Wheeling Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Partner to Increase Access to Specialty Pediatric Care to Upper Ohio Valley

January 8, 2010

Wheeling Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC today announced an important partnership that enhances access to pediatric specialty care in the Upper Ohio Valley.

“We’re pleased to partner with Children’s Hospital. Over the past two years, our Center for Pediatrics has rapidly grown from basic to specialized pediatric care. But more specialized care is needed locally. Children’s Hospital will fill much of that void,” said Ronald L. Violi, Wheeling Hospital chief executive officer.

“This partnership means our local children and their families can stay close to home and still receive the highest level of care for which Children’s is internationally recognized.”

The new Children’s Hospital Specialty Care Center Wheeling will see patients in Wheeling Hospital’s Tower 1. Children’s Hospital is providing outpatient services, including diagnostic evaluations and follow-up care, in pediatric cardiology, general and thoracic surgery, otolaryngology, neurology and hematology/oncology services. Pediatric gastroenterology and orthopedic surgery will be coming soon.

“Children’s Hospital has physicians in these specialties who are among the leaders in their fields, and our goal is to better enable families from throughout our region to have access to them,” said Christopher A. Gessner, president, Children’s Hospital. “The creation of this Specialty Care Center allows us to respond to a growing need for pediatric specialty care in the Upper Ohio Valley. We’re fortunate to have a strong partner in Wheeling Hospital, which shares our commitment to providing the best care possible to pediatric patients.”

Dr. Judy Romano, Wheeling Center for Pediatrics director, said of the Children’s Hospital partnership, “Everyone benefits – the children, their families and the area’s health care providers. One of our goals in creating Wheeling Hospital’s Center for Pediatrics 16 months ago was to add new types of specialized children’s care, long needed in our area. This partnership between hospitals, supported by the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, is a significant milestone on the road to that goal.”

The Children’s Hospital Specialty Care Center Wheeling physicians include Dr. Francis McCaffrey, cardiology; Drs. Cartland Burns, David Hackam, Timothy Kane, Douglas Potoka and David Rodeberg, general and thoracic surgery; Dr. Dennis Kitsko, otolaryngology; Dr. A. Kim Ritchey, hematology/oncology; and Dr. Bilal Sitwat, neurologist.
“We recognize that it’s important to families to find care close to home for their children. It can be emotionally and financially difficult if they’re forced to drive or fly their children far away for specialized care. The extra stress is felt by everyone: the vulnerable patients as well as their families. This partnership will help relieve those anxieties, in addition to providing world-class care” noted Violi.

Wheeling Hospital created its Center for Pediatrics in September 2008 with five pediatricians. Since then, it added more pediatricians, and board-certified specialists in adolescent psychiatry, pediatric endocrinology and pediatric rehabilitation in physical, speech and occupational therapy.

The Children’s Hospital Specialty Care Center Wheeling participates with the following insurance plans: The Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley; Carelink Commercial; Medicare; Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield; and West Virginia Medicaid.

To make an appointment with the Children’s Hospital Specialty Care Center Wheeling, call 304-243-3276. The Wheeling Hospital Center for Pediatrics can be reached at 1-877-945-7337.

Renowned for its outstanding clinical services, research programs and medical education, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has helped establish the standards of excellence in pediatric care. From Ambulatory Care to Transplantation and Cardiac Care, talented and committed pediatric experts care for infants, children and adolescents who make more than 500,000 visits to Children’s and its many neighborhood locations each year.

Children’s also has been named consistently to several elite lists of pediatric health care facilities, including ranking 10th among children’s hospitals (FY 2008) in funding provided by the National Institutes of Health, and is named one of the best pediatric hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Children’s Hospital also operates Specialty Care Centers in Johnstown, PA and Hermitage, PA.