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Hospital consolidates, cuts jobs

AP—Two hospitals in western Pennsylvania’s second-largest health care system will consolidate to save money and prepare for federal changes in a move that could cost 1,500 jobs.

Allegheny General Hospital will become the primary hospital of the West Penn Allegheny Health System, while West Penn Hospital, which is also in Pittsburgh, will close its emergency room and move most of its medical and surgical programs to AGH. West Penn will maintain its burn center, women’s and infants’ center, and inpatient rehabilitation programs.

The moves are expected to occur early next year. President and CEO Christopher Olivia said the decision to consolidate and cut up to 1,500 jobs was driven partly by changes in the nation’s health care system, pushed by President Barack Obama’s administration.

 

“There is no more painful decision an organization can make than one that involves a loss of valued colleagues, many of whom have worked within the organization for a long time,” Olivia said.

Eligible workers will get severance packages, and help finding other jobs. Olivia also noted that the city has continued to lose population, and more people are seeking care in outlying areas. The health system in May announced that inpatient and emergency room services were closing at the Suburban Campus of Allegheny General in Bellevue, just west of the city. West Penn has continued to lose patients, with an average daily census of 240, or 47 percent capacity. Its health insurance reimbursements have dropped as a result and the hospital has continued to lose money.

The network lost $63 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2008, because of a $73 million accounting error that overstated its net accounts receivable. The health system continued to lose money into last year, despite cutting more than 300 of 13,000 workers in late 2008, and has lost $11.6 million in the last nine months through March 31.

The network had six hospitals, but will now have only four with the consolidation of Allegheny General and West Penn in Pittsburgh, and the conversion of the suburban campus to outpatient service.

The area’s largest health care system is run by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which operates 20 hospitals, as well as 400 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites.

Let’s swim

The Allegheny County Parks Department will hold free swimming lessons at their pools on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to 10:45 a.m. during the month of July.

Individuals five years old and over will be able to visit the pools at Boyce, North, South Parks and Settler’s Cabin. Individuals whose last names begin with A through K can attend Tuesday classes beginning July 6 and individuals with last names that begin with L through Z can attend Thursday classes beginning July 8.

For more information about the classes, visit http://www.alle­gheny­county.us/parks/swim.

Where’s my stuff?

AP—Police say a burglar stole flat screen televisions and jewelry from the home of Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton. City police issued a news release Monday that didn’t name Hampton, saying the personal assistant of a homeowner told police someone had removed the home’s alarm system and ransacked the house on Thursday.

Two police officials familiar with the case told The Associated Press it was Hampton’s home, but requested anonymity because the chief’s office has not authorized identifying the victim.

Hampton is from Texas and lives in the home only seasonally. A Steelers spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment. Police have not charged anyone, and were asking the public for anonymous tips in the case.

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