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Allegheny County employees sticking with Highmark to save money, send message

By Aaron Aupperlee 11:27 a.m.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald lobbed the health insurance coverage of the county’s 6,700 employees and their families as the latest salvo in the war between Highmark and UPMC. Fitzgerald announced on Tuesday that the county would stick with Highmark …

Marine’s widow sues, claims he contracted Legionnaries’ at VA hospital

By Brian Bowling
A Marine veteran being treated for lung cancer contracted Legionnaire’s disease at a Pittsburgh VA hospital, his widow claims in a federal lawsuit filed Monday. Brant James Evans, 58, of Freedom died Jan. 30, 2013. He was receiving chemotherapy and …

Chlorine injectors added to VA Pittsburgh facilities to prevent Legionnaires’

By Tribune-Review
Workers shut down the water systems at Veterans Affairs hospitals in Oakland and O’Hara on Sunday and Monday to install chlorine injectors on cold water lines, a VA spokesman confirmed Thursday. Workers also hyperchlorinated the Oakland hospital’s water to eliminate …

6 Western Pa. doctors received more than $1M each in Medicare payments in 2012

By Alex Nixon
Six doctors in Western Pennsylvania received more than $1 million each in Medicare payments in 2012, bringing in a total of $10.5 million from the government’s health insurance program for seniors. The six received the largest payments from Medicare in …

Medical personnel sprang into action to aid injured Franklin Regional students

By Luis Fábregas
Daylight shift had barely begun when hospital emergency rooms started getting warning notices. Personnel should expect the worst — multiple stabbing victims — from chaos …

Drowned sons of accused McCandless mother Schlemmer could become organ donors

By Luis Fábregas
Organs and tissue from two McCandless boys whose mother is accused of drowning them might be used for transplants, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office. Officials would not say which organs 6-year-old Daniel and 3-year-old Luke Schlemmer donated, …

Toomey, Casey back sweeping overhaul of VA to further reduce disability backlog

By Carl Prine
A coalition of senators and congressmen is preparing for a possible larger overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs, saying a 44 percent cut the agency reported making to reduce the backlog of first-time and supplemental disability claims by former …

UPMC to stall for time with chill to save trauma patients

By Adam Smeltz
It sounds like science fiction, but a novel technique at UPMC will attempt to save critically wounded patients by suspending them near death in below-normal …

Highmark’s gains from Obamacare to come at a cost — perhaps a $2.9M one

By Alex Nixon
Highmark Inc. gained 104,000 members through the Affordable Care Act’s online exchange — far more than any other insurer in Western Pennsylvania. But that boost in business has a cost. The state’s largest health insurer expects to lose $2.9 million …

Highmark’s network partners with Ohio company on ER management

By Alex Nixon
Highmark Inc.’s Allegheny Health Network has formed a joint venture with an Ohio company to run emergency departments in eight hospitals in Western Pennsylvania. The health insurer’s hospital system is stepping up competition with its much larger rival, UPMC, which …

Green Tree conference on Saturday to aid dyslexic kids, their parents

By Bill Zlatos
More than 200 parents, professionals and psychologists are expected at a conference on Saturday in Green Tree to discuss better ways to teach students with dyslexia how to read and write. “For most parents, all you know is ‘I’ve got …

3 insurers sign up 180,000 Pennsylvanians for Obamacare through Healthcare.gov

By Alex Nixon
Three health insurers signed up nearly 180,000 Pennsylvanians for coverage through Healthcare.gov during the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period, which closed on Monday. The total comes close to an Obama administration goal of 206,000 enrollees in the state …

AGH surgeons remove chain saw blade from tree trimmer’s neck

By Kelsey Shea
The X-ray shows the chain saw blade embedded 2 inches into the left side of James Valentine’s neck, perilously close to his carotid artery. Trauma …

Obamacare traffic jam marks final day to sign up

By Alex Nixon
The last day to apply for insurance coverage under President Obama’s signature health law was reminiscent of the opening day six months ago, with a …

VA failed to check Westar, developer of Butler County facility, report says

By Bill Vidonic
The Department of Veterans Affairs failed to properly check the qualifications of the former developer of an outpatient center in Butler County, according to a highly critical report by the VA’s Office of Inspector General released Monday. The report says …

Congress patches Medicare payment formula

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — With hours to spare, Congress stepped on Monday to finalize legislation to prevent doctors who treat Medicare patients from being hit with a 24 percent cut in their payments from the government. The Senate’s 64-35 vote sends a …

University of Pittsburgh researchers get $7.3M grant to study heart failure-depression link

By Bill Zlatos
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have received a $7.3 million federal grant over five years to study the impact of treating heart failure and …

Teen’s double lung transplant in Pittsburgh another stop on difficult journey with cystic fibrosis

By Luis Fábregas
Marianna McConnie could hear the doctors whispering outside the hospital room door. They were talking about her lungs. She spun around on a stool, eyes …

Fabregas: Bridge jumper to share his healing at mental illness conference

By Luis Fábregas
Kevin Hines attempted suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. At 19, he convinced himself that everyone hated him and wanted him dead. He felt useless and weak. Hines survived the jump in 2000, one of …

Pittsburgh cancer treatment company in $120M deal to expand in India

By Alex Nixon
A Pittsburgh-based operator of cancer centers will expand in India through a deal with General Electric Co.’s health care unit. Cancer Treatment Services International, which in 2012 built a $20 million cancer hospital in Hyderabad, India, said it and GE …