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Health Care Advances Along PA’s I-99 Corridor

Read about how hospitals in the I-99 Corridor are advancing care in the region, with providers investing in technology, facilities and medical expertise.

By Teree Caruthers on July 6, 2015

The I-99 Corridor’s high-quality health care is advancing with the region, as providers invest in technology, facilities and medical expertise.
The corridor includes five acute-care hospitals, James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona, Tyrone Hospital in Tyrone, several specialized treatment centers and several smaller clinics. Other health-care systems such as Mount Nittany Health (MNH), Geisinger Health System, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), which operates hospitals in Bedford and Altoona, provide a range of services for residents.
Mount Nittany: Strength in Integration
Based in State College, Mount Nittany Health provides primary, specialized, emergency and surgical care for patients throughout central Pennsylvania. Integrated as a multi-branch organization in 2011, MNH includes Mount Nittany Medical Center, a 260-bed, acute-care facility offering medical, surgical, diagnostic and community services; and Mount Nittany Physician Group, with more than 210 providers across 20-plus specialties in 15 locations.
While offering a full menu of treatment options, Mount Nittany is focusing its expansion and development efforts on four primary areas: cardiology, diabetes care, oncology and orthopedics. As a sign of progress in one of those areas, MNH recently received full accreditation for its cardiac-catheterization lab from the American College of Cardiology’s Accreditation for Cardiovascular Excellence (ACE).
MNH employs about 2,300 health professionals and support staff, with some 220 credentialed physicians in more than 40 specialties and sub-specialties.
UPMC: Regional Impact
The University of Pittsburgh operates two hospitals in the corridor, in Altoona (the larger of the two) and Bedford. UPMC is affiliated with the university’s School of Medicine and is ranked among the nation’s best hospitals by U.S. News and World Report.
“We are regionalizing services to bring more patients to both UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford Memorial and make the I-99 Corridor a hub for UPMC’s high-quality health care,” says Jerry Murray, president of both facilities.
“We are always adding new physicians and new services to meet the needs of our communities,” Murray says. “Most recently, we opened a state-of-the-art Breast Health Center and a transplant clinic for kidney- and liver-transplant patients.”
As technological advancements give caregivers more and better treatment options, UPMC’s facilities intend to remain at the forefront of innovation. For example, telemedicine will play an important role in local health care going forward, Murray says.
“We will continue to invest in new medical technology to maintain cutting-edge medicine for all residents of the I-99 Corridor,” he says.
Nason Hospital: Collaborative Growth
Founded in 1900, Nason Hospital in Roaring Spring provides an array of services to residents in Blair, Bedford and Huntingdon counties. Having sought a partner to increase its impact in providing care to its communities, Nason found the perfect fit with LifePoint Hospitals and the company’s Johnstown-based Conemaugh Health System.
With its acquisition by LifePoint and its place within Conemaugh completed in February 2015, Nason is maintaining its focus on community care while also improving and expanding its reach. The agreement calls for LifePoint to invest $8.5 million in capital improvements at Nason over 10 years – including funding dedicated to physician recruitment, technology upgrades, new equipment and renovations.
As part of Conemaugh, which operates three other hospitals, numerous outpatient centers and more than 40 physician practices in five counties, Nason plans to expand the depth of care it provides. By joining a growing regional health system, Nason’s providers can collaborate with an extensive network of local and regional medical experts and specialists across the region.
Excellence in Nursing
The high quality of health care along the I-99 Corridor is augmented by top-flight nursing programs offered by several higher-education institutions.
Penn State’s College of Nursing at University Park offers a number of degrees, including master’s and doctoral programs. In addition, PSU’s Altoona campus has bachelor’s, RN to bachelor’s and second bachelor’s degrees in nursing.
Nearby institutions, including St. Francis University in Loretto and Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, are also home to highly regarded nursing programs, and other practical nursing and certified health-resistant programs are available throughout the region.

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