June 2005

New UPMC McKeesport Services Described at McKeesport Hospital FoundationÕs 28th Annual Invitational Luncheon
Foundation Has Raised More than $1.7 Million for Hospital Since 1977
by John Fries

UPMC McKeesport President Ronald H. Ott stood at the lectern in the Kelly Conference Center, which stands adjacent to the hospital. He looked positively elated as he accepted the microphone from the man who provided his introduction, Hugh Coughanour, president of the McKeesport Hospital Foundation. He then made the announcement that more than 30 people had assembled to hear: since 1977, more than $1.7 million has been raised for the hospital by the Foundation.

He went on to describe how the Foundation has played a major role through the years in supporting growth at the hospital, adding that expansion continues to take place.

"In the past year alone", he said, "significant enhancements have been made in the hospitalÕs outpatient, and also inpatient areas."

Among the services added over the past year are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a suite for minimally invasive surgical procedures, and medical oncology and radiation oncology services, including IMRT technology.

In addition, Ott said that enhancements are planned for the hospitalÕs cardiology and nuclear medicine departments. This means that, as UPMC McKeesport continues to grow, so do the benefits for the communities served by the hospital. "These new services enable people to stay close to home and receive the whole continuum of care services."

A look inside the hospital confirms the busy year the McKeesport Hospital Foundation has had. And fundraising is only part of it; for the past few years, the Foundation has also been playing a major leadership role with the local State Health Improvement Program initiative, which was profiled previously in these pages.

Each year, the Foundation supports the hospital through money generated by numerous events, including a fashion show, tennis and golf outings, and other projects that take place throughout the year. Michele Baich Matuch, executive director of the Foundation, provides the organizational guidance under which committees are formed, plans are made, and events take place. As funds are raised, the Foundation determines how they should be disbursed.

The Invitational provides an annual opportunity for hospital executives, medical staff members, civic leaders, and invited members of the business community to get a detailed recap.

Robin Lane, the hospitalÕs unit director for operation services, spoke at the Invitational, thanking the Foundation for its support in developing a state-of-the-art, minimally invasive surgery unit.

"The hospital now has capabilities second to none in this area," said Lane as slides flashed on a giant screen, showing photos of the new suite. In addition to the fact that itÕs ergonomically designed, itÕs configured so that lights and video monitors descend from the ceiling, and all the tools and instruments needed by the surgical staff are right at their fingertips.

Dr. Geoff Bloomfield, a surgeon at the hospital, showed slides of what minimally invasive surgery actually looks like, via pictures taken by a tiny camera within patientÕs bodies. Included were images taken during abdominal, colon, chest, orthopedic, and head and neck procedures.

"We use standard surgical tools that are mounted onto tubes. This provides us with the opportunity to perform surgery with less pain, a faster recovery time, better cosmetic outcomes, and fewer complications. "We appreciate the McKeesport Hospital FoundationÕs support," he said, echoing LaneÕs praises, "because what theyÕve done for us allows us to move forward into the future and attract new surgeons."

Next, Emergency Medical Specialist Miles Darby spoke briefly about the financial support provided by the Foundation for EMS initiatives. "Over 600 people each day die of cardiac arrest," he said. "WeÕve placed 20 automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in the community, in areas that donÕt have medical service nearbyÑchurches, the YMCA, the police and fire department. This is so treatment can begin before EMS personnel arrives on the scene."

Saying that "IÕve never met anyone like Michele, who is so energetic and helpful with community initiatives," he added that the FoundationÕs grant allowed the hospital to provide funding to 10 local ambulance services. "Each of them submitted plans for consideration, " he said. "Most of the money was used for equipment upgrades and enhancements. Many of them upgraded their monitors so physicians can see heart infarctions more quickly. Some of the money was used to provided community education, like CPR and first aid classes."

Over the years, the McKeesport Hospital Foundation has provided funding for a wide range of hospital needs, including cardiac catheterization services, a state-of-the-art CT scanner and radiology equipment, and graduate medical education programs. Much has also been contributed to community education initiatives.

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Copyright © 2005 by John Fries, Pittsburgh, PA.
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