Editorial: Healthy investments pay off
The Greater Pittsburgh area will always be synonymous with steel, but it’s definitely become a hub of health activity more than metal in recent decades.
That is why it’s good to see area health systems making investments in the services that keep people healthy and keep area workers employed.
Highmark’s Allegheny Health Network announced Wednesday that internationally known cancer surgeon Dr. David Bartlett is joining the organization as chair of the AHN Cancer Institute.
Bartlett is a familiar figure in the world of oncology as well as the Pittsburgh medical scene as he comes from UPMC. He will helm an institute with hundreds of doctors and oncology workers and 24 clinical sites, and he will be there when the $80 million Academic Center at Allegheny General Hospital opens.
He is the most noteworthy new hire, but only the most recent, as the institute has hired 200 people in two years and made a $300 million commitment to cancer treatment.
This might seem like a competitive move with UPMC and its renowned cancer programs. It doesn’t have to be. While the two health care monoliths can often seem like two kids arguing over the last piece of cake, cancer is sadly not in short supply. As both systems grow, there seem to be plenty of patients to go around.
And they aren’t just in Allegheny County.
In Westmoreland County, Excela Health System is also making investments to improve its care.
In 2018, Excela saw almost 100 patients go elsewhere for heart valve replacements that weren’t offered at its hospitals. The system has added four specialists to allow for that kind of advanced cardiac procedure with a wider array of heart-related care.
These additions are not just good for the hospitals and the doctors and the people who are picking up paychecks.
They are good for the patients. They are good for the people who need to see an oncologist without a three-month wait for an appointment. They are good for someone whose heart needs help and not a stressful negotiation for scheduling and travel.
Investment in hospitals and medical care grows the economy as well as healthy communities.