ALTOONA - On July 1, 2013, Altoona Regional became UPMC Altoona, part of the largest healthcare system in pennsylvania.
As part of the affiliation agreement, the healthcare giant, based in Pittsburgh, pledged to invest $250 million over 10 years to recruit physicians, and invest in equipment and programs at its Altoona facility. Local hospital officials say process of bringing new medical services to the area is accelerating.
UPMC Altoona is in the process of setting up telemedicine for doctors at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh to evaluate pediatric patients in the local emergency room and labor and delivery unit.
According to Dr. Linnane Batzel, UPMC Altoona, Senior VP for Quality and Medical Affairs, "we'll have a specialist from Pittsburgh Children's Hospital be able to see that child, talk to that child, talk to that child's family, see the lab work, and examine that child through the telemedicine process."
Dr Batzel says Children's Hospital doctors will be able to determine whether the child needs specialized care in Pittsburgh.
UPMC Altoona is also partnering with Magee-Womens Hospital, which is part of the UPMC system, to coordinate breast cancer care.
Other upcoming improvements slated for UPMC Altoona include:
--The transplant clinic at Station Medical Center which serves only kidney transplant patients will expand soon for liver transplant patients. Patients will have surgery at UPMC in Pittsburgh, but will receive for pre- and post-operative care in Altoona.
--The hospital plans to break ground in the fall for Logan Medical Center, an 85,000-square-foot medical complex on Logan Boulevard between Altoona and Hollidaysburg. The facility will offer hospital and physician services.
--A new radiation oncologist with special skills in stereotactic radiosurgery, a process that can deliver high doses of radiation to the target area with minimal exposure to the healthy tissue that surrounds it.
--An ear, nose and throat, head and neck, facial plastic and cosmetic surgeon, who will perform surgeries that have been unavailable here.
UPMC Altoona President Jerry Murray says "there has been significant progress toward making Altoona a regional hub for UPMC's world class care."