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Court validates Highmark Medicare plan that excludes UPMC

By Alex Nixon
Highmark Inc. won a court ruling Thursday allowing it to exclude UPMC hospitals and doctors from some plans it sells to seniors. Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini denied a request by Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Gov. Tom Corbett’s …

Kelly emphasizes need for candor to new VA Erie director

By Mike Wereschagin
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly said he had a “polite but professional” conversation with the incoming director of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Erie, one week after a congressional colleague criticized the promotion of David Cord over concerns about the …

Nurse defies Maine quarantine in standoff over Ebola

By The Associated Press
FORT KENT, Maine — Insisting she is perfectly healthy, nurse Kaci Hickox again defied the state’s Ebola quarantine Thursday by taking a bike ride with her boyfriend, and Maine health authorities struggled to reach a compromise that would limit her …

Pittsburgh asks judge to let abortion buffer zone remain during legal challenge

By Brian Bowling
Pittsburgh should be allowed to keep enforcing an abortion clinic buffer zone ordinance while five activists challenge its constitutionality, the city argued in court documents. The city contends its 15-foot buffer zone ordinance lacks the First Amendment problems that led …

CMU, Pitt researchers help identify genes that contribute to autism

By Adam Smeltz
Small variations in as many as 1,000 human genes could contribute to the risk of autism, a dramatic discovery that Pittsburgh scholars say should influence detection and treatment methods during the next 20 years. “If we can understand which genes …

Highmark’s new REMWorks Sleep Store will sell sleep apnea equipment

By Alex Nixon
Highmark Health is diversifying its for-profit operations with a first-of-its-kind retail store focused on sleep apnea and other sleep problems. Highmark, the state’s largest health …

Ebola virus could overwhelm health care system, AP finds

By The Associated Press
The American health care apparatus is so unprepared and short on resources to deal with the deadly Ebola virus that even small clusters of cases could overwhelm parts of the system, according to an Associated Press review of readiness at …

Controller: Pittsburgh EMS needs infusion to fix $1.3M deficit

By Bob Bauder
Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb said Wednesday the Emergency Medical Services bureau has a $1.3 million deficit because Mayor Bill Peduto’s office failed to anticipate retroactive raises in a contract with union paramedics, a notion Peduto’s office rejected as false. Lamb, …

Razing of Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette within reach with $1M grant

By Rich Cholodofsky
Monsour Medical Center, the abandoned hospital building that towers over Route 30 in Jeannette, could be torn down by next summer, Westmoreland County officials said Wednesday upon receiving a $1 million state grant for the work. County Planning Director Jason …

Feds berated as behind ball on Ebola

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s commander in the fight against Ebola was expected to operate below the public radar. But did that mean invisible? Ron Klain has barely been seen, and a week before midterm elections, Obama is pressing to dispel …

Obama rejects quarantine idea

By The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Tuesday forcefully dismissed the idea of a quarantine for medical workers returning from Ebola-affected countries, arguing that such an approach would undermine the broader effort to end the epidemic. The president did not directly criticize …

Pitt gathering for Salk focuses on global sustainability, climate change

By Megha Satyanarayana
On what would have been his 100th birthday, about 500 people gathered at the University of Pittsburgh Tuesday for a symposium honoring Dr. Jonas Salk, …

105 being monitored for Ebola in Pennsylvania

By Adam Smeltz
Pennsylvania health authorities were monitoring 105 people Monday for Ebola symptoms, although they would not disclose how many were under travel restrictions or quarantine on …

Federal government settled Legionnaires’ disease lawsuit for $125,000

By Brian Bowling
The federal government paid $125,000 to settle a Legionnaires’ disease lawsuit brought by the son of a Marine Corps veteran, according to court documents. Clark E. Compston, 74, of Aliquippa contracted the disease while being treated for small cell lung …

Low turnout for flu vaccines around country worrisome, health experts say

By Megha Satyanarayana
Heightened fears about Ebola won’t prompt Americans to get a flu shot, doctors predict as the first cases of the flu make their appearance. Low …

Experts: No quick fix for overdose epidemic

By Jason Cato
The first drop in overdose deaths from prescription medications in more than a decade nationally has yet to manifest in Western Pennsylvania, where a prolonged epidemic of heroin-related fatalities plagues morgues. “This whole epidemic has been with us for 10 …

Top infectious-disease expert says New York, New Jersey forced quarantines can hurt Ebola control efforts

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The gulf between politicians and scientists over Ebola widened Sunday as the nation’s top infectious disease expert warned that the mandatory 21-day quarantining of medical workers returning from West Africa is unnecessary and could discourage volunteers from …

New home test shakes up colon cancer screening

By The Associated Press
Starting Monday, millions of people who have avoided colon cancer screening can get a new home test that’s noninvasive and does not require the icky preparation most other methods do. The test is the first to look for cancer-related DNA …

Salem woman who’s endured 5 bouts of cancer reaches out to others

By Stacey Federoff
Dianne Ostop doesn’t mind giving her time to others, because for about 16 years, she wasn’t sure how much time she had left. Ostop, 65, …

UPMC McKeesport to host diabetes update

By Carol Waterloo Frazier
An estimated 29.1 million Americans — 9.3 percent of the population — have diabetes. Another 86 million have prediabetes. An estimated 8.1 million people with …