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Peters health facility adds convenience to community

| Sunday, June 2, 2013, 9:11 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Linda McIntyre, director at St. Clair Hospital's Center for Women and Children's Services, look over a new CT scan machine at St. Clair Hospital's new $20 million outpatient center in Peters on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
The MRI machine at St. Clair Hospital's new $20 million outpatient center in Peters on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.

Monday has been a long day coming for Dr. Nicholas DiTullio, an internal medicine doctor whose practice finally opens in the new St. Clair Hospital Outpatient Center in Peters.

“The culmination of our time in Peters has been to get into this building,” he said.

Fatigati-Nalin Associates moved from its nearly 2-year-old location in Waterdam Plaza during the weekend to the medical center across Washington Road from Donaldson's Crossroads shopping center.

For St. Clair Hospital, Monday marks the culmination of a long process. The township planning commission approved the $20 million, 40,000-square-foot facility in 2011. Hospital officials broke ground in May 2012.

“What makes this different and what makes it special are the people inside it,” hospital President and CEO James Collins said.

The two-story facility will house 40 doctors, ranging in specialties from primary care and gynecology to orthopedics and endocrinology, said Barry Zaiser, the hospital's senior vice president of strategic development and operations.

The center will offer full-service diagnostics capabilities, including MRI and CT scans, X-rays and mammography.

Initially, about 200 patients will be seen each day. That number could grow to up to 500, Zaiser said. The center will be open every day except Sunday.

“Our goal was to make it convenient for patients and to go out into the community,” Zaiser said.

That is important for health care reform, said U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, who represents the area and is a founding member of the GOP Doctors Caucus as a former practicing psychologist.

“The closer a hospital gets to the community ... the better care gets,” Murphy said. “The key to making sure we reduce health care costs and improve care is to make sure it no longer is about volume but instead is about quality.”

The outpatient center stands on a stretch of Washington Road in Peters that is exploding with commercial and retail growth, some of it tied to health care. Within 2.5 miles, patients can visit MedExpress and UPMC urgent care centers; IRG Diagnostic, a service of Monongahela Valley Hospital; and West Penn Allegheny Health System's $14 million Peters Outpatient Care Center.

Since 2000, Peters' population has grown by nearly 23 percent.

St. Clair Hospital has more than 500 doctors and 2,000 employees. It operates a 328-bed hospital and physician office suite in Mt. Lebanon as well as a Bethel Park outpatient and MRI center. It owns laboratory centers in Bethel Park, Bridge-ville and Mt. Lebanon.

DiTullio's practice has been associated with St. Clair for 18 years and has offices in the other three South Hills communities where the hospital has a presence.

“It's where I live, so it's people I see and know,” said DiTullio of Canonsburg. “There's a lot of excitement I've heard that St. Clair will be in the area.”

St. Clair officials said they have not resolved an issue with Highmark for the health insurance carrier to cover its members seeking diagnostic treatment at the center.

Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or jcato@tribweb.com.

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