone loss causes bones to become porous, brittle and more likely to break. This painless screening takes just a few minutes and assesses bone density in the heel (a good indicator of bone health and fracture risk) by using ultrasound. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

A peripheral artery disease (PAD) screening is available by appointment only 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, and Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the Vascular Institute, 3rd floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. No fee. Call 889.2005 or 1.877.855.8152 to schedule your appointment.

Peripheral artery disease occurs when plaque clogs leg arteries or vessels and restricts blood flow. Untreated PAD can not only make walking difficult but may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Kay Adams, nurse practitioner and manager of Central Pa. Cardiovascular Associates, will check for PAD with an ABI (ankle-brachial index) screen, a painless process in which blood pressure is measured in legs and arms to determine blood flow. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

A seven-week "Freedom From Tobacco: Paths to a Tobacco-Free Future," class will be conducted Thursdays, Oct. 7 through Nov. 18, at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Oak Room, 2621 8th Ave., 1:30-2:30 p.m. or 5:30-6:30 p.m. No fee. Registration required. Seating limited. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

Join Machel Drahnak, certified tobacco treatment specialist, as she explains steps to becoming tobacco-free. Using materials from the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center for smokers and smokeless tobacco users, she will help you understand tobacco addiction, create a quit plan, change behavior and thinking about using tobacco, manage weight and prevent relapse. Approximately a six-week supply of free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges is available after physician notification. Make the decision to quit today.

A Child Safety Seat Checkup Station will be conducted Friday, Oct. 8, 9:30-11 a.m. in the Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level. Look for the Safe Kids van. No fee. By appointment only. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889.7802. Find out if your child's safety seat is installed properly. Your child's life may depend on it.

Seniors for Safe Driving, a four-hour refresher course for anyone who has taken the eight-hour course will be offered Tuesday, Oct. 12, 6-10 p.m., at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite, 2621 8th Ave. Fee: $15. Registration required. Call 1.800.559.4880 or log on to www.sfsd-pa.com.

This classroom 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 require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

Join Randy Grabill, Altoona Regional clinical dietitian, for "Don't Put It on the Table Until You Read the Label: Giant Eagle Store Tour" on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. at the Giant Eagle Grocery Store, Logan Towne Center, Altoona.
No fee. Registration required. Tour size limited. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

Join Grabill as he guides you through Giant Eagle grocery store, showing you how to shop smart with your good health and a nutritious diet in mind. Learn what foods to look for, what foods to avoid, and how to read nutrition information on food labels. He will point out the marketing lingo that can be misleading and help you become a savvy consumer who chooses healthy and nutritious foods.

Dr. Mlen-Too Wesley, a conflict management specialist, faculty member at Penn State Altoona and member of the Altoona Regional Pastoral Care team, will help people through healing and building healthy interpersonal relationships with "Conflict and Healing Emotional Wounds." This four-week series is offered Wednesdays, Oct. 13 Nov. 3 inclusive, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Oak Room, 2621 8th Ave. Fee $25. Registration required. Class size limited. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Conflict causes emotional wounds and pain that need to be healed, not just managed. Healing brings wholeness, peace, restoration and good health.

Join Bob Strawser, executive director of Mission/Customer Service, as he explains the enhancements happening at Altoona Regional, especially the plan to reduce waiting times in the ER. Find out what services will be located in the former Altoona Center and about the consolidation of acute-care services on the Altoona Hospital Campus. Get the latest on the relocation of outpatient services to the Station Medical Center during "Toward World-Class Local Health Care" on Friday, Oct. 15. Lunch at 11 a.m. followed by program until 1 p.m. at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite, 2621 8th Ave. No fee. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

Altoona Regional is a nonprofit community health care provider. Two acute-care hospitals anchor the 497-bed system, which includes more than 20 affiliated health care companies. Altoona Regional offers centers of excellence in cancer care, heart care, neurosciences, behavioral health, vascular and wound care and much more. Its Regional Trauma Center serves more than 20 counties in Central Pennsylvania. The mission of Altoona Regional Health System is for exceptional people to provide exceptional health care.






September 16, 2010 - LABORATORY MEDICAL DIRECTOR RETIRES WITH 36 YEARS OF SERVICE

Americo B. Anton, M.D.
Americo B. Anton, M.D., medical director of Laboratory Services at Altoona Regional Health System, recently retired with 36 years of service.

Dr. Anton was hired at Altoona Hospital as an assistant pathologist on July 1, 1974. He became an associate pathologist in 1984 and was promoted to medical director in 2000.

He lives in Hollidaysburg.






September 16, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HIRES CLINICAL RECRUITER

Rosemarie
Rosemarie "Ro" Gibson, R.N., BSN, of Altoona, has been hired as the clinical recruiter for Altoona Regional. As a clinical recruiter, her responsibilities will include recruiting and interviewing nurses for hire within the health system.

Gibson has worked at the health system in various capacities for 14 years, most recently in Nursing Administration as a nursing supervisor on the Bon Secours Hospital Campus. Before being a nursing supervisor, she served as a clinical manager in Maternity for 2 1/2 years and as a staff nurse for 11 years on the Altoona Hospital Campus.

She received her associate degree in Nursing from the State University of New York and a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from Mount Aloysius in Cresson.






September 16, 2010 - R. CHARLES HOWELLS II, M.D., CERTIFIED BY AMERICAN BOARD OF OTOLARYNGOLOGY

R. Charles Howells II, M.D.
R. Charles Howells II, M.D., a member of the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff who practices with Ear, Nose and Throat Associates of Central Pennsylvania, 501 Howard Ave., Suite A107, Altoona, has been certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology through June 30, 2022.

Dr. Howells is an otolaryngologist - a head and neck surgeon - who provides comprehensive medical and surgical care for adult and pediatric patients with diseases and disorders that affect the ears, nose and throat, the respiratory and upper alimentary systems, and related structures of the head and neck.

Board certification is a voluntary program in which specialists seek to improve their performance and demonstrate a commitment to their profession. Certification involves the passage of both written and oral examinations.






September 16, 2010 - MANUEL A. 'ALEX' GUERRERO, M.D., JOINS MEDICAL STAFF

Manuel A.
Manuel A. "Alex" Guerrero, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the department of General Surgery/Surgery and Trauma/ Surgical Critical Care. He is affiliated with Lexington Surgical Associates, 1701 12th Ave., Bldg. D, Altoona.

He is board certified by the American Board of Surgery. He received his medical degree from the Oregon Health Sciences University, School of Medicine. He did his residency at New York Methodist Hospital.






September 16, 2010 - MEERA BAJWA, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

Meera Bajwa, M.D.
Meera Bajwa, M.D., recently joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the Department of Medicine/Nephrology, Dialysis and Plasmapheresis.

Dr. Bajwa is in practice with Blair Renal Associates Inc., 501 Howard Ave., Suite D-204, Altoona.

She is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine/Nephrology.

Dr. Bajwa received her medical degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She did her residency at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles and her fellowship in nephrology at UCLA Medical Center.






September 16, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN OCTOBER

Altoona Regional Health System offers the following support group meetings and patient clinics in October as a public service to the community. They are listed alphabetically according to the campus on which they are conducted.

Support groups meeting on the Altoona Hospital Campus use the Allegheny and Bedford rooms and the Rotunda on the 6th floor of the Outpatient Center, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona; Dining Room B adjacent to the main cafeteria, and the 4F Conference Room in the Behavioral Health Center, 5th Street and Willow Avenue.

The Bariatric Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 943-7040 for information.

Breastfeeding classes are offered to expectant parents Wednesdays, Oct. 6 and 13, from 6-8 p.m. in the Rotunda. For more information, call 889-2557.

The Breastfeeding Support Group meets at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 889-2557.

The Caregivers Corner Support Group meets at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, at Hoss's in Duncansville. For information, call 889-3123.

Central Pennsylvania Ostomy Society meets at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, in the Rotunda, Outpatient Center. Call 944-2766 for information.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Group meets at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Dining Room B, Fourth Floor, Tower. Call 889-2141 for information.

Diabetes Outpatient Education is available by individual appointment and group sessions. A referral by a physician is required. Call 889-2487 for information.

Look Good...Feel Better workshop facilitated by trained cosmetologists who teach women with cancer how to understand and care for changes in skin and hair that may occur during treatment. This program is offered Oct. 27 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Allegheny Room. It is presented in partnership with the American Cancer Society, Personal Care Products Council Foundation and the Professional Beauty Association/National Cosmetology Association. For information, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

The Parkinson's Support Group meets at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26, at Hoss's Restaurant, Altoona. Call 889-2141 for information.

The Support Group for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, in the 4F Conference Room. Call 889-2141 for information.

The following support groups and clinics meet at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, 2500 7th Ave. The Trzeciak Conference Suite is in the Education Center at 2621 8th Ave. For Kaufman Dining Room and fourth floor waiting room, please use the 7th Avenue entrance.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m. every Monday in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 946-9002.

The Breast Cancer Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 1, in the Trzeciak Conference Suite. For information, call 886-6458.

The Faith-based Bereavement/Grief Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Oct. 6 and 20, in the fourth floor waiting room. For information, call 889-3323.

Look Good...Feel Better workshop facilitated by trained cosmetologists who teach women with cancer how to understand and care for changes in skin and hair that may occur during treatment. This program is offered Oct. 7 from 6-8 p.m. in the Trzeciak Conference Suite. It is presented in partnership with the American Cancer Society, Personal Care Products Council Foundation and the Professional Beauty Association/National Cosmetology Association. For information, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

The Stroke Support Group meets at noon Tuesday, Oct. 12, in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 889-4463.

A Wheelchair Clinic will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, in the second floor Physical Medicine gym. Physician referral required. Call for information and appointment, 889-4463.






September 16, 2010 - FOUNDATION GOLF EVENT RAISES MORE THAN $40,000

The first annual Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life Golf Classic raised $43,000 to help fund the purchase of digital mammography equipment. This leading-edge cancer detection technology enhances the medical community's ability to find breast cancer early when it is most treatable.

"We sincerely appreciate all of this year's golf participants, as well as the numerous businesses and individuals who sponsored the event, contributed prizes and made donations," said Ann Benzel, chair, Altoona Regional Foundation for Life. "Thanks to their dedication and contributions, everyone enjoyed a beautiful day of golfing and supported one of our community's most valuable assets: Altoona Regional Health System."

AMED was the tournament sponsor. Platinum sponsors included HealthSouth, Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Zimmer-Randall. In addition to sponsorship support, the Golf Classic was a big success due to the time and talents of volunteers, committee members and the staff of Scotch Valley Country Club.

For more information on how you can make a gift in support of health care in our community, call 889.6406.

Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which exists to inspire gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations and other entities to support the preservation of health care for the well-being of community members in Central Pennsylvania. As a qualified charitable organization, donations to the Foundation for Life are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.






September 2, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL NAMES TWO CHAPLAINS TO PASTORAL CARE DEPARTMENT

Rev. Christopher Panagoplos, TOR
Sister Maryann Palko, CCW
The Rev. Christopher Panagoplos, TOR, of Hollidaysburg, and Sister Maryann Palko, CCW, of the Gallitzin area, have joined the Pastoral Care department at Altoona Regional Health System.

The Rev. Panagoplos is a Third Order Regular Franciscan, Province of the Immaculate Conception, Hollidaysburg. After graduating from Bishop Guilfoyle, he attended the Franciscan Preparatory Seminary, Hollidaysburg. In 1972, he completed undergraduate studies in Education at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Panagoplos was ordained a Catholic priest in 1976 after completing graduate studies in Sacred Theology in Washington, D.C. He has previously served as: chaplain, Johnstown hospitals; Catholic school principal and religious studies instructor; catechist formation instructor for the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, and various Franciscan apostolates and ministries.

Sister Maryann Palko is a member of the Carmelite Community of the Word and retired as supervisory chaplain at the Federal Correctional Institution at Loretto with 20 years of service in September 2009. Before Loretto, she served in prison ministry at the state correctional institutions at Huntingdon and Smithfield. Earlier in her career, Sister Maryann was a teacher and guidance counselor at Bishop Carroll High School, Ebensburg. She has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry and a Bachelor of Arts from St. Francis College, Loretto.






August 25, 2010 - Outpatient Diabetes Self-Management Program Receives Accreditation by American Association of Diabetes Educators

The Altoona Regional Health System Outpatient Diabetes Self-Management Program has received accreditation by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, Chicago.

Diabetes education is a collaborative process through which people with diabetes or at risk for it gain the knowledge and skills needed to modify behavior and successfully self-manage the disease and its related conditions. It is provided by diabetes educators.

"This accreditation reassures patients that they are receiving excellent quality care in their diabetes management education," said Pat Rose, MS, R.N., CDE. "To achieve accreditation, Altoona Regional had to demonstrate that it met national standards for diabetes education. This is important because education in self-management has been shown to improve patient health and quality of life."

The American Association of Diabetes Educators established the accreditation program in 2009.






August 24, 2010 - HEILWOOD WOMAN COMPLETES INTERNSHIP

Delores Keith of Heilwood, Indiana County
Delores Keith of Heilwood, Indiana County, has completed an eight-month internship in the Nuclear Medicine department of Altoona Regional Health System.

Delores is the daughter of Charles Keith of Heilwood.

She is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with Bachelor of Science degrees in Nuclear Science. The completion of the internship and successful passage of her upcoming final exam will earn her a certification in Nuclear Medicine Technology from the University of Findlay, Ohio. She will take two national board examinations to complete her credentials.






August 24, 2010 - DELRAN WOMAN COMPLETES NUCLEAR MEDICINE INTERNSHIP

Kelly Caracci of Delran, N.J.
Kelly Caracci of Delran, N.J., has completed an eight-month internship in the Nuclear Medicine department of Altoona (Pa.) Regional Health System.

Kelly is the daughter of Tony and Marybeth Caracci of Delran.

She is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with Bachelor of Science degrees in Nuclear Science. The completion of the internship and successful passage of her upcoming final exam will earn her a certification in Nuclear Medicine Technology from the University of Findlay, Ohio. She will then take two national board examinations to complete her credentials.






August 20, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS HIRES OFFICE MANAGER

Lisa M. McKnight of Hollidaysburg
Altoona Regional Health System's Information Systems department recently hired Lisa M. McKnight of Hollidaysburg as office manager.

McKnight reports to Dale Fuller, vice president of Information Services/chief information officer, and provides day-to-day operational support to the department.

She was hired by Altoona Regional in October 2009 as a secretary/medical transcriptionist in the Medical Staff Office.

McKnight has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from St. Francis University, Loretto, where she graduated cum laude. She also has an associate degree in Secretarial Science from Mount Aloysius College, Cresson.






August 20, 2010 - CHRISTOPHER J. LINCOSKI, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

Christopher J. Lincoski, M.D.
Christopher J. Lincoski, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the department of Orthopedics. He practices with University Orthopedics, 101 Regent Court, State College, and Station Medical Center, 1509 9th Ave., Altoona.

He received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia. He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. Dr. Lincoski also completed a fellowship in hand surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Hand Center.

He specializes in hand and upper extremity surgery.






August 19, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN SEPTEMBER

Altoona Regional Health System offers the following support group meetings and patient clinics in September as a public service to the community. They are listed alphabetically according to the campus on which they are conducted.

Support groups meeting on the Altoona Hospital Campus use the Allegheny and Bedford rooms and the Rotunda on the 6th floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona. Dining Room B is adjacent to the main cafeteria. The 4F Conference Room is in the Behavioral Health Center, 5th Street and Willow Avenue.

The Bariatric Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1, in the Juniata Room. Please call 943-7040 for information.

The Breastfeeding Support Group meets at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 889-2557.

Breastfeeding Classes are offered for expectant parents 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 1 and 8 in the Rotunda. Please call 889-2557.

The Caregivers Corner Support Group meets at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 2, at Hoss's in Duncansville. For information, call 889-3123.

The Central Pennsylvania Ostomy Society meets at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, in the Rotunda. Please call 944-2766.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Group meets at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Dining Room B, Fourth Floor, Tower. Call 889-2141 for information.

Diabetes Outpatient Education is available by individual appointment and group sessions. A referral by a physician is required. Call 889-2487 for information.

The Lap Band Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1, in the Bedford Room. Call 943-7040 for information.

The Parkinson's Support Group meets at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 27, at Hoss's Restaurant, Altoona. Call 889-2141 for information.

The Support Group for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, in the 4F Conference Room. Call 889-2141 for information.

The following support groups and clinics meet at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave. The Trzeciak Conference Suite is in the Education Center at 2621 8th Ave. For Kaufman Dining Room, Sleep Medicine and fourth floor waiting room, please use the 7th Avenue entrance.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m. every Monday in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 946-9002.

The Breast Cancer Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2, in the Trzeciak Conference Suite. For information, call 886-6458.

The Faith-based Bereavement/Grief Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 1 and 15, in the fourth floor waiting room. For information, call 889-3323.

Look Good...Feel Better workshop facilitated by trained cosmetologists who teach women with cancer how to understand and care for changes in skin and hair that may occur during treatment. This program is offered Thursday, Sept. 2, from 6-8 p.m. in the Trzeciak Conference Suite. It is presented in partnership with the American Cancer Society, Personal Care Products Council Foundation and the Professional Beauty Association/National Cosmetology Association. For information, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

The Sleep Apnea Support Group , for people using CPAP or BiPAP therapy, meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, in the Institute for Sleep Medicine waiting room, 4th floor. For information, call 889-4466.

The Stroke Support Group meets at noon Tuesday, Sept. 14, in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 889-4463.

A Wheelchair Clinic will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, in the second floor Physical Medicine gym. Physician referral required. Call for information and appointment, 889-4463.






August 19, 2010 - COLLEGE OF HEALTHCARE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVES CERTIFIES ALTOONA REGIONAL CIO

The Healthy Living Club has scheduled the following educational programs and screenings for September as a community service. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665 to make an appointment or to register. The Altoona Hospital Campus is at 620 Howard Ave.; the Bon Secours Hospital Campus is at 2500 7th Ave., and the Education Center is at 2621 8th Ave.

A free osteoporosis screening (heel scan) is available for men and women by appointment only on Friday, Sept. 3, from 12:30-3 p.m. in the Kaufman Dining Room, Bon Secours Hospital Campus.

No fee. Call 889.2630 to schedule your appointment. Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease" because bone loss happens without symptoms. Osteoporosis occurs when, over time, bone loss causes bones to become porous, brittle and more likely to break. This painless screening takes just a few minutes and assesses bone density in the heel (a good indicator of bone health and fracture risk) by using ultrasound. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

The Class "Planting Your Fall Bulbs" will be offered Thursday, Sept. 9, from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Rotunda, 6th floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. Join Dee Martin-Spallone, master gardener from Penn State Extension, who will explain fall bulb planting do's and don'ts. No fee. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Class size limited to 50.

A refresher Seniors for Safe Driving course will be offered from 6-10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite. The fee is $15. Registration required. Call 1.800.559.4880 or log on to www.sfsd-pa.com.

This classroom refresher course is for anyone who has taken the eight-hour course. It 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.

A Child Safety Seat Checkup Station will be conducted Friday, Sept. 10, 9:30-11 a.m. in the Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level. Look for the Safe Kids van. No fee. By appointment only. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889.7802. Find out if your child's safety seat is installed properly. Your child's life may depend on it.

A Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) screening is available by appointment only 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, in the Vascular Institute, 3rd floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. No fee. Call 889.2005 or 1.877.855.8152 to schedule your appointment.

Peripheral Artery Disease occurs when plaque clogs leg arteries or vessels and restricts blood flow. Untreated PAD can not only make walking difficult but may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Kay Adams, nurse practitioner and manager of Central Pa. Cardiovascular Associates, will check for PAD with an ABI (ankle-brachial index) screen, a painless process in which blood pressure is measured in legs and arms to determine blood flow. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.






August 19, 2010 - COLLEGE OF HEALTHCARE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT EXECUTIVES CERTIFIES ALTOONA REGIONAL CIO

Dale Fuller, Vice President/Chief Information Officer
Altoona Regional Health System Vice President/ Chief Information Officer Dale Fuller of Woodbury has earned certification through the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives Chief Information Officers Program (Certified Healthcare CIO). He is one of only 56 CIOs certified nationally.

The CHIME Certified Healthcare CIO (CHCIO) Program is the first certification program exclusively for CIOs and IT executives in the health care industry. A CHCIO demonstrates the commitment, knowledge and experience required to master the core skills inherent to be successful CIOs and IT executives. CHIME members who have been in a health care CIO or equivalent position for at least three years and want to enhance their professional stature are eligible to become certified.






August 11, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL NAMES FOUNDATION PRESIDENT

Fred F. Thursfield, CFRE
Fred F. Thursfield, CFRE, (certified fund raising executive) has been named president of the Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life.

Thursfield has more than 30 years of progressive responsibility in fund-raising at health, scientific and educational institutions, with successful experiences in planning and implementing campaigns for endowment, capital, special and annual gifts.

Thursfield was most recently executive director for the Upper Chesapeake Health System in Bel Air, Md. There, he directed a 3 ½-year campaign that resulted in gifts and pledges of more than $12.3 million for capital expansion and renovation. He also increased gifts to annual, special and planned giving programs over five years.

"I look forward to helping ensure that Altoona Regional has the financial resources to provide everyone in this region with exceptional health care services and programs," Thursfield said. "Gifts to the Foundation for Life will be increasingly important as we face challenges of serving the needs of an aging population and fulfilling community expectations for quality and compassionate care. I am ready to bring my skills, abilities and enthusiasm to this opportunity as a member of the Altoona Regional team."

Thursfield has also worked in various development positions with foundations at Health First Foundation, Melbourne. Fla.; Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Salisbury, Md.; Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C.; Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, and The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Md.

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland and has earned credits toward a master's in Administrative Studies from Johns Hopkins University. He also fulfilled the requirements for designation as a CFRE and has a certificate in planned giving from the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy's Madison Institute, University of Wisconsin Business School.

Thursfield is a member of the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Chesapeake Planned Giving Council.

The Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which exists to inspire gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations and other entities to support the preservation of health care for the well-being of community members in Central Pennsylvania. As a qualified charitable organization, donations to the Foundation for Life are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.






August 9, 2010 - GURMEET K. KALRA, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

Gurmeet K. Kalra, M.D.
Gurmeet K. Kalra, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff in the department of Family Medicine. She is practicing with Lexington Hospitalists Inc., Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona.

She received her medical degree from Burdwan Medical College, India.

Dr. Kalra completed her residency training at Altoona Family Physicians.






August 5, 2010 - SUZANNE Y. DIB, M.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

Suzanne Y. Dib, M.D.
Suzanne Y. Dib, M.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System medical staff in the department of Family Medicine. She practices with Quality Care Medical Center, 2950 Fairway Drive, Altoona.

She received her medical degree from Tishreen University Faculty of Medicine, Syria. Dr. Dib completed her residency at Altoona Family Physicians.






August 5, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL EARNS AMERICAN COLLEGE OF RADIOLOGY ACCREDITATION FOR CT TECHNOLOGY

Altoona Regional Health System has been awarded a three-year accreditation in CT imaging technology as the result of a recent survey by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Altoona Regional has three CT scanners and a PET/CT. The three CT scanners were surveyed and accredited. The PET/CT will be surveyed later.

The ACR, headquartered in Reston, Va., awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high practice standards after a peer-review evaluation of the practice. Evaluations are 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 the facility equipment. The surveyors report their findings to the ACR's Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report.

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






August 5, 2010 - BON SECOURS HOSPITAL CAMPUS LABORATORY EARNS ACCREDITATION FROM COLLEGE OF AMERICAN PATHOLOGISTS

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

Cap said the laboratory's medical director, Charles M. Haas Jr., M.D., and the laboratory staff are to be congratulated for their excellent, high quality service. The Bon Secours Hospital Campus is one of more than 7,000 CAP-accredited laboratories worldwide.

The CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program, begun in the early 1960s, 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 laboratory staff qualifications, as well as the laboratory's equipment, facilities, safety program and record, in addition to the overall management of the laboratory. This stringent inspection program is designed to specifically ensure the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients.






July 22, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM SCHOOL OF MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY/CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE CONDUCTS GRADUATION EXERCISES

Kyle Delp and Sue-Ann Krupa; standing - Joshua Krug, Andrea Link and Joe Noel, program director.
Three area students were among four graduates honored at the 35th annual graduation exercises of the Altoona Regional Health System School of Medical Technology/Clinical Laboratory Science held June 25 at Altoona Hospital Campus.

The area graduates are: Joshua C. Krug, son of Frederick and Debra Krug of Loretto; Sue-Ann Krupa, daughter of Mike Krupa of Ginter, Clearfield County, and Andrea S. Link, wife of Joe Link of Ebensburg and daughter of Doug and Pam Wheeler of McKean, Erie County. The other graduate was Kyle A. Delp, son of Mark and Barb Delp of Mount Joy, Lancaster County.

Dale Fuller, vice president and chief information officer of Altoona Regional, offered a welcome to the families of the graduates, honored guests, faculty and graduates.

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

Molly Harrison, MT(ASCP) SBB, technical supervisor, reference lab, American Red Cross, was the guest speaker. Louis M. Jourdain, M.D., associate director of the Laboratory, and Joseph R. Noel, school program director, presented diplomas and pins.

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. Completion of the program at Altoona Regional results in a bachelor's degree in Medical Technology/Clinical Laboratory Science.

Altoona Regional is a nonprofit community health care provider. Two acute-care hospitals anchor the 497-bed system, which includes more than 20 affiliated health care companies. Altoona Regional offers centers of excellence in cancer care, heart care, neurosciences, behavioral health, vascular and wound care and much more. Its Regional Trauma Center serves more than 20 counties in Central Pennsylvania. The mission of Altoona Regional Health System is for exceptional people to provide exceptional health care.

Photo: Graduates (from left) seated - Kyle Delp and Sue-Ann Krupa; standing — Joshua Krug, Andrea Link and Joe Noel, program director.






July 19, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES AUGUST PROGRAMS

The Healthy Living Club has scheduled the following educational programs and screenings for August as a community service. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665 to make an appointment or to register. The Altoona Hospital Campus is at 620 Howard Ave.; the Bon Secours Hospital Campus is at 2500 7th Ave., and the Education Center is at 2621 8th Ave.

A Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) screening is available by appointment only 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, in the Vascular Institute, 3rd floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. No fee. Call 889.2005 or 1.877.855.8152 to schedule your appointment.

Peripheral Artery Disease occurs when plaque clogs leg arteries or vessels and restricts blood flow. Untreated PAD can not only make walking difficult but may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Kay Adams, nurse practitioner and manager of Central Pa. Cardiovascular Associates, will check for PAD with an ABI (ankle-brachial index) screen, a painless process in which blood pressure is measured in legs and arms to determine blood flow. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

A free osteoporosis screening (heel scan) is available for men and women by appointment only on Friday, Aug. 6, from 12:30-3 p.m. in the Kaufman Dining Room, Bon Secours Hospital Campus.

No fee. Call 889.2630 to schedule your appointment. Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease" because bone loss happens without symptoms. Osteoporosis occurs when, over time, bone loss causes bones to become porous, brittle and more likely to break. This painless screening takes just a few minutes and assesses bone density in the heel (a good indicator of bone health and fracture risk) by using ultrasound. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

A Safe Sitter Class will be offered from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Aug.13, at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite, 2621 8th Ave. Fee $25, includes materials, snacks and lunch. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Class size limited.

A Seniors for Safe Driving course will be offered from 6-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, and Wednesday, Aug. 11, at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite. The fee is $15. Registration required. Call 1.800.559.4880 or log on to www.sfsd-pa.com.

It 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.

A six-week series of Hatha yoga, which offers mind/body exercise, breath control, stretching and strengthening to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being, will be taught by Gail Murphy, a registered instructor. The series is offered in the School of Nursing auditorium (building behind helicopter pad), Altoona Hospital Campus, Tuesdays, Aug. 17 through Sept. 21. Beginners 5:30-6:40 p.m. and intermediate 6:50-8 p.m. The fee is $30. Register now as class is limited to 30. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Yoga mat needed for all classes.

Join Dr. Arthur DeMarsico, vascular surgeon with Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Inc. and medical director of Central Pa. Cardiovascular Associates, Friday, Aug. 27, when he will discuss prevention, symptoms, diagnosis and nonsurgical and surgical treatment of PAD. In addition, nurse practitioner Kay Adams will demonstrate HeartAware, a free online risk assessment designed to enable you to take control of your heart health. Lunch at 11 a.m. followed by program. Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite. No fee. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.






July 19, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN AUGUST

Altoona Regional Health System offers the following support group meetings and patient clinics in August as a public service to the community. They are listed alphabetically according to the campus on which they are conducted.

Support groups meeting on the Altoona Hospital Campus use the Allegheny and Bedford rooms and the Rotunda on the 6th floor of the Outpatient Center, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona. Dining Room B is adjacent to the main cafeteria. The 4F Conference Room is in the Behavioral Health Center, 5th Street and Willow Avenue.

The Bariatric Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 943-7040 for information.

The Breastfeeding Support Group meets at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 889-2557.

Breastfeeding classes are offered for expectant parents 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays, Aug. 4 and 11, in the Rotunda. Please call 889-2557.

The Caregivers Corner Support Group meets at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, at Hoss's in Duncansville. For information, call 889-3123.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Group meets at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Dining Room B, Fourth Floor, Tower. Call 889-2141 for information.

Diabetes Outpatient Education is available by individual appointment and group sessions. A referral by a physician is required. Call 889-2487 for information.

The Lap Band Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, in the Bedford Room. Call 943-7040 for information.

The Parkinson's Support Group meets at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 30, at Hoss's Restaurant, Altoona. Call 889-2141 for information.

The Support Group for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18, in the 4F Conference Room. Call 889-2141 for information.

The following support groups and clinics meet at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave. The Trzeciak Conference Suite is in the Education Center at 2621 8th Ave. For Kaufman Dining Room and fourth floor waiting room, please use the 7th Avenue entrance.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m. every Monday in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 946-9002.

The Breast Cancer Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, in the Trzeciak Conference Suite. For information, call 886-6458.

The Faith-based Bereavement/Grief Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Aug. 4 and 18, in the fourth floor waiting room. For information, call 889-3323.

The Stroke Support Group meets at noon Tuesday, Aug. 10, in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 889-4463.

A Wheelchair Clinic will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, in the second floor Physical Medicine gym (use 8th Avenue entrance). Physician referral required. Call for information and appointment, 889-4463.






July 8, 2010 - IMAGING SERVICES EMPLOYEE RETIRES WITH 35 1/2 YEARS OF SERVICE

George W. Cummings III, D.O.
John Rys, administrator of Imaging Services' photo archiving and communication system, retired June 30 with 35 1/2 years of service.

Rys was hired Dec. 2, 1974, as the radiology manager. He then became the administrative director for 13 years, and five years ago became PACS administrator.

During his tenure, Rys said, he has seen the department undergo phenomenal physical and technological growth, from three rooms and 12 employees to more than 40 rooms, state-of-the-art equipment on two hospital campuses and 140 employees - nearly all of them taught and/or hired by him.

"We've never had a bad (regulatory) inspection and that's what I'm most proud of," he said.






July 8, 2010 - GEORGE W. CUMMINGS III, D.O., OBTAINS BOARD CERTIFICATION BY AMERICAN OSTEOPATHIC BOARD OF SURGERY

George W. Cummings III, D.O.
George W. Cummings III, D.O., a member of the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff, has obtained board certification by the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery (AOBS) through October 2019.

Certification means Dr. Cummings has passed rigorous examinations that are designed, constructed and conducted to evaluate a physician's understanding of the basic sciences, surgical principles and osteopathic philosophy of surgery.

The AOBS, with national offices in Huber Heights, Ohio, is one of the 18 certifying boards of the American Osteopathic Association. The AOBS was established to define the qualifications required for osteopathic physicians for certification in general surgery and the surgical subspecialties, including vascular, neurological, plastic and reconstructive, cardiothoracic, urological and critical care surgery. The AOBS has the responsibility to determine by examination and other criteria, the fitness and competence of the osteopathic physician for certification. By these actions, the AOBS maintains and promotes moral and ethical standards in the practice of surgery within the osteopathic profession.






July 8, 2010 - NEW PATIENT ACCESS MANAGER HIRED

Lona Aiken of Hollidaysburg
Lona Aiken of Hollidaysburg has been hired as the new Patient Access manager in the Emergency Department.

She is a 1992 graduate of Penn State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Policy and Administration.

Aiken has worked in health care for the past 17 years as a director of senior living communities in south Florida.






July 8, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM BEGINS OFFERING PET/CT IMAGING SERVICES IN-HOUSE

For the past three years, Altoona Regional has provided PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography) services through Vantage Mobile Services. On July 1, the health system began offering PET/CT services in-house, five days per week.

Altoona Regional's new 16-slice PET/CT scanner is located at Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave., Altoona, and will be moved when construction is completed at the future Imaging Center at Station Medical Center, 1414 9th Ave., Altoona.

PET imaging is a diagnostic imaging procedure that provides information about the body's chemistry, cell function and exact location of disease. The benefits of a combined PET/CT scan include earlier diagnosis, accurate staging and localization, and precise treatment and monitoring.

PET/CT is used in:
  • Oncology to determine the location and extent of tumor growth
  • Neurology to aid in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, stroke, brain tumors and seizures
  • Cardiology to detect certain heart functions
"PET/CT combines the two most powerful tools in diagnostic imaging," said Mike Corso, director, Altoona Regional Imaging Services. "The PET looks at biologic activity, while the CT looks at anatomic findings. By merging the two, PET/CT allows one to look at both at the same time."






June 24, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ADVANCED PRIMARY STROKE CENTER AWARDED RECERTIFICATION FROM THE JOINT COMMISSION

The Altoona Regional Advanced Primary Stroke Center has earned disease-specific care recertification from The Joint Commission.

To earn this distinction, a disease management program undergoes an extensive, unannounced, on-site evaluation by a team of Joint Commission reviewers every two years. The program is evaluated against Joint Commission standards through an assessment of a program's processes, the program's ability to evaluate and improve care within its own organization, and interviews with patients and staff.

"This certification means Altoona Regional does the right things and does them well for stroke patients," says Jean E. Range, executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, Joint Commission.

"Altoona Regional voluntarily pursued this comprehensive, independent evaluation to enhance the safety and quality of care we provide" says Janet Ashurst, Altoona Regional Neuroscience clinical coordinator. "We're proud to achieve this distinction."

The Joint Commission launched its disease-specific certification program in 2002. It is the first program of its kind in the country to certify disease management.

Altoona Regional is a nonprofit community health care provider. Two acute-care hospitals anchor the 497-bed system, which includes more than 20 affiliated health care companies. Altoona Regional offers centers of excellence in cancer care, heart care, neurosciences, behavioral health, vascular and wound care and much more. Its Regional Trauma Center serves more than 20 counties in Central Pennsylvania. The mission of Altoona Regional Health System is for exceptional people to provide exceptional health care.






June 10, 2010 - HEALTH CARE SYSTEM WINS ADVERTISING AWARDS

Altoona Regional Health System's Marketing & Communications department and Mock Creations, State College, have won three awards in the 27th Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards competition.

The awards include a bronze for a Center for Cancer Care billboard and merits for a Center for Cancer Care print ad and Healthy Living Magazine. It was the magazine's fifth merit award.

Over 4,000 entries were received, making this the largest health care advertising awards competition. A national panel of judges reviewed all entries based on creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact and gave 260 gold awards, 250 silver awards and 241 bronze awards.

The Healthcare Advertising Awards is the oldest, largest and most widely respected health care advertising awards competition. The awards are sponsored by Healthcare Marketing Report, the leading publication covering all aspects of health care marketing, advertising and strategic business development.






June 10, 2010 - LABORATORY EMPLOYEE RETIRES WITH 34 YEARS OF SERVICE

Clerk phlebotomist/EKG technician Mina Noce, PBT, ASCP, of Altoona
Clerk phlebotomist/EKG technician Mina Noce, PBT, ASCP, of Altoona, retired from the Laboratory, Altoona Hospital Campus, Altoona Regional Health System, with 34 years of service June 1.

She was hired in 1976 as a phlebotomist. She became a phlebotomist through CETA, an adult education program operated at the time by the Altoona Area Vo-Tech School and Altoona Hospital.






June 10, 2010 - NURSE RETIRES WITH 30 YEARS OF SERVICE

Registered Nurse Carole Roman of Duncansville
Registered Nurse Carole Roman of Duncansville, supervisor of Quality Documentation Nurses, Quality Management department at Altoona Regional Health System, recently retired with 30 years of service.

Roman was hired in 1980 as a staff nurse in the Altoona Hospital Emergency department where she worked for 20 years. She transferred to Quality Management 10 years ago.






June 10, 2010 - NEW BUYER SELECTED FOR NURSING/EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS

Laura Cresswell of Bellwood
Laura Cresswell of Bellwood is the new buyer in the Purchasing department of Materiel Management. Her new responsibilities include buying for the nursing floors and for the emergency departments on Altoona Hospital and Bon Secours Hospital campuses.

Cresswell was hired in August 2009 as a Patient Access Representative. She is a graduate of St. Francis University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Marketing.






June 10, 2010 - NEW BUYER SELECTED FOR NURSING/EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS

Laura Cresswell of Bellwood
Laura Cresswell of Bellwood is the new buyer in the Purchasing department of Materiel Management. Her new responsibilities include buying for the nursing floors and for the emergency departments on Altoona Hospital and Bon Secours Hospital campuses.

Cresswell was hired in August 2009 as a Patient Access Representative. She is a graduate of St. Francis University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Marketing.






June 10, 2010 - SHEHNAZ MOHSIN, M.D. JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

Shehnaz Mohsin, M.D.
Shehnaz Mohsin, M.D. has joined the Altoona Regional Medical Staff. She is affiliated with Lexington Hospitalists, 620 Howard Ave.

Dr. Mohsin is board certified in Family Medicine.

She received her medical degree from DOW Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan. She completed the residency program in the department of Family Medicine (OB Track), Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.






June 9, 2010 - CHECKING ON ELDERLY DURING HEAT WAVE MAY PREVENT DEHYDRATION

While temperatures in the 80s and 90s are uncomfortable for most people, for some it can pose a health risk due to age or other health conditions.

"The elderly, the very young and people who take certain medications, such as those that narrow the blood vessels (vasoconstrictors), certain blood pressure medications such as beta blockers, diuretics such as lasix, or medications that reduce psychiatric symptoms such as antidepressants and antipsychotics are at increased risk of dehydration and other heat-related illnesses," said Matthew Bouchard, M.D., chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine at Altoona Regional.

Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, thirst, generalized weakness, decreased urination, nausea and confusion.

Risk factors for dehydration include a poorly ventilated living area, inability to access adequate fluids, medications that can increase fluid loss and reduce the body's ability to remain cool.

Treatment for dehydration includes moving to a cool area, fluid hydration either orally or through an intravenous line and replacement of lost electrolytes.

Dehydration can be prevented by keeping the living space well-ventilated, avoiding excessive activity during hours of peak heat, and keeping well hydrated in accordance with your physician's recommendations regarding your individual safe daily fluid intake.

"If you know of an elderly relative, neighbor or friend who lives alone, we suggest you check on them during the hot weather and make sure they are in good health," Dr. Bouchard said.

Dehydration can also be a factor in heat cramps and heat exhaustion. If not treated promptly, these conditions may escalate to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition in which the body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat cramps are often caused by exposure to extreme temperature changes such as a heat wave and/or physical exertion. Symptoms include profuse sweating, fatigue, thirst and muscle cramps in the stomach, arms and legs. The recommended treatment is drinking fluids with electrolytes (a sports drink) and resting in an air-conditioned room or shaded area.

If not treated, heat cramps may progress to heat exhaustion. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, cool, moist skin and muscle cramps. Treatment is drinking fluids with electrolytes, going to an air-conditioned room and taking a cool shower. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention.

The most serious heat-related condition is heatstroke, Dr. Bouchard said. Heatstroke is most likely to occur in hot, humid weather and/or when working or exercising in hot weather. Heatstroke is also more likely to occur when dehydrated, wearing excess clothing and drinking alcohol. Heatstroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment at an emergency room.






May 27, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL RECEIVES AWARD FOR COMMITMENT TO QUALITY CARE FOR STROKE PATIENTS

Altoona Regional received 2010 American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award
Altoona Regional Health System has received the 2010 American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes Altoona Regional's commitment and success in implementing excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

To receive the award, Altoona Regional achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Performance Achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care.

These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation - all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award demonstrates Altoona Regional's commitment to being one of the top hospitals in the country for providing aggressive, proven stroke care," said Janet Ashurst, BSN, CCRN, neuroscience clinical coordinator. "We will continue with our focus on providing care that has been shown in the scientific literature to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients with evidence-based protocols."

"Altoona Regional is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients," said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients."

Get With The Guidelines-Stroke uses the "teachable moment," the time soon after a patient has had a stroke, when they are most likely to listen to and follow their health care professional's guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke.

Through Get With The Guidelines-Stroke, customized patient education materials are made available at the point of discharge, based on patients' individual risk profiles. The take-away materials are written in an easy-to-understand format and are available in English and Spanish. In addition, the Get With The Guidelines Patient Management Tool gives health care providers access to up-to-date cardiovascular and stroke science at the point of care.

"The time is right for Altoona Regional to be focused on improving the quality of stroke care by implementing Get With The Guidelines-Stroke. The number of acute ischemic stroke patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing stroke incidence and our large aging population," Ashurst said.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every three minutes, and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

For more information on Get With The Guidelines, visit www.americanheart.org/getwiththeguidelines.






May 14, 2010 - NUTRITION SERVICES EMPLOYEE RETIRES WITH 40 YEARS OF SERVICE

Norma McCormick, Nutrition Services assistant at Altoona Regional Health System
Norma McCormick, Nutrition Services assistant at Altoona Regional Health System, retired April 30 with 40 years of service.

She was hired in 1967 and worked until 1969 as a nurse's aide in the 3A building. She had a break in service until 1971 when she returned as a nurse's aide through 1986, primarily on Tower 12. She also received training as a ward secretary. In 1986, she transferred to Nutrition Services into the position held until retirement.






May 17, 2010 - INTENSIVE CARE UNIT NURSE EARNS CARDIAC MEDICINE CERTIFICATION

Altoona Regional Registered Nurse Dee (Delores) Smithbauer, CCRN, CMC, an Intensive Care Unit employee at Altoona Hospital Campus, recently passed the certification exam in Cardiac Medicine Certification awarded by the American Association for Critical Care Nursing.

Smithbauer, of Ebensburg, received her nursing degree from Conemaugh School of Nursing, Johnstown. She received her certification in Critical Care Nursing in 2004.

She is employed as a staff registered nurse on the day/evening shift.





May 14, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES JUNE PROGRAMS

The Healthy Living Club has scheduled the following educational programs and screenings for June as a community service. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665 to make an appointment or to register. The Altoona Hospital Campus is at 620 Howard Ave.; the Bon Secours Hospital Campus is at 2500 7th Ave., and the Education Center is at 2621 8th Ave.

A refresher Seniors for Safe Driving course will be offered from 6-10 p.m. Tuesday, June 8, at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite. The fee is $15. Registration required. Call 1.800.559.4880 or log on to www.sfsd-pa.com.

This classroom refresher course is for anyone who has taken the eight-hour course. It 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.

Join Timothy A. Lucas, M.D., medical director, Altoona Regional Institute for Sleep Medicine, 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, June 10, as he discusses "Getting a Good Night's Sleep." He'll have tips for getting a good night's rest, the causes of sleep disturbances and the treatment options. The program will be in Rotunda, 6th floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. No fee. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Class size limited.

A free osteoporosis screening (heel scan) is available for men and women by appointment only on Friday, June 11, from 12:30-3 p.m. in the Kaufman Dining Room, Bon Secours Hospital Campus.

No fee. Call 889.2630 to schedule your appointment. Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease" because bone loss happens without symptoms. Osteoporosis occurs when, over time, bone loss causes bones to become porous, brittle and more likely to break. This painless screening takes just a few minutes and assesses bone density in the heel (a good indicator of bone health and fracture risk) by using ultrasound. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

A Child Safety Seat Checkup Station will be conducted Friday, June 11, 9:30-11 a.m. in the Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level. Look for the Safe Kids van. No fee. By appointment only. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889.7802. Find out if your child's safety seat is installed properly. Your child's life may depend on it.

On Friday, June 11, join Dr. John Anastasi for an explanation of minimally invasive coronary artery bypass graft surgery - a less painful, less invasive alternative to open heart surgery to repair partially blocked heart arteries. Benefits include shorter hospital stay and less pain. Lunch at 11 a.m. followed by program until 1 p.m. The program is at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite, 2621 8th Ave. No fee. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

A Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Screening is available by appointment only 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday, June 14, in the Vascular Institute, 3rd floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. No fee. Call 889.2005 or 1.877.855.8152 to schedule your appointment.

Peripheral Artery Disease occurs when plaque clogs leg arteries or vessels and restricts blood flow. Untreated PAD can not only make walking difficult but may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Kay Adams, nurse practitioner and manager of Central Pa. Cardiovascular Associates, will check for PAD with an ABI (ankle-brachial index) screen, a painless process in which blood pressure is measured in legs and arms to determine blood flow. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

A Safe Sitter Class will be offered from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, June 18, at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite, 2621 8th Ave. Fee $25, includes materials, snacks and lunch. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Class size limited.

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. Participants will learn basic child-care and first-aid skills, keeping a house secure, how to prevent accidents and recognize common signs of illness, and how to rescue a choking child or infant.

Please end PSAs three days prior to program to allow for registration.





May 14, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN JUNE

Altoona Regional Health System offers the following support group meetings and patient clinics in June as a public service to the community. They are listed alphabetically according to the campus on which they are conducted.

Support groups meeting on the Altoona Hospital Campus use the Allegheny and Bedford rooms and the Rotunda on the 6th floor of the Outpatient Center, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona. Dining Room B is adjacent to the main cafeteria. The 4F Conference Room is in the Behavioral Health Center, 5th Street and Willow Avenue.

The Bariatric Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 2, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 943-7040 for information.

The Breastfeeding Support Group meets at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 889-2557.

The Caregivers Corner Support Group meets at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 3, at Hoss's in Duncansville. For information, call 889-3123.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Group meets at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Dining Room B, Fourth Floor, Tower. Call 889-2141 for information.

Diabetes Outpatient Education is available by individual appointment and group sessions. A referral by a physician is required. Call 889-2487 for information.

The Lap Band Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 2, in the Bedford Room. Call 943-7040 for information.

The Parkinson's Support Group meets at 11 a.m. Monday, June 28, at Hoss's Restaurant, Altoona. Call 889-2141 for information.

The Support Group for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, in the 4F Conference Room. Call 889-2141 for information.

The following support groups and clinics meet at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave. The Trzeciak Conference Suite is in the Education Center at 2621 8th Ave. For Kaufman Dining Room and fourth floor waiting room, please use the 7th Avenue entrance.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m. every Monday in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 946-9002.

The Breast Cancer Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 3, in the Trzeciak Conference Suite. For information, call 886-6458.

The Faith-based Bereavement/Grief Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, June 2 and 13, in the fourth floor waiting room. For information, call 889-3323.

The Stroke Support Group meets at noon Tuesday, June 8, in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 889-4463.

A Wheelchair Clinic will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 8, in the second floor Physical Medicine gym. Physician referral required. Call for information and appointment, 889-4463.





May 13, 2010 - Delta Dental awards $10,000 grant to Altoona community dental clinics

Funds will help the James W. Barner Community Dental Clinics provide urgent and emergency care for uninsured patients


Mechanicsburg/Altoona, Pa. - Two community dental clinics that provide much-needed services to low-income people who lack access to care will receive a $10,000 grant from Delta Dental of Pennsylvania.

The grant will directly reimburse clinic dentists for their services to patients who have unmet dental needs and who are unable to pay on their own for those services.

The first grant installment of $5,000 was presented today to the James W. Barner Community Dental Clinics of the Partnership for a Healthy Community, which provides oral health care services for those with limited access to care due to medical conditions, disability or limited financial resources. The two clinics collectively serve about 7,500 patients a year, including more than 4,000 children.

The Partnership was created by and operates as an affiliate of Altoona Regional Health System. The children's clinic is located in and operated in partnership with the Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center.

Although about half of the clinics' patients are beneficiaries under dental Medicaid or Medicaid Managed Care, many lack any financial resources to help pay for care. The clinic provides these patients approximately $100,000 per year in services such as dental screenings, restorations and emergency care.

"Our clinics are a great story of good people coming together to help neighbors in need," said Jerry Murray, president and CEO of Altoona Regional Health System. "We have been blessed by the hard work of devoted and community-minded individuals who turned a dream into reality.

"Generous partners such as Delta Dental help us keep the dream alive. And we thank Dr. Donald Betar, clinical director, who was instrumental in securing this grant."

The clinics serve an eight-county area (Blair, Centre, Huntingdon, Fulton, Bedford, Cambria, Clearfield, and Clinton). They are the area's largest provider of oral health care services to patients with limited resources.

"These two clinics routinely absorb the cost of urgent and emergency care for the dentally underserved," said Gary D. Radine, Delta Dental president and CEO. "We're pleased that this grant will go directly toward paying for this care. The grant is consistent with our mission to expand access to care for as many people as possible."

About Delta Dental of Pennsylvania
Delta Dental of Pennsylvania (www.deltadentalins.com) is part of a holding company system whose affiliated companies, along with Delta Dental of New York, provide dental benefits to nearly 25 million people in 15 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. They are all part of the Delta Dental Plans Association (DDPA), based in Oak Brook, Ill. DDPA consists of 39 Delta Dental member companies licensed in all 50 states. The association collectively covers nearly 54 million of the 176 million people nationwide with private dental insurance, making it by far the largest national system of dental plans.

About the Altoona Regional Partnership and the James W. Barner Community Dental Clinics
The Altoona Regional Partnership for a Healthy Community (www.altoonaregional.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation for the Altoona area, which is demarcated as an underserved rural area. In 1999, the Partnership and the Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center opened the dental clinics - one for pediatrics and one for adults. Directed by Dr. Donald Betar, the clinics offer free dental screenings, restorations and emergency care for dental Medicaid and Medicaid Managed Care beneficiaries as well as uninsured children and adults and Medical Assistance recipients in Blair, Centre, Huntingdon, Fulton, Bedford, Cambria, Clearfield, and Clinton counties. The clinics serve 7,500 patients a year, including more than 4,000 children.





May 13, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE RECEIVES MORE THAN $6,000 FROM ALTOONA CURVE

Altoona Curve Spring Training Festival held in February raised $6,187.85 for the Altoona Regional Foundation for Life
The Altoona Curve Spring Training Festival held in February raised $6,187.85 for the Altoona Regional Foundation for Life general fund.

"We were proud to partner with the Foundation for Life for our first Spring Training Festival. It's a testament to our community that we were still able to raise more than $6,000 for the Foundation, even though the afternoon portion of our event was canceled due to the February snow storm," said Rob Egan, Altoona Curve general manager. "We look forward to continuing our support of the Foundation to help ensure affordable, quality health care in our region."

"We are very thankful for the Altoona Curve's support in helping to improve health care for our community," said Ron McConnell, chief operating officer.

To find out how the Foundation for Life can help you fulfill your philanthropic wishes, contact 814.889.6406 or visit www.altoonaregional.org/gift_giving.

Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which exists to inspire gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations and other entities to support the preservation of health care for the well-being of community members in Central Pennsylvania. As a qualified charitable organization, donations to the Foundation for Life are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Photo: At the check presentation were (from left): Stacey Martilotta, development associate, Foundation for Life; Ron McConnell, chief operating officer, Altoona Regional; Rob Egan, general manager, Altoona Curve; Ann Benzel, chair, Foundation for Life; Jerry Murray, president/CEO, Altoona Regional, and Diesel Dog, Curve mascot.





May 6, 2010 - MEDIA ADVISORY

Although this meeting will not be open to the media, several participants will be available afterward for interviews. The meeting is expected to end at 2:30 p.m. If you would like to meet with participants at that time, and/or if you would like to do a story prior to the meeting, please contact Patt Keith in the Marketing and Communications department at 889.2622 no later than noon on Friday, May 7. Thank you.

An informational meeting will be held at the Altoona Hospital Campus of Altoona Regional Health System on Monday, May 10, to discuss appropriation of state funds for health care clinics for the uninsured and the status of further legislation.

The agenda will also include a presentation on Altoona's Partnering for Health Services clinic for the uninsured.

Attending will be representatives from Altoona Regional (including its clinic for the uninsured), Conemaugh Health System, Clearfield Hospital, DuBois Regional Medical Center, Somerset Hospital, J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and Indiana Regional Medical Center, as well as the Hospital and Healthcare Association of Pennsylvania (HAP).

State lawmakers who will attend or be represented include Sen. John Eichelberger, Sen. Donald White, Rep. Jerry Stern, Rep. Gary Haluska and Rep. Todd Eachus, House majority leader.

Several insurers will also be represented.





May 4, 2010 - STROKE AWARENESS MONTH SPECIAL EVENT

WHAT: Receive free blood pressure screenings and materials about stroke. Janet Ashurst, BSN, CCRN, Neuroscience Clinical Coordinator, will be available for interviews.

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. Friday, May 7

WHERE: Atrium, Altoona Hospital Campus

WHY: May is Stroke Awareness Month - One American suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and one American dies every 35 minutes from a stroke.





April 29, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL CENTER FOR CANCER CARE GRANTED THREE-YEAR ACCREDITATION

Altoona Regional Center for Cancer Care has earned a three-year accreditation with commendation by the Commission on Cancer (COC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS).

Altoona Regional received the accreditation following the on-site evaluation by a physician surveyor. The facility demonstrated a commendation level of compliance with one or more standards that represented the full scope of the cancer program (cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical services, research, community outreach and quality improvement). In addition, Altoona Regional received a compliance rating for all other standards.

Receiving care at a CoC-accredited cancer program ensures that a patient will have access to:
  • Comprehensive care, including a range of state-of-the-art services and equipment
  • A multispecialty, team approach to coordinate the best treatment options
  • Information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options
  • Access to cancer-related information, education and support
  • A cancer registry that collects data on type and state of cancers and treatment results and offers lifelong patient follow-up
  • Ongoing monitoring and improvement of care.
  • And, most importantly, quality care close to home.
"On behalf of the entire cancer program, I extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the many departments and to the medical staff for the teamwork that made this certification possible," said Tom Zeek, cancer program administrator.

Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a continuum of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care. Its membership includes fellows of the American College of Surgeons and 42 national organizations that reflect the full spectrum of cancer care.





April 28, 2010 - MOBILE LEARNING CENTER FOR ORTHOPEDICS VISITS ALTOONA REGIONAL

The Zimmer-Randall Mobile Learning Center will visit the Altoona Hospital Campus from 9 a.m. to noon and the Bon Secours Hospital Campus from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, so area residents can learn about the latest in joint replacement technology.

The Zimmer bus will be located outside the main entrance on the Altoona Hospital Campus and in the 7th Avenue parking lot outside the cafeteria at Bon Secours.

The Zimmer bus features information about:
  • Trabecular Metal Technology - The family of Trabecular Metal™ bone replacement implants represents an innovative solution for a wide range of orthopedic applications, making it an excellent alternative to allograft bone.
  • Trabecular Metal Reverse Shoulder System - The Zimmer Trabecular Metal Reverse Shoulder System offers a revolutionary combination of technology and versatility for the surgeon. This system aids in the restoration of normal function for patients suffering from severe loss of rotator cuff function.
  • Fitmore Hip Stem - Used in minimally invasive hip replacement surgery, this is a smaller, bone-conserving implant inserted through a smaller incision.
  • Continuum Acetabular System - This modular hip replacement system allows interchangeable liners custom fit to the patient
  • Patient Specific Instruments (PSI) - This custom instrumentation is specific to a patient's anatomy and helps facilitate implant placement. The potential benefits include increased accuracy, less blood loss and reduced operating time.
  • DeNovo NT Natural Tissue Graft - This is a cartilage replacement system






April 15, 2010 - DANIEL Y. LIN, M.D., Ph.D., JOINS ALTOONA REGIONAL MEDICAL STAFF

Daniel Y. Lin, M.D., Ph.D.
Daniel Y. Lin, M.D., Ph.D., has joined the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff. He practices with Lexington Hospitalists Inc. at Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona.

Dr. Lin received his medical degree from Fujian Medical College, China, and did his internship at Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center in Los Angeles. He did his residency training at Altoona Family Physicians Family Medicine Residency Program at Altoona Regional and in Fujian Provincial Hospital, China.

Dr. Lin earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Oulu University, Finland, in 2001. He had post-doctoral fellowship training in nephrology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, from 2002-06.

He is board-eligible in Family Medicine.






April 14, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES MAY PROGRAMS

The Healthy Living Club has scheduled the following educational programs and screenings for May as a community service. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665 to make an appointment or to register. The Altoona Hospital Campus is at 620 Howard Ave.; the Bon Secours Hospital Campus is at 2500 7th Ave., and the Education Center is at 2621 8th Ave.

A free osteoporosis screening (heel scan) is available for men and women by appointment only on Friday, May 7, from 12:30-3 p.m. in the Kaufman Dining Room, Bon Secours Hospital Campus.

No fee. Call 889.2630 to schedule your appointment. Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease" because bone loss happens without symptoms. Osteoporosis occurs when, over time, bone loss causes bones to become porous, brittle and more likely to break. This painless screening takes just a few minutes and assesses bone density in the heel (a good indicator of bone health and fracture risk) by using ultrasound. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

A Child Safety Seat Checkup Station will be conducted Friday, May 14, 9:30-11 a.m. in the Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level. Look for the Safe Kids van. No fee. By appointment only. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889.7802. Find out if your child's safety seat is installed properly. Your child's life may depend on it.

A Seniors for Safe Driving course will be offered from 6-10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, May11 and 12, at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite. The fee is $15. Registration required. Call 1.800.559.4880 or log on to www.sfsd-pa.com.

This classroom 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 require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

A Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Screening is available by appointment only 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday, May 17, in the Vascular Institute, 3rd floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. No fee. Call 889.2005 or 1.877.855.8152 to schedule your appointment.

Peripheral Artery Disease occurs when plaque clogs leg arteries or vessels and restricts blood flow. Untreated PAD can not only make walking difficult but may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Kay Adams, nurse practitioner and manager of Central Pa. Cardiovascular Associates, will check for PAD with an ABI (ankle-brachial index) screen, a painless process in which blood pressure is measured in legs and arms to determine blood flow. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

Join Donald Beckstead, M.D., of Altoona Family Physicians for a program on "Skin Cancer Prevention and Early Detection" Thursday, May 20, from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Rotunda, 6th floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. No fee. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Class size limited.

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States? Research shows that most skin cancers can be prevented. Ample time will be allotted for questions.

Dr. U. Fusun Cardakli of EyeDoc Associates will discuss normal eye changes that occur with aging and common eye diseases affecting older adults, as well as what you can do to keep your eyes healthy in "Aging Eyes: Changes and Disease Prevention" on Friday, May 21. Lunch at 11 a.m. followed by program until 1 p.m. in the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite, 2621 8th Ave. No fee. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Ample time will be allotted for questions.






April 9, 2010 - NATIONALLY- RECOGNIZED SPEAKER TO HOLD WORKSHOP FOR MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH

As a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the Pennsylvania Student Assistance programs, and in observance of May is Mental Health Month, Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D., a nationally recognized speaker, will conduct a free workshop called "A Sigh of Belief: Building Confident Families" Thursday, May 13.

This workshop will help parents of teens and mental health professionals strengthen their skills when dealing with children. "A Sigh of Belief: Building Confident Familes," will be held at the Ramada, Altoona, I-99 Plank Road Exit. The workshop will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. Two continuing education credits are available to behavioral health professionals who attend.

Dr. Ackerman is a professor and director of the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research & Training Institute at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is also the co-founder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics and has written books and articles on the topic. He has served on many advisory boards including the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Ackerman has also made appearances on various television shows and has had his work recognized in many media. For example, his work has appeared on the Today Show and also in Newsweek Magazine.

Sponsoring the event are: Altoona Regional Health System, Blair County MH/MR/D&A, Blair Family Solutions, Community Behavioral Health Network of Pa., Home Nursing Agency, Lytle Behavioral Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness of Blair County and Penn State Altoona Health & Wellness Center.

Social service agencies from throughout the community will have information available prior to the event. Free handouts and refreshments will be available.






April 9, 2010 - CELEBRATE DONATE LIFE MONTH EVENT

WHO: Altoona Regional Donor Advisory Council and Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE)

WHAT: A presentation to celebrate Donate Life Month with liver recipient and donor dad Dino Persio of Ebensburg

WHEN: 10 a.m. Friday, April 16

WHERE: Magee Lecture Hall, Outpatient Center, Sixth Floor, Altoona Hospital Campus. Meet in the lobby and someone will escort you to the lecture hall.

WHY: To explain and emphasize the importance of organ donation from someone who has been in the unique position of being both a liver recipient and a donor dad.

More than 7,700 Pennsylvanians are awaiting a lifesaving transplant. These are friends, neighbors, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who may die without a transplant. The lost potential of these lives is incalculable and immeasurable.






April 2, 2010 - Outpatient facility will be more convenient Station Medical Center building will eliminate current problems

By William Kibler - bkibler@altoonamirror.com

Altoona Regional Health System is building its outpatient center in a retail mall in a building that was formerly a supermarket.

Developers build supermarkets and malls to be convenient for customers, and likewise, the hospital is building its outpatient center — anchored by imaging — to be convenient for patients.

Currently, the hospital can’t compete with freestanding for-profit imaging centers like 611 MRI, which have lucrative businesses that take income from one of the nonprofit hospital’s money-making services, which help offset the money-losing ones.

A major problem for the hospital’s outpatient services now is that patients go to the big complex on Howard Avenue, where they deal with parking complications, walking up and down hills and confusing architectural and landscape details. They also can get bumped by emergency patients who come in later with more serious problems such as heart attacks.

Hospital officials said the Station Medical Center building will avoid those problems.

Manning the new imaging center will be a new group of in-house radiologists, Lexington Radiology Inc. The group is replacing Sylvan Radiology, which has served the health system and Altoona Hospital since the 1970s.

The new group of 11 or 12 doctors — including some who worked for Sylvan — will be health system employees on salary, matching the most common model nowadays, said Chief Operating Officer Ron McConnell.

The new model will help improve service levels, patient satisfaction and rapport with referring doctors, given standards within employment contracts, McConnell said.

The medical staff has been asking for this kind of change for a long time, he said.

Radiology touches almost all hospital departments because they use its imaging capabilities as a diagnostic tool, McConnell said.

“We’re betting the farm on getting this all put together correctly,” he said of the Station Mall imaging center project.

The hospital will “compete wholeheartedly” with freestanding imaging centers, he said.

There will be two MRIs, a CT and a PET-CT scanner, five ultrasounds, three digital mammography units and general radiology rooms.

The outpatient center at Station Medical will also have a six-bed sleep lab, neurology testing, blood-lab draw stations, occupational medicine, physical medicine, cardiac rehab and surgical pre-testing.

The Station Medical outpatient center project is scheduled for completion in October.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.






April 2, 2010 - New business model helps hospitals succeed Toyota’s industry method has improved patient wait times, eliminates waste

By William Kibler - bkibler@altoonamirror.com

Toyota hurt its good name recently with accelerator problems that sent motorists careening to repair shops. But the car company’s longstanding industrial method has nevertheless burnished its outstanding reputation by serving as blueprint for a radical speedup of emergency services in Pittsburgh.

Introduced in western Pennsylvania by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill when he led the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative, the Toyota process seeks to eliminate waste and everything that doesn’t directly serve patients, said Dave Kish, executive director of emergency services and patient logistics at St. Clair Hospital. The transformation at St. Clair in turn will be the model for a proposed $8 million renovation of the emergency department at Altoona Regional Health System.

As the two-campus local hospital contemplated consolidation of its emergency departments into a single larger version on Howard Avenue, it looked for best practice examples and settled on St. Clair — which is in the 99th percentile for patient satisfaction, Chief Operating Officer Ron McConnell said.

Altoona Regional leaders visited and found the St. Clair emergency department amazingly quiet, unhurried and organized, not at all like the TV show “ER,” McConnell said.

Statistics tell the St. Clair emergency department story best.

At St. Clair, the old wait time for patients to reach a treatment room averaged 54 minutes. After the transformation based on the Toyota method, it was 18 minutes.

And, with the process still at work, it was down to four minutes for January, Kish said.

At St. Clair, the old wait time for patients to see a doctor was 81 minutes. After the change, it was 40. For January, Kish said it was 19 minutes.

Altoona Regional is hoping for similar results, although the current wait times are not bad, according to statistics McConnell provided.

The renovation goal is for patients to be in a treatment bay within five minutes and to see a doctor in 20. Since late 2008, the median time for Altoona patients to reach a room is about 12 minutes, while the median time for patients to see a doctor is about 22 minutes.

Both place the hospital about fourth in a ranking of 22 comparable institutions in a Voluntary Hospitals of America survey. St. Clair Hospital leaders received training in the method about four years ago and began working on emergency department improvements in 2008.

Previously at St. Clair, a triage nurse would evaluate an emergency patient, then send him back to the waiting room. Then a registrar would call him to her desk, register the patient and send him back to the waiting room. Then a nurse would call the patient up for full assessment, then send him back to the waiting room. Then a nurse would summon the patient to a treatment bay, where he’d await a doctor.

Under the new system at St. Clair, an intake nurse brings the patient to a treatment room right away, where a nurse assesses him, taking notes on a laptop at bedside. A registrar then wheels in electronic equipment and registers the patient, also at bedside.

It saves time and affords more privacy.

The Toyota process is “part of our culture now,” Kish said. “We use it for just about everything we do.” The expansion of the Altoona emergency department is a huge benefit for the community to improve patient flow and satisfaction, McConnell said.

The emergency department will go from 38 bays — 28 at the Altoona campus and 10 at Bon Secours — to 52, all at the Altoona campus, expanding into what is currently radiology, as radiology relocates much of its capacity to Station Medical Center. The new setup will feature actual rooms instead of curtained bays to provide more privacy and eliminate uncomfortable situations.

It can be unnerving for a patient with a minor complaint to have someone retching in the next bay on one side and someone suffering a heart attack in the bay on the other, with only fabric in between, McConnell said.

Likewise, it can be awkward for a patient with a problem that for whatever reason draws attention.

“There’s not a lot of dignity in the current model,” he said.

The new setup will allow for better segregation of patients, McConnell said.

The hospital will retain imaging capacity near the emergency room, mostly for inpatients and for outpatients likely to require admission, McConnell said.

To further streamline the experience for emergency patients, the hospital plans to designate specific parking spots for them. It may also provide valet service, making use of a lot behind the boiler room building that it could gate.

Not all the rooms in the new setup will have doors, as some patients need to be supervised, he said.

When the emergency department project gets as far as having 38 new rooms ready — the current combined total for both campuses — probably in December, the hospital may close the Bon Secours campus.

The hospital expects to have all 52 bays operational by July 2011. Only at that point will the hospital be able to provide service at the level of St. Clair Hospital, McConnell said.

The Altoona project is part of a $60 million package of improvements that includes consolidation of many outpatient services at Station Medical Center; establishing behavioral health, wound care, information technology and data centers at the former Altoona Center building; and closing the Bon Secours campus.   The hospital is using $48 million from a tax-exempt bond issue for the work along Howard Avenue and equipment at Station Medical. It’s using $12 million for the construction at Station Medical, because it can’t legally use tax-exempt bond money for improvements on a for-profit property.

The hospital gets a break on the long-term lease in return for the investment in construction.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.






April 2, 2010 - Health system to use facility as data center

By William Kibler - bkibler@altoonamirror.com

The Altoona Center for the mentally disabled on Howard Avenue was an imposing bastion that created an intimidating impression compounded by the building’s institutional look.

Having taken over the building recently, Altoona Regional Health System plans to use part of it as the health system’s data center, featuring elevated floors, secure walls and no pipes overhead that would break and cause damage to precious records. “A bunker house,” McConnell said.

Two years ago, a pipe broke in the hospital, taking out payroll information and part of the hospital’s switchboard. The information was backed up, but the incident sent a message that the hospital should protect its vital records better, he said.

In addition to the data center, the Altoona Center building will house the information technology staff to run the data center, inpatient and outpatient behavioral health, wound care, a finance office dedicated to ensuring the hospital bills properly for services, central scheduling and classroom space.

The Altoona Center project will cost about $13 million, including equipment. The last Altoona Center residents left on May 19, 2006, 17 months after the state announced its plans to close the facility, which was then one of six statewide.

Most of the residents went to Ebensburg Center or community settings.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.






April 1, 2010 - REGISTERED NURSE RETIRES WITH 42 YEARS OF SERVICE

Registered Nurse Eileen Civiello
Registered Nurse Eileen Civiello of Altoona retired Feb. 1 with 42 years of service in health care.

Civiello graduated from the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in 1967. She was hired by what was then Mercy Hospital and began working on 1B, Medical/Surgical/Orthopedic, and then Pavilion 1, Medical/Surgical/Oncology. She transferred to the Outpatient department in 1975 and helped to open the Same Day Surgery Unit in 1976. In the 1980s, Civiello served as the charge nurse in Same Day Surgery. In 2000 Civiello became a staff nurse in the department, a position she held until her retirement.






April 1, 2010 - REGISTERED NURSE EARNS PROMOTION

Registered Nurse Michelle Weaver
Registered Nurse Michelle Weaver of Hollidaysburg has been promoted to clinical manager of Tower 14, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, on the Altoona Hospital Campus.

Weaver received her associate degree in nursing from Mount Aloysius College in 2003.

She was hired as a staff nurse in August 2003 on B4 at what was then Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital, Altoona. She then held various positions until becoming a registered nurse in 2006.






April 1, 2010 - BARBARA M. LABBAN, M.D., CERTIFIED IN NEPHROLOGY BY AMERICAN BOARD OF INTERNAL MEDICINE

Barbara M. Labban, M.D.
Barbara M. Labban, M.D., a member of the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff, has passed her certification exam and is certified in Nephrology by the American Board of Internal Medicine through 2019.

Dr. Labban practices with Blair Renal Associates, 501 Howard Ave., Suite 204D, Altoona.

Certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) stands for the highest standard in internal medicine. Nephrology is one of its 19 subspecialties. Passage of the certification exam means the physician has demonstrated that she has the clinical judgment, skills and attitudes essential for the delivery of excellent patient care. ABIM is not a membership society, but a nonprofit, independent evaluation organization.






April 1, 2010 - JEEVITH I. KUMARESAN, M.D. CERTIFIED BY AMERICAN BOARD OF PEDIATRICS

Jeevith I. Kumaresan, M.D.
Jeevith I. Kumaresan, M.D., a member of the Altoona Regional Health System Medical Staff, recently passed her certification exam and is now board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Dr. Kumaresan is in practice with Pediatric Healthcare Associates, 615 6th Ave., Altoona.

The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) certifies general pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists based on standards of excellence that lead to high quality health care during infancy, childhood, adolescence, and the transition into adulthood. The ABP certification provides assurance to the public that a general pediatrician or pediatric subspecialist has successfully completed accredited training and fulfills the continuous evaluation requirements.






March 22, 2010 - DIET CLERK RETIRES WITH 39 YEARS OF SERVICE

Bernadette
Bernadette “Bernie” Mueller, a diet clerk with the Nutrition Services department, Altoona Hospital Campus, Altoona Regional Health System, retired Feb. 28 with 39 years of service.

Mueller of Altoona was hired Nov. 17, 1970, as a diet clerk and held the position throughout her career.






March 19, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN PROVIDES MEDICAL RELIEF TO HAITI EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS

Dr. Neal treats a Haitian child.
Clifford Neal, D.O., an emergency medicine physician with Altoona Regional Health System, helped provide medical relief to Haiti earthquake victims while deployed with the National Medical Disaster System, PA-1 DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team). The unit was attached to the Army 82nd Airborne to provide medical relief in the southern and eastern portions of Port Au Prince, a city of approximately 3 million.

An earthquake struck Haiti Jan. 12 just southwest of Port Au Prince, its capital and largest city. The event has been categorized as the largest natural disaster in the Western Hemisphere this century.

“The initial sight was one truly beyond description,” Dr. Neal said. “Massive destruction, death and injury, with the dead estimated at more than 230,000. Dust, smoke and ground contamination abounded.”

The 82nd Airborne and PA-1 DMAT, in conjunction with other DMAT teams, provided emergency care from both a base and with foot and Humvee teams deployed into the city and the transient “tent cities” that emerged shortly after the quake.

“Many victims required crude field amputations and medical care in a very austere and unclean environment,” he said. “Major bone and soft tissue injuries went weeks before receiving any treatment.

“Illness due to dehydration and tainted food and water became prevalent throughout the city, especially among small children and infants,” Dr. Neal said.

Medical equipment and treatment resources were often destroyed with hospitals that collapsed in the quake. Essential needs for the medical teams were limited to what supplies could be shipped in, and base hygiene was made difficult by limited water for cleaning. Transport of patients, personnel and supplies was impeded by extensive damage to the only major seaport and airport and debris obstructing many streets. Despite the barriers, PA-1 DMAT and its associates provided medical and surgical treatment to over 3,500 victims.

“The Haitian people proved to be immensely stoic, proud and resilient,” Dr. Neal said. “They were appreciative of the efforts put forth by the American teams. Their perseverance and faith were beyond measure, and their ability to survive massive injury quite astounding.

“Working with these people was a great honor and truly a humbling experience. While a great impact was made on many lives, it was a tiny drop in a very large bucket of despair,” Dr. Neal said.

Dr. Neal returned to the U.S. with his unit in early February after a 13-day deployment.

Photo: Dr. Neal treats a Haitian child.






March 16, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL ALZHEIMER’S SUPPORT GROUP PRESENTS SPEAKER

The Altoona Regional Alzheimer’s Support Group will feature speaker Melissa McHugh, program director for Nulton Diagnostic and Treatment Center, at its meeting Tuesday, March 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Allegheny Room of the Outpatient Center on the Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona.

The program is entitled, “Approaches and Activities for Individuals with Alzheimer’s or Related Dementias.” McHugh has a master’s degree in recreational therapy.

The program is open to caregivers and the public. For more information, call 889-2141.






March 16, 2010 - Safe Kids Blair County Joins National Health and Safety Partners to Eliminate ‘Forgotten Child’ Deaths

As spring approaches, bringing with it warmer weather, Safe Kids Blair County is working to increase awareness and urge caregivers to never leave children alone in a vehicle.

Unfortunately, though it is only March, the first heat stroke fatality has already occurred, in Florida on 71-degree day. With the goal of having no more children die from heat stroke when they are “forgotten” in cars, safety experts and child advocates remind parents and caregivers to always check for sleeping children before leaving a vehicle.

Between 1998 and 2009, 445 children died from heat stroke because they were unattended in vehicles that became too hot for them to survive.

“A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, and unattended children have no way of protecting themselves in a hot vehicle” said Sherry Turchetta, Altoona regional Health System educator and Safe Kids Blair County coordinator. “The overall goal of the campaign we are launching today is to make sure no more children will die in 2010 because they were unattended in a vehicle. We want parents and caregivers to take precautions so this tragedy does not happen to them.”

More than 50 percent of the children who have died from heat stroke were forgotten by a caring adult who became distracted when they left the vehicle. When left unattended by an adult, 30 percent of affected kids gained entry into an unlocked vehicle, became trapped and were overcome by heat. It takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death and serious, permanent injury in a hot car. Drivers must keep car doors locked and keys out of reach from young children.

Safe Kids Blair County urges all adults who transport children to take the following steps:
  • Call 911 if they see a child unattended in a vehicle.
  • Never leave children alone in a car — even for 1 minute.
  • Set your cell phone or Blackberry reminder to be sure you drop your child off at daycare.
  • Set your computer “Outlook” program to ask you, “Did you drop off at daycare today?”
  • Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car on the floor in front of the child in a back seat. This forces the adult to open the back door and observe the child.
  • Have a plan with your child care provider to call if your child does not arrive when expected.
  • Keep keys and remote entry key fobs out of children’s reach.
  • Lock all vehicles at all times.
  • Check cars and trunks first if a child goes missing.
For more information on preventing hyperthermia deaths, please call Safe Kids Blair County at 814-889-7802 or visit www.ggweather.com/heat and www.safekids.org/nlyca. Be sure to NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE in a car.

Safe Kids Blair County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Its members include local and state police departments, Pennsylvania Department of Health, local businesses, and Pa. chapter of TIPP. Safe Kids Blair County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Blair County was founded in 1991 and is led by Altoona Regional Health System.






March 16, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN APRIL

Altoona Regional Health System offers the following support group meetings and patient clinics in April as a public service to the community. They are listed alphabetically according to the campus on which they are conducted.

Support groups meeting on the Altoona Hospital Campus use the Allegheny and Bedford rooms and the Rotunda on the 6th floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona. Dining Room B is adjacent to the main cafeteria. The 4F Conference Room is in the Behavioral Health Center, 5th Street and Willow Avenue.

The Bariatric Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, in the Juniata Room. Please call 943-7040 for information.

The Breastfeeding Support Group meets at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 889-2557.

The Caregivers Corner Support Group meets at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 1, at Hoss’s in Duncansville. For information, call 889-3123.

The Central Pennsylvania Ostomy Society meets at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 18, in the Rotunda. Please call 944-2766.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Group meets at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Dining Room B, Fourth Floor, Tower. Call 889-2141 for information.

Diabetes Outpatient Education is available by individual appointment and group sessions. A referral by a physician is required. Call 889-2487 for information.

The Lap Band Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, in the Bedford Room. Call 943-7040 for information.

The Parkinson’s Support Group meets at 11 a.m. Monday, April 26, at Hoss’s Restaurant, Altoona. Call 889-2141 for information.

The Support Group for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, in the 4F Conference Room. Call 889-2141 for information.

The following support groups and clinics meet at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave. The Trzeciak Conference Suite is in the Education Center at 2621 8th Ave. For Kaufman Dining Room, Sleep Medicine and fourth floor waiting room, please use the 7th Avenue entrance.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m. every Monday in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 946-9002.

The Breast Cancer Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 1, in the Trzeciak Conference Suite. For information, call 886-6458.

The Faith-based Bereavement/Grief Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, March 7 and 21, in the fourth floor waiting room. For information, call 889-3323.

The Stroke Support Group meets at noon Tuesday, April 13, in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 889-4463.

A Wheelchair Clinic will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 13, in the second floor Physical Medicine gym. Physician referral required. Call for information and appointment, 889-4463.






March 15, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES APRIL PROGRAMS

The Healthy Living Club has scheduled the following educational programs and screenings for April as a community service. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665 to make an appointment or to register. The Altoona Hospital Campus is at 620 Howard Ave.; the Bon Secours Hospital Campus is at 2500 7th Ave., and the Education Center is at 2621 8th Ave.

Join Vicki Wertz, attorney and Altoona Regional Ethics Committee chairperson, for HealthCare Decision Making: Understanding the Importance of Advance Directives on Thursday, April 8. She will discuss the importance of making your health care wishes known to your loved ones; what considerations are involved, and how to go about executing an advance directive. Both durable power of attorney for health care and living wills will be discussed. Ample time will be allotted for questions. Lunch is at 11 a.m. followed by the program until 1 p.m. at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite, 2621 8th Ave. No fee. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

A free osteoporosis screening (heel scan) is available for men and women by appointment only on Friday, April 9, from 12:30-3 p.m. in the Kaufman Dining Room, Bon Secours Hospital Campus. No fee. Call 889.2630 to schedule your appointment. Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because bone loss happens without symptoms. Osteoporosis occurs when, over time, bone loss causes bones to become porous, brittle and more likely to break. This painless screening takes just a few minutes and assesses bone density in the heel (a good indicator of bone health and fracture risk) by using ultrasound. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

A Seniors for Safe Driving refresher course will be offered from 6-10 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite.

The four-hour refresher course is for anyone who has taken the eight-hour course. The fee is $15. Registration required. Call 1.800.559.4880 or log on to www.sfsd-pa.com. This classroom 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 require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

Conflict causes emotional wounds and pain that need to be healed, not just managed. Join Dr. Mlen-Too Wesley, a conflict management specialist, faculty member at Penn State Altoona and member of the Altoona Regional Pastoral Care team, for "Conflict and Healing Emotional Wounds," a four-week series. Two sessions will be offered (choose one or attend both series) 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, April 14 through May 5 inclusive, and/or Wednesdays, June 16 through 30 inclusive. The program is at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite. Fee $25 for each four-week series. Registration required. Class size limited. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Healing brings wholeness, peace, restoration and good health. The series will help people with healing and building healthy interpersonal relationships.

Join Sharon Rydbom as she guides you in making a cute painted tea towel to brighten the kitchen. Two sessions are offered: Friday, April 16, 6:30 p.m. OR Sunday, April 18, 1:30 p.m. Class will take approximately two hours. The program is at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite. Materials required include a 7x7-inch piece of cardboard, covered first with aluminum foil then wax paper, five paper towels, masking tape, large Styrofoam plate, paint shirt or cover-up (optional) and fabric brush and Identi-pen (you bring or we provide). Cost: $7 if you have fabric paint brush and Identi-pen; $13 without. Call 889.2630 or toll-free 1.888.313.4665. Class size is limited. Must register before April 9.

A Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) screening will be offered by appointment only 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday, April 19, at the Vascular Institute, Altoona Hospital Campus, 3rd floor, Outpatient Center. No fee. Call 889.2005 or 1.877.855.8152 to schedule your appointment. Peripheral Artery Disease occurs when plaque clogs leg arteries or vessels and restricts blood flow. Untreated PAD can not only make walking difficult but may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Kay Adams, nurse practitioner and manager of Central Pa. Cardiovascular Associates, will check for PAD with an ABI (ankle-brachial index) screen, a painless process in which blood pressure is measured in legs and arms to determine blood flow. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

Join Gail Murphy, registered instructor in Hatha yoga, for a five-week series Tuesdays, April 27 through May 25. Gail leads this program, which offers mind/body exercise, breath control, stretching and strengthening to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Class takes place in the Auditorium, School of Nursing (building behind helicopter pad), Altoona Hospital Campus. Fee $25 for either beginner or intermediate classes. Beginners: 5:30-6:40 p.m. Intermediate: 6:50-8 p.m. Register now as class is limited to 30. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Yoga mat is needed for all classes.






March 15, 2010 - NATIONAL HEALTH CARE DECISION DAY SET FOR APRIL 16

Altoona Regional Health System, along with other national, state and community organizations, is leading a massive effort to highlight the importance of advance health care decision making — an effort that has culminated in the formal designation of April 16, 2010, as National Health Care Decisions Day (NHDD).

As a participating organization, Altoona Regional is providing information and tools for the public to talk about their wishes with family, friends and health care providers, and execute written advance directives (health care power of attorney and living will) in accordance with Pennsylvania state laws. These resources are available at www.nationalhealthcaredecisionsday.org.

Altoona Regional is offering two opportunities to learn about advance directives. The first is “Health Care Decision Making: Understanding the Importance of Advance Directives” on Thursday, April 8, presented by attorney Vicki Wertz, Altoona Regional Ethics Committee chairperson. She will discuss the importance of making your health care wishes known to your loved ones; what considerations are involved, and how to go about executing an advance directive, both durable power of attorney for health care and living wills. Ample time will be allotted for questions.

Lunch is at 11 a.m. followed by the program until 1 p.m. in the Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite, 2621 8th Ave. No fee. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

The second opportunity is on National Health Care Decisions Day, April 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Altoona Regional is welcoming the public throughout the day in the main lobby on the Altoona Hospital Campus and outside the cafeteria entrance on the Bon Secours Hospital Campus with free information about advance care planning and advance directive forms. Pennsylvania advance medical directive forms and other information will be available. Please drop by and pick up this valuable information for you or a loved one.

“As a result of National Health Care Decisions Day, many more people in our community can be expected to have thoughtful conversations about their health care decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Wertz. “Fewer families and health care providers will have to struggle with making difficult health care decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient, and health care providers and facilities will be better equipped to address advance health care planning issues before a crisis and be better able to honor patient wishes when the time comes to do so.”






March 8, 2010 - COLORECTAL CANCER: THE RISKS AREN'T EQUAL

When it comes to colorectal cancer, each person needs to know his or her risks because risk is unique, based on family history, lifestyle factors and age.

And March is a good time to explore those risks because it is Colorectal Awareness Month.

"People have all different risks," said Ralph D. McKibbin, M.D., with Blair Gastroenterology Associates. "People with a family history of colon cancer or polyps need to get checked earlier and more frequently."

Dr. McKibbin is also Altoona Regional Health System's liaison physician for the Commission on Cancer and managing director of the Colon Cancer Prevention Foundation, a central Pennsylvania nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve colorectal cancer prevention through education and awareness.

He said even where you live is a risk factor.

"Here in Blair and Cambria counties, there is a significantly higher risk of colon cancer than for those living in the rest of the state and the country," McKibbin said. "Men in Blair County have 38.1 percent higher risk, and women 15.1 percent higher risk than the rest of the country."

While it has never been studied, McKibbin said he believes the higher rate is tied to Vitamin D deficiency — a proven risk factor for colon cancer. A study by the Canadian Cancer Society has shown that 1,000 units of Vitamin D cut the risk of colorectal cancer by 50 percent. By the end of winter, 50 to 60 percent of people living in the Northeast may be Vitamin D deficient.

Several other lifestyle habits are associated with colon cancer:
  • Being overweight
  • Failing to exercise
  • Consuming a diet high in red meat
"The risk is equal for men and women, so women need to get checked as well," McKibbin said. He emphasized this because according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in 2009, 50 percent of women mistakenly think it is a man's disease. It’s a misperception that needs to be corrected, he said.

Age and ethnicity are also important. For instance, President Barack Obama recently underwent a colonoscopy at age 48 because African Americans should be checked starting at age 45. African Americans have a higher risk of colon cancer. Those with normal risk start getting checked at age 50.

"Please know your risk and get checked," McKibbin said. "We are all not necessarily the same."

Altoona Regional is a nonprofit community health care provider. Two acute-care hospitals anchor the 497-bed system, which includes more than 20 affiliated health care companies. Altoona Regional offers centers of excellence in cancer care, heart care, neurosciences, behavioral health, vascular and wound care and much more. Its Regional Trauma Center serves more than 20 counties in Central Pennsylvania. The mission of Altoona Regional Health System is for exceptional people to provide exceptional health care.






March 5, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE RECEIVES $10,000 DONATION FROM WEIS MARKETS INC.

Weis Markets Inc. contributed $10,000 to Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life's TEAM Pink
Weis Markets Inc. contributed $10,000 to Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life's TEAM Pink, which is raising money for new digital mammography machines the health system is purchasing. The new service will be offered at a new women's breast care center in an outpatient imaging facility at the Station Medical Center. The service is expected by fall.

"Weis Markets has been a good partner for us for many years and has given us many donations," said Ron McConnell, chief operating officer, Altoona Regional. "I hope the women in the area recognize the commitment they have made to the area. We are glad to be partners with them." To make a donation and join TEAM Pink, contact the Foundation at 814.889.6406.

Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which exists to inspire gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations and other entities to support the preservation of health care for the well-being of community members in Central Pennsylvania. As a qualified charitable organization, donations to the Foundation for Life are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Photo: At the check presentation are (from left): Neil Port, vice chair, Foundation for Life; Ann Benzel, chair, Foundation for Life; Terry Cox, district manager, Weis Markets; Mike Cavallo, store manager, Weis Markets; Mike Corso, director, Altoona Regional Imaging Services, and Brad Kochenour, regional vice president, Weis Markets.






March 4, 2010 - NURSE MANAGER ACCEPTS NEW POSITION

Todd Azeles, RN, BS
Todd Azeles, RN, BS, of Duncansville has accepted the position of nurse manager of Tower 14's Medical Oncology and Surgical units. It is the first time both units have been combined under one nurse manager.

He was hired in May 1988 by then Mercy Hospital as a staff nurse in Oncology. Through his 22-year career he has held various nursing positions including nurse manager for the past six years of B4, a Medical Surgical/Oncology unit at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus. He had also recently assumed responsibility for B3, a Medical Surgical/Orthopedics unit.

Azeles received his Bachelor's of Science degree in health planning and administration from Penn State University, University Park, and his associate’s degree in nursing from Mount Aloysius College, Cresson.






March 4, 2010 - NURSE EDUCATOR APPOINTED TO STATE NURSES ASSOCIATION POSITION

Helen Seidel, R.N., MSN
Helen Seidel, R.N., MSN, a nurse educator in the Education department at Altoona Regional Health System, has been appointed to serve on the Continuing Education Reviewer Unit of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association.

This is a voluntary position and a two-year appointment that was approved by the association’s president and board of directors. As a member of the reviewer unit, Seidel will review submissions of educational presentations for continuing education credits.

Seidel applied for the position because she values the educational component of nursing: “I think continuing education is important for nurses, and I wanted to get more involved in the organization. I also feel it is important for nurses to be aware of legislation that impacts the profession and the provision of health care.”

Seidel lives in Altoona, which is part of District 5 of the Pennsylvania Nurses Association.






March 3, 2010 - PENN STATE ALTOONA LADY LIONS RAISE $1,500 FOR ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE'S TEAM PINK

Fredina M. Ingold, director of Athletics, presents a $1,500 donation to Ann Benzel, chair, Altoona Regional Foundation for Life
The Penn State Altoona women's basketball team sold t-shirts and raised $1,500 for the Foundation for Life’s TEAM Pink campaign for digital mammography.

At their Feb. 20 game against Penn State Behrend, the women sported pink attire to raise breast cancer awareness and support TEAM Pink.

Altoona Regional will offer digital mammography in its planned women’s breast care center at the Station Medical Center. Digital mammography images appear in seconds on a computer screen allowing for better visibility, greater image flexibility and faster results. With digital mammography, Altoona Regional can electronically transmit images to physician offices as well as to experts in other communities.

To make a donation and join TEAM Pink, contact the Foundation at 814.889.6406.

Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which exists to inspire gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations and other entities to support the preservation of health care for the well-being of community members in Central Pennsylvania. As a qualified charitable organization, donations to the Foundation for Life are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Photo: On behalf of the Penn State Altoona women’s basketball team, Fredina M. Ingold (right), director of Athletics, presents a $1,500 donation to Ann Benzel, chair, Altoona Regional Foundation for Life.






February 18, 2010 - PSYCHIATRIST EARNS CERTIFICATION FROM AMERICAN BOARD OF PSYCHIATRY

Waleed Mushref, M.D.
Waleed Mushref, M.D.
Waleed Mushref, M.D., a member of the Altoona Regional Medical Staff, has passed the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology exam for initial certification in psychiatry. Dr. Mushref is a full-time psychiatrist with Primary Health Network, Altoona Behavioral Health Center, an outpatient behavioral health office.

In becoming board certified, Dr. Mushref has completed rigorous training and achieved the gold standard in each of the six core competencies of patient care, medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, systems-based practice and practice-based learning and improvement to practice quality specialized medicine in psychiatry.

This certification is valid until Dec. 31, 2019.

The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. (ABPN) is a nonprofit corporation that was founded in 1934. Since 1935, when its first examination was delivered, the ABPN has been serving the public interest and promoting excellence in the practices of psychiatry and neurology through its certification and maintenance of certification processes. These processes are designed to identify qualified specialists through rigorous credential and training requirements and successful completion requirements and successful completion of its board examinations for psychiatry, neurology, or neurology with special qualification in child neurology. The ABPN is a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties.






February 18, 2010 - CARDIOLOGY TECHNICIAN RETIRES WITH 34 YEARS OF SERVICE

Cardiology Technician Ruby Albright of Roaring Spring
Cardiology Technician Ruby Albright of Roaring Spring
Cardiology Technician Ruby Albright of Roaring Spring retired January 1 with 34 years of service.

She was hired in April 1976 as a phlebotomist in the lab. During her 14 years in the Lab, Albright received the very first Employee of the Month award when it was established. She transferred to the Cardiology department Sept. 19, 1990, as a cardiology technician.






February 18, 2010 - LOCAL SCHOOLS RAISE $4,500 FOR ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE’S TEAM PINK

The Claysburg-Kimmel and Bellwood-Antis High School girl's basketball teams raised $4,500 for the Foundation for Life's TEAM Pink campaign for digital mammography
The Claysburg-Kimmel and Bellwood-Antis High School girl’s basketball teams sold t-shirts and pink ribbon money banks, and raised $4,500 for the Foundation for Life’s TEAM Pink campaign for digital mammography.

On Feb. 2 and 3, members of the schools’ girl’s and boy’s basketball teams sported pink attire at their respective junior varsity and varsity games to raise breast cancer awareness. They also honored breast cancer survivors, quizzed fans on important screening guidelines, sold chances for pink-themed prize baskets and much more.

Altoona Regional will offer digital mammography in its planned women’s breast care center at the Station Medical Center. Digital mammography images appear in seconds on a computer screen allowing for better visibility, greater image flexibility and faster results. With digital mammography, Altoona Regional can electronically transmit images to physician offices as well as to experts in other communities.

To make a donation and join TEAM Pink, contact the Foundation at 814.889.6406.

Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which exists to inspire gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations and other entities to support the preservation of health care for the well-being of community members in Central Pennsylvania. As a qualified charitable organization, donations to the Foundation for Life are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Photo: At the check presentation were (from left): Claysburg-Kimmel teammates Bobbi McDonald (daughter of Altoona Regional employee Sherri McDonald), Ronette Claar and Angela Kittle, and Foundation for Life board member Sherry DelGrosso.






February 17, 2010 - ANNUAL REPORT OUTLINES HEALTH SYSTEM'S IMPACT ON COMMUNITY

In fiscal 2009, Altoona Regional Health System provided more than $30 million in community benefit - just ask recipients Emily Rudder, Lynette Luke or Jean Reighard. They are just three of the thousands of area residents touched by the good deeds of Altoona Regional and its employees.

Rudder found emergency shelter at an Altoona home donated to Family Services Inc. by Altoona Regional. Luke, a first-time mother, found help and support breastfeeding her daughter through the Altoona Regional Breastfeeding Support Group. And, for many years, Jean Reighard found help and encouragement at the Alzheimer's support group.

The annual report is available for free by calling 889-2271 or online and details how the health system gives back to the community.

"With our tremendous people and resources, we believe we have an obligation to reach beyond our walls to meet the needs of the communities and individuals we serve," said Jerry Murray, Altoona Regional president and CEO. "And we serve all regardless of ability to pay."






February 17, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES MARCH PROGRAMS

In fiscal 2009, Altoona Regional Health System provided more than $30 million in community benefit — just ask recipients Emily Rudder, Lynette Luke or Jean Reighard. They are just three of the thousands of area residents touched by the good deeds of Altoona Regional and its employees.

Rudder found emergency shelter at an Altoona home donated to Family Services Inc. by Altoona Regional. Luke, a first-time mother, found help and support breastfeeding her daughter through the Altoona Regional Breastfeeding Support Group. And, for many years, Jean Reighard found help and encouragement at the Alzheimer’s support group.

The annual report is available for free by calling 889-2271 or online and details how the health system gives back to the community.

"With our tremendous people and resources, we believe we have an obligation to reach beyond our walls to meet the needs of the communities and individuals we serve," said Jerry Murray, Altoona Regional president and CEO. "And we serve all regardless of ability to pay."






February 17, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES MARCH PROGRAMS

The Healthy Living Club has scheduled the following educational programs and screenings for March as a community service. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665 to make an appointment or to register. The Altoona Hospital Campus is at 620 Howard Ave.; the Bon Secours Hospital Campus is at 2500 7th Ave., and the Education Center is at 2621 8th Ave.

A Child Safety Seat Checkup Station will be conducted Friday, March 12, 9:30-11 a.m. in the Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level. Look for the Safe Kids van. No fee. By appointment only. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889.7802. Find out if your child’s safety seat is installed properly. Your child’s life may depend on it.

A free osteoporosis screening (heel scan) is available for men and women by appointment only on Friday, March 5, from 12:30-3 p.m. in the Kaufman Dining Room, Bon Secours Hospital Campus.

No fee. Call 889.2630 to schedule your appointment. Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because bone loss happens without symptoms. Osteoporosis occurs when, over time, bone loss causes bones to become porous, brittle and more likely to break. This painless screening takes just a few minutes and assesses bone density in the heel (a good indicator of bone health and fracture risk) by using ultrasound. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

AARP Driver Safety Refresher Program will be offered Tuesday, March 9, from 6-10 p.m. in the Trzeciak Conference Suite, Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus. Fee: $12 for AARP members (AARP identification required); $14 for non-AARP members. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

This four-hour refresher course is for anyone who has taken the eight-hour course. This classroom 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 require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

A Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) screening will be offered by appointment only from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, at the Vascular Institute, 3rd floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. No fee. Call 889.2005 or 1.877.855.8152 to schedule your appointment. Peripheral Artery Disease occurs when plaque clogs leg arteries or vessels and restricts blood flow. Untreated PAD can not only make walking difficult but may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Kay Adams, nurse practitioner and manager of Central Pa. Cardiovascular Associates, will check for PAD with an ABI (ankle-brachial index) screen, a painless process in which blood pressure is measured in legs and arms to determine blood flow. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

Join Gail Murphy, registered instructor in Hatha yoga, for a six-week class Tuesdays, March 9 through April 13. The program offers mind/body exercise, breath control, stretching and strengthening to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Class takes place in the Auditorium, School of Nursing (building behind helicopter pad), Altoona Hospital Campus. Fee $30 for either beginner or intermediate classes. Beginners: 5:30-6:40 p.m. Intermediate: 6:50-8 p.m. Register now as class is limited to 25. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Yoga mat is needed for all classes.

Please join Dr. Ralph McKibbin of Blair Gastroenterology Associates at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 18, for a program on colon care. He will tell you what you should know to keep a healthy digestive tract. Topics include choosing nutrition-rich foods that enhance colon function; cancer prevention, testing and more. Ample time will be allotted for questions. The program will be held in the Rotunda, 6th floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. No fee. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665. Class size limited.

A program on "Growth and Change; Mission and Consolidation" will be presented Friday, March 19. Join Bob Strawser, Altoona Regional's executive director of Mission/Customer Service, as he shares his vision for Altoona Regional's Mission, Pastoral Care and Outreach Services and provides an update on plans to consolidate acute-care services on the Altoona Hospital Campus, move key outpatient services to the Station Medical Center, and renovate the former Altoona Center building. Ample time will be allotted for your questions. Lunch at 11 a.m. followed by program until 1 p.m. Bon Secours Hospital Campus Education Center, Trzeciak Conference Suite, 2621 8th Ave. No fee. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.






February 16, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN MARCH

Altoona Regional Health System offers the following support group meetings and patient clinics in March as a public service to the community. They are listed alphabetically according to the campus on which they are conducted.

Support groups meeting on the Altoona Hospital Campus use the Allegheny and Bedford rooms and the Rotunda on the 6th floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona. Dining Room B is adjacent to the main cafeteria. The 4F Conference Room is in the Behavioral Health Center, 5th Street and Willow Avenue.

The Bariatric Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, in the Juniata Room. Please call 943-7040 for information.

The Breastfeeding Support Group meets at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 889-2557.

The Caregivers Corner Support Group meets at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 4, at Hoss’s in Duncansville. For information, call 889-3123.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Group meets at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Dining Room B, Fourth Floor, Tower. Call 889-2141 for information.

Diabetes Outpatient Education is available by individual appointment and group sessions. A referral by a physician is required. Call 889-2487 for information.

The Lap Band Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, in the Bedford Room. Call 943-7040 for information.

The Parkinson’s Support Group meets at 11 a.m. Monday, March 22, at Hoss’s Restaurant, Altoona. Call 889-2141 for information.

The Support Group for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 17, in the 4F Conference Room. Call 889-2141 for information.

The following support groups and clinics meet at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave. The Trzeciak Conference Suite is in the Education Center at 2621 8th Ave. For Kaufman Dining Room, Sleep Medicine and fourth floor waiting room, please use the 7th Avenue entrance.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m. every Monday in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 946-9002.

The Breast Cancer Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 4, in the Trzeciak Conference Suite. For information, call 886-6458.

The Faith-based Bereavement/Grief Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, March 3 and 17, in the fourth floor waiting room. For information, call 889-3323.

The Sleep Apnea Support Group, a support group for people using CPAP or BiPAP therapy, meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, in the Institute for Sleep Medicine waiting room on the 4th floor. For information, call 889-4466.

The Stroke Support Group meets at noon Tuesday, March 9, in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 889-4463.

A Wheelchair Clinic will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 9, in the second floor Physical Medicine gym. Physician referral required. Call for information and appointment, 889-4463.






February 12, 2010 - PENN STATE ALTOONA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL GAME TO BENEFIT ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE'S TEAM PINK

The Penn State Altoona Lady Lions basketball team has joined the Foundation for Life's TEAM Pink. The team is dedicating its Saturday, Feb. 20, game against Penn State Behrend to the fund-raising campaign in support of lifesaving digital mammography.

Altoona Regional will offer digital mammography in its women’s breast care center at the Station Medical Center. Digital mammography images appear in seconds on a computer screen allowing for better visibility, greater image flexibility and faster results. With digital mammography, Altoona Regional can electronically transmit images to physician offices as well as to experts in other communities.

The game between the two teams will be held at 1 p.m. in the Adler Athletic Complex on the Penn State Altoona campus, 3000 Ivyside Drive, Altoona. Special T-shirts and pink ribbons will be sold at the game, with proceeds benefiting TEAM Pink.

To make a donation and join TEAM Pink, contact the Foundation at 814.889.6406.

Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which exists to inspire gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations and other entities to support the preservation of health care for the well-being of community members in Central Pennsylvania. As a qualified charitable organization, donations to the Foundation for Life are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.






February 4, 2010 - SIX ALTOONA FAMILY PHYSICIANS CONTRIBUTE TO NEW BOOK

Six faculty members of the Altoona Family Physicians Residency Program are contributing authors of the book “Essential Evidence” by Ebell, M.H., Ferenchick, G., Smith, M., Barry, H., Slawson, D., Shaughnessy, A., Forsch, R., Li, S., Wilkes, M., Usatine, R., eds. John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, N.J., 2009.

The AFP authors and chapters are:

Jennifer Good, M.D., "Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)"

Fiona McLellan, M.D., "Alopecia and Baldness."

Arthur Morrow, D.O., "Bell's Palsy"

Terry Ruhl, M.D., "Epistaxis and Nosebleeds"

Laura Siems, M.D., "Nipple Discharge"

Kathleen Sweeney, D.O., "Acne and Rosacea," co-authored with Richard P. Usatine, M.D.

The Web version is now live at www.essentialevidence.com, and a hard copy is to be published soon.

The AFP residency program is affiliated with Altoona Regional Health System and trains physicians in the practice of Family Medicine.






January 26, 2010 - LOCAL SCHOOLS JOIN ALTOONA REGIONAL FOUNDATION FOR LIFE’S TEAM PINK

The Claysburg-Kimmel and Bellwood-Antis High School girl’s basketball teams have been selling t-shirts and pink ribbon money banks, and collecting change, in support of the Foundation for Life’s TEAM Pink campaign.

The Tuesday, Feb. 2, game between the teams is dedicated solely to raising funds for TEAM Pink. The game starts at 6 p.m. at the Claysburg- Kimmel High School. T-shirts, ribbons and TEAM Pink bracelets will be available for purchase with proceeds benefiting the campaign for life-saving digital mammography.

Altoona Regional will offer digital mammography in its planned women’s breast care center at the Station Medical Center. Digital mammography images appear in seconds on a computer screen allowing for better visibility, greater image flexibility and faster results. With digital mammography, Altoona Regional can electronically transmit images to physician offices as well as to experts in other communities.

The schools will present a check to a TEAM Pink and Foundation for Life board member at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at Bellwood-Antis High School between the JV and varsity boys’ basketball games.

To make a donation and join TEAM Pink, contact the Foundation at 814.889.6406.

Altoona Regional Health System Foundation for Life is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which exists to inspire gifts from individuals, foundations, corporations and other entities to support the preservation of health care for the well-being of community members in Central Pennsylvania. As a qualified charitable organization, donations to the Foundation for Life are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.






January 22, 2010 - GO RED DAY TO SUPPORT THE FIGHT AGAINST HEART DISEASE AND STROKE IN WOMEN SET FOR FRIDAY, FEB. 5

It’s a simple, visible way to support the fight against heart disease and stroke in women Friday, Feb. 5 — by wearing red.

Cardiovascular disease — heart attacks and stroke — is the number one killer of American women. They cause one in every 2.6 female deaths.

Altoona Regional’s Vascular Institute, Primary Stroke Center, Cardiac Rehab department, HealthForce and Healthy Living Club encourage you to stop by either hospital campus for a free blood pressure checkup. The blood pressure screening will be offered between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the Atrium at Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., and at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 7th Avenue Lobby.

Drawings will also be held to win gift certificates for vegetable and fruit trays prepared by the hospital Nutrition Services department and for Subway sandwich party platters.

Women’s heart attack symptoms may be different from men’s because women tend to have blockages not only in the main arteries but also in smaller blood vessels, according to Kay Adams, CRNP, manager, Vascular Institute. If experiencing symptoms, call 911! Do not drive to the hospital yourself!

Symptoms may include:
  • Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath — get winded, hard to catch breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue
Risk factors for heart disease include:
  • Fat around the belly
  • High blood pressure (140/90 is Stage 1 hypertension)
  • High blood sugar (fasting blood sugar of 126 indicates diabetes)
  • High triglycerides
  • Mental stress and depression — makes it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment
Steps to prevent heart disease include:
  • Eat less red meat, more vegetables (red, yellow, green colors)
  • Eat more fiber (read labels for fiber content)
  • Exercise: Walk 10,000 steps a day
  • Reduce stress and emotional conflict — list stressors and what can be done about them
  • Increase joy and self-love — meditation, yoga, massage
In addition to heart attacks, cardiovascular disease also includes strokes.
  • Altoona Regional is a primary stroke center, said Janet Ashurst, a cardiac care registered nurse, neuroscience clinical coordinator. “This means a dedicated stroke team of trained professionals is available to provide emergent evaluation and treatment to halt the progression of brain damage from stroke or impending stroke to area residents. The stroke team evaluates a patient through NIH stroke scale assessment, CT scanning, EKG and lab testing. It’s available 24 hours daily.”
  • Stroke is the number three leading cause of death in the U.S. and the number one cause of functional disability.
  • Research has shown that compared to patients who received care in general medical units, patients on dedicated stroke units had a 17 percent reduction in death, a 7 percent increase in discharge to home and an 8 percent decrease in the length of stay, and the reception of a clot-busting drug rose from 2 to 10 percent.
  • If suspicious that a person has suffered a stroke, ask him or her to:
    • Smile. Does one side of the face droop?
    • Raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
    • Repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
    • If any of these signs of stroke are observed, call 911.







    January 21, 2010 - NURSE RECEIVES MASTER’S DEGREE

    Britney Dodson of Altoona
    Britney Dodson of Altoona

    Britney Dodson of Altoona, a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Unit, Altoona Hospital Campus, graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in the Science of Nursing Dec. 20.






    January 21, 2010 - ALTOONA FAMILY PHYSICIANS RESIDENCY PROGRAM EARNS NATIONAL ACCREDITATION

    The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has accredited the Altoona Family Physicians Residency Program for five years — the maximum allowed.

    The AFP residency program is affiliated with Altoona Regional Health System and trains physicians in the specialty of Family Medicine. It is one of 457 family medicine programs in the United States and one of 30 in Pennsylvania.

    The ACGME, based in Chicago, is the national organization that accredits residency programs in the United States.

    “Less than half of the residencies seeking accreditation get the five-year accreditation, so we did better than the majority,” said Don Beckstead, M.D., program director.

    The review of the program consists of the submission of a 110-page document detailing the residency curriculum, an on-site visit from a reviewer who verifies what is in the report and then a final review by a committee of all information submitted.

    Dr. Beckstead said, “The site visitor was very impressed with the quality of the faculty and the residents, as well as the support that the residency receives from Altoona Regional administration and the teaching attending physicians.”

    Charlie Driscoll, M.D., program director of the Family Medicine Residency Program in Lynchburg, Va., conducted the on-site visit.

    “He was a good person to impress,” said Dr. Beckstead. “Up until last year, he served as the head of the ACGME Review Committee for Family Medicine, so he knew all the rules.”






    January 21, 2010 - TWO CARDIOLOGY DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES RETIRE

    Jane Eckels, LPN
    Jane Eckels, LPN
    Cammy Pulcino, RTCV
    Cammy Pulcino, RTCV

    Jane Eckels, LPN, and Cammy Pulcino, RTCV, both of the Cardiology department, Altoona Hospital Campus, recently retired.

    Eckels, of Altoona, a cardiology technician, retired Jan. 4, with 28 years of service. She was hired in 1982, as an LPN on Tower 14. She later transferred to Tower 10. With additional training, Eckels became a cardiology technician in the Cardiology department, where she spent the last 17 years.


    Pulcino, of Hollidaysburg, a cardiovascular technologist, retired Jan. 2 with 39.5 years of service. She was hired in 1970 as a Radiology staff technician. In 1993, she was promoted to the department’s operations coordinator, a position she held until May 1994. She then transferred to the catheterization lab and became a cardiovascular technologist, a position she held until her retirement. Pulcino also earned a bachelor’s degree in business from St. Francis University in 1992.







    January 15, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL HEALTHY LIVING CLUB SCHEDULES FEBRUARY ROGRAMS

    The Healthy Living Club has scheduled the following educational programs and screenings for February as a community service. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665 to make an appointment or to register. The Altoona Hospital Campus is at 620 Howard Ave.; the Bon Secours Hospital Campus is at 2500 7th Ave., and the Education Center is at 2621 8th Ave.

    A Child Safety Seat Checkup Station will be conducted Friday, Feb. 12, 9:30-11 a.m. in the Altoona Hospital Campus parking garage, Blue Level. Look for the Safe Kids van. No fee. By appointment only. Call Safe Kids Blair County at 889.7802. Find out if your child’s safety seat is installed properly. Your child’s life may depend on it.

    A free osteoporosis screening (heel scan) is available for men and women by appointment only on Friday, Feb. 5, from 12:30-3 p.m. in the Kaufman Dining Room, Bon Secours Hospital Campus.

    No fee. Call 889.2630 to schedule your appointment. Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because bone loss happens without symptoms. Osteoporosis occurs when, over time, bone loss causes bones to become porous, brittle and more likely to break. This painless screening takes just a few minutes and assesses bone density in the heel (a good indicator of bone health and fracture risk) by using ultrasound. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

    AARP Driver Safety Program will be offered Tuesday, Feb. 9, and Wednesday, Feb. 10, from 6-10 p.m. in the Trzeeciak Conference Suite, Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus. Fee: $12 for AARP members (AARP identification required); $14 for non-AARP members. Registration required. Call 889.2630 or 1.888.313.4665.

    This classroom 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 require both spouses insured under the same policy to take the class to receive a discount.

    A Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) screening will be offered by appointment only 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the Vascular Institute, Altoona Hospital Campus, 3rd floor, Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus. No fee. Call 889.2005 or 1.877.855.8152 to schedule your appointment. Peripheral Artery Disease occurs when plaque clogs leg arteries or vessels and restricts blood flow. Untreated PAD can not only make walking difficult but may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Kay Adams, nurse practitioner and manager of Central Pa. Cardiovascular Associates, will check for PAD with an ABI (ankle-brachial index) screen, a painless process in which blood pressure is measured in legs and arms to determine blood flow. Please be prepared to remove shoes and socks.

    Join Randy Grabill, clinical dietitian, for “Good Fats, Bad Fats: Do you Know the Difference?” at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 19, in the Trzeciak Conference Suite, Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus. What is the difference between a “good” fat and a “bad” fat, and which foods have them? Come sort out the confusion. Ample time allotted for questions. No fee. Registration required. Call 889-2630.

    A snowman pillow is the winter craft activity scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, or 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, at Trzeciak Conference Suite, Education Center, Bon Secours Hospital Campus. Class will take about 2 ½ hours. Cost: $18 if you have fabric paint brush and Identi-pen; $20 without. Call 889-2630. Class size limited. Must register before Feb.10. Materials required include 8x8 freezer paper (wax paper will do), five paper towels, large Styrofoam plate, paint shirt or cover-up (optional), fabric brush and Identi-pen.

    Unless otherwise noted, please discontinue PSA three days prior to date of program to allow for registrations. Thank you.






    January 15, 2010 - ALTOONA REGIONAL OFFERS SUPPORT GROUPS/CLINICS IN FEBRUARY

    Altoona Regional Health System offers the following support group meetings and patient clinics in February as a public service to the community. They are listed alphabetically according to the campus on which they are conducted.

    Support groups meeting on the Altoona Hospital Campus use the Allegheny and Bedford rooms and the Rotunda on the 6th floor of the Outpatient Center, Altoona Hospital Campus, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona. Dining Room B is adjacent to the main cafeteria. The 4F Conference Room is in the Behavioral Health Center, 5th Street and Willow Avenue.

    The Bariatric Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, in the Juniata Room. Please call 943-7040 for information.

    The Breastfeeding Support Group meets at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the Allegheny Room. Please call 889-2557.

    The Caregivers Corner Support Group meets at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at Hoss’s in Duncansville. For information, call 889-3123.

    The Depression and Bipolar Support Group meets at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Dining Room B., Fourth Floor, Tower. Call 889-2141 for information.

    Diabetes Outpatient Education is available by individual appointment and group sessions. A referral by a physician is required. Call 889-2487 for information.

    The Lap Band Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, in the Bedford Room. Call 943-7040 for information.

    The Parkinson’s Support Group meets at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 22, at Hoss’s Restaurant, Altoona. Call 889-2141 for information.

    The Support Group for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, in the 4F Conference Room. Call 889-2141 for information.

    The following support groups and clinics meet at the Bon Secours Hospital Campus, 2500 7th Ave. The Trzeciak Conference Suite is in the Education Center at 2621 8th Ave. For Kaufman Dining Room, Sleep Medicine and fourth floor waiting room, please use the 7th Avenue entrance.

    Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m. every Monday in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 946-9002.

    The Breast Cancer Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, in the Trzeciak Conference Suite. For information, call 886-6458.

    The Faith-based Bereavement/Grief Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Feb. 3 and 17, in the fourth floor waiting room. For information, call 889-3323.

    The Stroke Support Group meets at noon Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the Kaufman Dining Room. For information, call 889-4463.

    A Wheelchair Clinic will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the second floor Physical Medicine gym. Physician referral required. Call for information and appointment, 889-4463.






    January 12, 2010 - NATIONAL EXPERT ON BREASTFEEDING ISSUES SPEAKS TO CONFERENCE

    WHAT: The Pennsylvania Mid-State Lactation Coalition in association with Altoona Regional Health System presents “Current Headlines in Breastfeeding.”

    WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 13

    WHERE: School of Nursing Auditorium, Altoona Hospital Campus, Altoona Regional Health System, 620 Howard Ave., Altoona

    WHO: Kay Hoover, M. Ed., IBCLC, RLC, FILCA, a board certified lactation consultant since 1985, has worked in private practice and in breastfeeding centers and hospitals. She is the co-author of the “Breastfeeding Atlas” with Barbara Wilson Clay. Hoover is a national speaker on breastfeeding issues. Her topics are “Breastfeeding and Obesity” and “What to Do When the Baby Has Not Latched.” Hoover will be available for interviews between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.

    Also,

    Michael L. Humphrey, D.O. of Blair Medical Associates Endocrinology, Altoona, is board certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. He will address the issue of “Vitamin D Deficiency.” (Availability not confirmed.)

    WHY: Worldwide Healthy People 2010 goal for breastfeeding mothers is 75 percent at hospital discharge for the U.S.






    January 8, 2010 - IN-SERVICE ON CONCUSSION EDUCATION FOR ALTOONA AREA JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL PERSONNEL

    WHAT: Educational lectures and hands-on in-service provided by Altoona Regional Trauma Service and Medical Staff. This educational opportunity is for coaches, gym teachers and school nurses and focuses on the effects of mild traumatic brain injuries, also known as concussions, in sports. The purpose of the program is to increase awareness of the severity of these injuries and to provide tools to prevent further, more permanent injury.

    WHEN: 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15

    WHERE: Altoona Area Junior High School, 7th Avenue

    WHO: The following will be presenting during the in-service:
      Simon Lampard, M.D., F.A.C.S., medical director, Altoona Regional Trauma Service, Trauma/ Critical Care Services

      James P. Burke, M.D., Ph. D., neurosurgeon, Allegheny Brain & Spine Surgeons

      Hugh Newman, D.O., rehabilitation specialist, Altoona Regional/HealthSouth medical staff member

      Bill Weikert, PA-C, Altoona Regional Trauma Service

      Amy Stayer, R.N., CCRN, Altoona Regional trauma educator/trauma injury and prevention coordinator

      Flo Eberhart, NREMT-P, Altoona Regional pre-hospital manager

      Mike Schreyer, R.N., CEN, CFRN, EMT-P, HP, Stat MedEvac base site coordinator







    January 2, 2010 - FIRST BLAIR COUNTY BABY OF NEW YEAR BORN AT ALTOONA REGIONAL

    the first Blair County baby of 2010 was born at 6 a.m. Jan. 1
    The first Blair County baby of 2010 was born at 6 a.m. Jan. 1 in Altoona Regional Health System's Maternity department.

    Rylan Quarello was born to Shelly Claar and Joseph Quarello, both of Altoona. He weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces.

    As the first baby born at Altoona Regional, the family receives the following gifts:
    • Mother: a dozen red roses and a $50 gift certificate from Target
    • Father: a $50 gift certificate from Target
    • Baby: a $200 savings bond
    • A newborn picture taken at the hospital at no charge.
    There were four other babies born here Jan. 1. Their families received the following:
    • Mothers: ½ dozen red roses and a $25 gift certificate from Target
    • Fathers: $25 gift certificate from Target
    • Babies: $75 savings bond
    • Newborn picture taken at the hospital at no charge.




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