By Rick Dayton

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Competition for health care is heating up in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh.

Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System upped the ante on Wednesday when they announced upgrades at Forbes Regional Hospital.

Altogether, it’s $20 million that Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health Systems will be putting into Forbes Regional Hospital.

“One of the things we are going to be doing is at least putting signage on the top of the building, and you can see here, a representation of that with either two or four signs on the top of the building allowing it to be seen and evident from both the Turnpike as well as other access points in Monroeville,” said Dan Lebish, of Highmark, Inc.

But the updates at Forbes are more than just being seen.

Forbes wants to become a Level 2 Trauma Center, meaning patients in the eastern suburbs won’t have to go downtown for time-sensitive care.

“We offer a full contingent of medical and surgical care, from cancer care to our newly-expanded emergency department,” said Dr. Mark Rubino, of Forbes Regional Hospital. “However, we did not build programs over the years for competitive reasons. We built these seasons because this is what our community asked of us.”

To Highmark, today’s announcement is all about giving the public options for their care.

“It really is all about choice,” said Dr. Kenneth Melani, the president of Highmark, Inc. “We have to have a choice for patients. We have to have a choice for our physicians, a choice for our nurses and other health care workers. We need to make sure that people, when they are not happy where they are, at least have another option that is preserved in the community so that we don’t lose them from this community.”

Meanwhile, one of the questions that came up for officials from West Penn Allegheny was when will the emergency room open at West Penn. They say it is on schedule to open February of this year.

Forbes Regional Hospital
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