Allegheny Health Network to open clinic in Downtown Pittsburgh with same-day appointments

September 23, 2018
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David Holmberg, president and CEO of Highmark Health, speaks at the opening of Allegheny Health Network’s new clinic in Downtown, Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018.

Allegheny Health Network on Tuesday announced the opening of what the hospital chain called Downtown Pittsburgh’s first comprehensive medical clinic with same-day appointments for a variety of services.

The clinic will offer primary care, OB-GYN services, X-rays, physical therapy and laboratory tests as a convenience to anyone living or working in the city.

AHN chose to open the clinic because more than 135,000 people live and work daily in Downtown. Patients with doctors in the suburbs and work Downtown can schedule an appointment and be treated at the clinic because their their medical records are accessible from the facility, officials said.

AHN’s rival, UPMC, disputed that the clinic would be a first for Downtown. UPMC has operated a clinic with five primary care physicians in the Heinz 57 Building on Sixth Avenue for about 20 years, according to spokeswoman Courtney Caprara.

“The UPMC Downtown location offers an international travel clinic, full service X-rays, mammography, cardiac and nuclear stress tests, echocardiograms and hearing screenings among other services,” she said. “Physicians from the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute and rheumatology program also see patients at this location.”

AHN’s new facility is at 501 Penn Ave. in the old Joseph Horne Co. department store building, now dubbed Highmark’s Penn Avenue Place. It’s open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Facility staff includes one primary care physician, a certified physician’s assistant, two certified registered nurse practitioners and a licensed physical therapist. It will also offer its existing executive wellness program for participating corporations.

Its opening also addresses a longstanding feud with UPMC. Patients with Highmark medical insurance will lose access to UPMC hospitals in 2019.

“Patients are going to have to find a new doctor,” said Phil Laux, Highmark’s vice president of primary care. “Also, it gives them more choices.”

AHN will relocate an OB-GYN clinic now on Smithfield Street in Downtown to the new facility in the near future. It will include two physicians plus support staff. Doctors and staff are coming from other facilities in the region.

“Part of our philosophy is to keep health care in the community,” said Dan Onorato, vice president of corporate affairs for Highmark Health Co. “If you live, work or play in Downtown Pittsburgh you now have a place to go.”

Same-day appointments will add convenience, officials said.

“You can do that at 12:15 (p.m.) for a 1 o’clock appointment as long as we have availability,” said Dr. Randolph Peters, the facility’s director of primary care.

He said Highmark Health has offered employees primary care services for years at its headquarters across the street.

“We’ve actually been up and running (here) for months, but it was Highmark employees who walked across the street,” he said. “We’ve never ever been open to the public.”

Lisa Lamolinare, Highmark’s regional manager of therapy, said the physical therapy department will be open three days per week, but she hopes to expand that to five days as demand increases.

“We can see patients who are injured neck to toe, basically,” she said.

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