Highmark deal to infuse Forbes with $20 million of improvements
Four days after the announcement of a landmark deal between Highmark Insurance and West Penn Allegheny Health System, Dr. Mark Taylor said he was “still glowing.”
Taylor is chief of anesthesia at Forbes Regional Hospital, where Highmark has invested $20 million toward improvements as part of the health insurer's $1.1 billion purchase of West Penn Allegheny Health System.
“I think our biggest change in the last two years since the Highmark deal started to come together — and really in the seven years since I've been here — is that we're really a tertiary-care hospital in a community setting,” Taylor said.
“There's no need for patients to have to go downtown. The specialists from downtown have come out here.”
Renovations to the medical/surgical unit include bare floors in lieu of carpet, private rooms that have proven more comfortable for patients and a recently purchased five-armed robot, which makes some surgical procedures less invasive.
“That keeps us in step with changes,” said Forbes President and CEO Reese Jackson. “Robotic surgeries are becoming more and more common.”
Students from North American Martyrs School — a Catholic school just down the street from the hospital — named the robot RALPH, which stands for Remember to Always Love Patients and Help, said Forbes spokeswoman Maria Synan.
Four surgeons were added to the emergency department, as hospital officials work toward becoming accredited as a Level-2 Trauma center by October, Synan said. The hospital also opened a breast cancer center, which offers the latest in technology for diagnosing breast cancer.
The center is helping to ease the transition for patients from diagnosis to treatment, Jackson said.
While many of the improvements address patient care, changes to the outside of the building should help to bolster the hospital's identity, Jackson said.
For example, the massive blue Forbes sign at the top of the building.
“We've been tucked away over here,” Jackson said. “You know, UPMC East is fairly visible, even from the turnpike, so we did want to improve our visibility.”
Forbes Regional Hospital is just one of multiple area hospitals owned by WPAHS. It will be a challenge for Highmark to “make West Penn work,” said Steve Foreman, associate professor of health care administration at Robert Morris University in Moon.
Foreman said the insurer probably will be blamed for any adverse events that occur, such as increasing health premiums, failure to contract with UPMC and/or the closure of multiple community hospitals.
Highmark CEO, Dr. William Winkenwerder, said WPAHS not only will survive but that it will be revitalized.
Monroeville Manager Lynette McKinney said the renovations at Forbes are a win for the municipality.
“The Municipality of Monroeville will continue to benefit with great jobs and phenomenal healthcare,” McKinney said. “We are thrilled that the hospital will be financially viable for years to come.”
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff writers Alex Nixon and Luis Fábregas contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- School districts snooze on advice to move back high school start time
- School resource officer a sore point between Gateway, Monroeville officials