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Children's Hospital Heart Center Continues to Expand Outreach Efforts to Increase Access to Quality Care for More Families
Date:2/14/2008

February is National American Heart Month

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is continuing to grow its outreach efforts with new and expanded outpatient services. Experts from the Heart Center at Children's Hospital are increasing access to state-of-the-art pediatric cardiac care for families from Latrobe, Greensburg, Johnstown, Altoona, Sharon and more.

By providing expanded and new pediatric cardiac services for the tiniest of hearts, families throughout the region will have access to all of the services offered at Children's.

With 12 convenient locations throughout western Pennsylvania, including Oakland; three ambulatory care centers in the North Hills, Monroeville and Bethel Park; and eight outreach locations, Children's continues to focus its efforts to make it easier for families to gain access to Children's doctors. The Heart Center performs more than 35,000 patient visits and heart tests each year.

At most sites, weekly clinics are offered and patients can often be seen within three days of calling for a new appointment, sometimes even sooner, said Steven A. Webber, MBChB, chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Children's Hospital, adding that most locations offer advanced cardiac testing needed to make a diagnosis (such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms and 24-hour Holter tests) during the same visit.

Latrobe/Greensburg

Bryan Funari, MD, has now joined Frederick Sherman, MD, in the Latrobe office to offer care by experts from the Heart Center at Children's, one of the nation's leading pediatric cardiac care facilities. In Latrobe, Drs. Sherman and Funari see children of all ages, two Wednesdays per month, with any type of heart problem, including heart murmurs, chest pain, fainting, palpitations and high blood pressure. The Greensburg office that opened recently is staffed by Dr. Funari every Tuesday and offers access to all the services and expertise of Children's Heart Center.

Sharon

In the Sharon area, Children's Heart Center provides a pediatric cardiologist and echocardiogram services every Monday for appointments on the campus of UPMC Horizon in Farrell, Mercer County. Francis M. McCaffrey, MD, offers diagnostic evaluations for pediatric patients with cardiac conditions. Dr. McCaffrey also will perform echocardiography studies, utilizing ultrasound technology to develop images of the heart and valves. These echo studies aid in the diagnosis of congenital heart defects.

Johnstown

In central Pennsylvania, pediatric cardiology care is part of a bigger initiative to provide world-class specialty pediatric care by the experts at Children's in a setting that is much closer to home for families in the center of the state. Children's Hospital Specialty Care Center Johnstown opened recently within Children's Health Center, 1322 Eisenhower Blvd., Johnstown, PA 15904. Pediatric cardiologists, as well as neurologists and surgeons, from Children's travel to the Johnstown center to provide outpatient services on an ongoing basis including diagnostic evaluations and follow-up care to families.

Lee Beerman, MD, from Children's Heart Center also sees children on a regular basis at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, 1086 Franklin St., Johnstown, Pa. Dr. Beerman is the director of the Electrophysiology Services, as well as the Pediatric Arrhythmia Program at Children's.

Children's Hospital plans to expand the services being offered at the Johnstown center to possibly include diabetes, endocrinology, gastroenterology and weight management.

"Children's focus on providing the best cardiac care possible to as many families as possible in the tristate region extends beyond the walls of our hospital here in Pittsburgh," Dr. Webber said. "We hope that the availability of our specialty care outside Greater Pittsburgh eases some of the stress our patients and their families undergo."

Altoona/Dubois

Children's Heart Center outpatient specialty services also have been expanded to the backyards of residents in Altoona and Dubois. Dr. Funari is available at the Altoona location on a weekly basis at the Bon Secours-Holy Family Hospital, 2500 Seventh Avenue, Altoona. Children's Heart Center services and experts also are available at the Dubois Regional Medical Center, at 100 Hospital Ave., DuBois.

About Children's Heart Center

Children's Heart Center staff provides comprehensive patient care for children who are born with, or who acquire, heart problems. Due to the critical and technically demanding requirements for diagnosis and treatment, children with heart disease require a highly skilled team of pediatric specialists. Because most heart problems affect only a few children, the high number of cases treated and the cumulative experience gained by the Heart Center staff enable Children's cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons to achieve precise diagnoses and excellent outcomes.

"Parents are understandably concerned anytime their child is diagnosed by their primary doctor to have a cardiac symptom," says Vivek Allada, MD, who is director of clinical services at the Heart Center. "At Children's Hospital, one of my primary objectives is to ensure that the patients in our community and across the region have timely access to the expert cardiologists here in the Heart Center."

For a complete list of regional locations, please visit http://www.chp.edu/centers/03heart_locations.php. For more information about Children's, or the Heart Center, please visit http://www.chp.edu.


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SOURCE Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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