Ebola Readiness at Lehigh Valley Health Network: Education, Communication, Equipment, Practice

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Terry Burger Mask

Terry Burger, RN, demonstrated for WFMZ-TV how to put on personal protective equipment before having contact with a patient possibly infected with Ebola. Watch the video.

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) colleagues are trained to respond should a case of Ebola appear in the area. They’ve already practiced protocols with a few patients who, fortunately, did not have Ebola.

LVHN has established a comprehensive network response using its incident command team structure. The response focuses on three messages, says Terry Burger, RN, director of infection control and prevention: early identification, isolation and communication.

The health network also has an ample supply of protective gear for clinicians caring for someone who might have Ebola, and those caregivers are taught how to properly put on and take off the personal protective equipment to avoid self-contamination, she says. She demonstrates how in this WFMZ-TV video report.

An emergency preparedness team of 10-15 employees across numerous departments is meeting regularly to ensure everyone is ready, she told lehighvalleylive.com for this report that published today. Read More »

LVHN’s Hospitals in Allentown and Bethlehem Again Ace Leapfrog Safety Ratings

Is your hospital safe? Lehigh Valley Hospital and Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg rank among the safest in the country, according to The Leapfrog Group.

Each received an A grade on its Hospital Safety Score for fall 2014. These two health network hospitals have earned straight A’s since the first Safety Score was published in 2012.

The ratings reflect how well hospitals protect patients from accidents, errors, injuries and infections. They are designed to give the public information that is useful for choosing a hospital for care. Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton earned a C in this report.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety score is compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading experts on patient safety. Hospital scores can be viewed and compared by visiting The Hospital Safety Score website, which also gives safety tips for patients and their families.

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World Stroke Day Reminds You to Act F.A.S.T. at Signs of Stroke

When stroke strikes, don’t waste any time getting help. That’s the key message the American Heart Association wants you to learn on World Stroke Day.

Use the acronym F.A.S.T. to remember the signs and what to do when someone’s having a stroke:

Face drooping
Arm weakness
Speech difficulty
Time call 911

The reason to call 911 is so assessment and treatment can begin as soon as the ambulance crew arrives. Don’t drive yourself or your loved one to the hospital, because it can delay the start of medical attention. Read More »

Trick-or-Treat Tips: Protect Children With Food Allergies and Prevent Cavities

Later this week, children will don their costumes and candy bags for some trick-or-treat fun. And surely they’ll want to devour the Halloween candy they collect in the days (or hours) that follow.

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) doctors encourage kids to enjoy their treats safely this holiday season. Two of them shared some helpful tips in the news media today.

Alvaro Reymunde, MD, an LVHN pediatrician in the Hazleton area, spoke to The Standard Speaker for an article about how to make trick-or-treating safe for children with food allergiesJacquline Owens, DMD, was featured on WFMZ-TV this morning about keeping healthy teeth while still enjoying sweets. Read More »

From Field Trip to Recovery: Learn How Local Teacher Became Pain-Free in the New Healthy You Magazine

Healthy You Nov-Dec 2014It’s a field trip Sue Connolly will never forget. The Emmaus teacher and her sons – members of a local Lego robotics league – got to try out the da Vinci® Robotic Si HD Surgical System used by surgeons at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). Shortly thereafter, she chose to have robotic surgery. Once limited by pain, now she’s pain-free.

Connolly’s is one of the many compelling stories you’ll find in the November-December issue of Healthy You Magazine. The latest edition of LVHN’s bimonthly wellness magazine includes 24 pages of helpful tips and information. Inside you’ll also read the stories of:

Read More »

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9 Ways to Stretch Your Health Care Dollar

Matthew Winas, DO

Matthew Winas, DO
Internal medicine

Need help navigating health care? The “Empower Yourself” column shares tips from a Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) clinician about how you can best work together with your health care team. In this issue, LVHN internal medicine doctor Matthew Winas, DO, with Internal Medicine of the Lehigh Valley, discusses how to get the most from your health plan.

Health care costs are top of mind for most Americans these days. By taking full advantage of your health insurance plan, you can maximize savings and improve your health. Here’s how.

  1. Read the fine print. Become familiar with your plan details, such as deductibles, co-payments, what’s covered and what’s not.
  2. Keep it in the family. Always use in-network providers. Going out-of-network will cost more for co-pays as well as uncovered medical expenses.
  3. Go generic. Use generic medications when available. They’re cheaper and usually just as effective. If you take a medication regularly, check if your plan has a mail-order program, which is more convenient and may cost less.
  4. Get appropriate care. Save the emergency room (ER) for true emergencies. ER visits have higher co-pays, and non-emergent care prevents staff from providing timely services to people who truly need it. If you need care for a minor illness or injury in the evening or on a weekend, ExpressCARE offers walk-in care without an appointment.
  5. Be proactive. Avoid potential problems with preventive services such as immunizations and well visits with your primary care doctor. These services often are covered at 100 percent. Also take advantage of free services such as stress management programs and blood pressure or diabetes screenings.
  6. Get moving. Many health plans offer “wellness dollars” for gym memberships and other activities. Use them to get fit for little or no out-of-pocket expense.
  7. Accept help. Many plans offer free disease management programs for chronic issues such as obesity, asthma or heart disease. The support can help you manage symptoms, prevent future problems and potentially reduce the amount of health care you need down the road.
  8. Quit smoking. Smokers often pay higher premiums, and people who smoke are at higher risk for diseases such as cancer, heart disease and emphysema.
  9. Be flexible. Consider participating in a health savings account or flexible spending account, which allows pre-tax dollars to be applied toward health care costs.