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Sacred Heart News

Preventing the Spread of the Mosquito-borne Zika Virus in PA

The Aedes species of mosquito, the primary transmitter of the Zika virus, will return to Pennsylvania this summer as the weather gets warmer.  As of June 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed 19 cases of Zika in Pennsylvania, but all involved individuals who contracted the disease while traveling in infected countries. So far there have been no confirmed cases of mosquitos carrying the Zika virus in any part of the U.S.

While the symptoms of Zika are usually very mild or even undetectable in adults, the virus is linked to serious birth defects like microcephaly and other developmental problems in the brains, eyes, and ears of infants born to mothers with the virus.

Aedes mosquitos bite during the daytime. Pennsylvania residents, especially pregnant women, are advised to take the following precautionary measures to avoid the disease and prevent its spread.

- Wear light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers exposed skin
- Use EPA-approved insect repellants as directed, which are safe for women who are pregnant or nursing
- Install and repair door and window screens

Clean clogged roof gutters and remove areas of standing water near your home, as these are where mosquitos lay their eggs

Men who have traveled to areas where Zika has spread are advised to take necessary precautions to avoid transmitting the disease to their partners.

Individuals who visit an area where Zika is found, or who develop any of the following symptoms associated with Zika, should see their doctor:

- Fever
- Rash
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)

These symptoms can last for several days to a week after a bite, and can be treated at home with plenty of rest and fluids. Officials recommend that affected persons take acetaminophen or paracetamol to reduce pain or fever and consult with their physician. During the first week of symptoms, avoid mosquito bites so as not to pass on the virus.

Currently there is no vaccine or medicine available to prevent or combat Zika.

Fogel Among Elite in Healthcare Volunteer Management

Beth Fogel has been awarded the credential, “Certified Administrator of Volunteer Services,” by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration.  The CAVS is a national credential that distinguishes an individual as being among the elite in the field of volunteer management in healthcare.
To earn the CAVS designation, an individual must satisfy eligibility requirements that incorporate a blend of work experience and education, agree to adhere to Professional Standards of Conduct, and pass the CAVS Examination.  This two-hour Exam tests knowledge required of a competent healthcare volunteer services manager in six areas: Planning and Program Development; Management of Human Resources; Finance; Organization and Management of Services; Outreach, Advocacy and Public Relations; and Professional Development.  This certification is valid for three years.
The CAVS credential is sponsored by the Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (AHVRP), a professional membership group of the American Hospital Association.  AHVRP provides education, recognition for personal and professional achievements, national networking as well as affiliation and collaboration with the American Hospital Association on public policy and advocacy issues related to healthcare volunteer services and retail operations.  For more information about AHVRP, visit www.ahvrp.org.
The CAVS certification program is currently administered by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA), which advances the profession and practice of volunteer resource management by certifying individuals in any setting who demonstrate knowledge and competence in the leadership of volunteers.

Sacred Heart Hospital Earns ‘Top Performer on Key Quality Measures®’ Recognition

(Allentown, November 20, 2015) – Sacred Heart Hospital announced today that it has been recognized as a 2014 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States.
Sacred Heart Hospital was recognized as part of The Joint Commission’s 2015 annual report “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety,” for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance for heart attack, heart failure, surgical care and stroke. Sacred Heart Hospital is one of only 1,043 hospitals out of more than 3,300 eligible hospitals in the United States to achieve the 2014 Top Performer distinction.The Top Performer program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions.
This is the third year Sacred Heart Hospital has been recognized as a Top Performer. Sacred Heart Hospital was recognized in 2013 for its performance on accountability measure data for pneumonia, surgical care and stroke and in 2012 for heart attack, pneumonia and surgical care.

To be a 2014 Top Performer, hospitals had to meet three performance criteria based on 2014 accountability measure data, including:
• Achieve cumulative performance of 95 percent or above across all reported accountability measures;
• Achieve performance of 95 percent or above on each and every reported accountability measure with at least 30 denominator cases; and
• Have at least one core measure set that had a composite rate of 95 percent or above, and within that measure set, achieve a performance rate of 95 percent or above on all applicable individual accountability measures.

“Delivering the right treatment in the right way at the right time is a cornerstone of high-quality health care. I commend the efforts of Sacred Heart Hospital for their excellent performance on the use of evidence-based interventions,” said Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president and CEO, The Joint Commission.
“We understand that what matters most to patients at Sacred Heart Hospital is the quality and safety of the care they receive. That is why we have made it a top priority to improve patient outcomes through evidence-based care processes,” said President and CEO John Nespoli, Sacred Heart Hospital. Sacred Heart Hospital is proud to be named a Top Performer as it recognizes the knowledge, teamwork and dedication of our entire hospital staff.”
For more information about the Top Performer program, visit


Sacred Heart Hospital Celebrates National Volunteer Week

Allentown, PA To celebrate National Volunteer Week, Sacred Heart Hospital will hold a Volunteer Recognition Ceremony this Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in Sacred Heart Hospital’s Auditorium.  Sacred Heart Hospital President & CEO John Nespoli will present the awards along with Vice President Stephen Lanshe and Beth Fogel, Director, Volunteer Services.

This year in addition to the Recognition Ceremony, we congratulate Sacred Heart Volunteers who are being recognized by other Lehigh Valley organizations. 

The County of Lehigh’s Office of Aging & Adult Services has selected Tom Kelly and Bob Grim for Unsung Heroes Awards.  The Unsung Heroes Awards honor older adults of our community who display exceptional generosity with their time and talent to enhance the lives of others. 

Tom had hardly retired from his job at the Lehigh County Courthouse (3 weeks) when he started volunteering at Sacred Heart in 2013 and he has been here, faithfully, 3 days a week ever since.  He is always eager to help with a big smile and with his friendly manner.  He even showed up during the big snowstorm, on his day off, with doughnuts in hand because he knew many volunteers would be unable to make it in.

Bob has been a part of our volunteer team for two years and is always looking to help.  He goes above and beyond to help others and can often be seen in our Gift Shop purchasing a drink for a patient waiting for a ride home.  He’ll stay late to provide care for patients or to help other volunteers. 

Jack & Helen Bischof are nominees of the United Way’s Sam and Betsy Torrence “Partners in Volunteerism” Award.  This award is given to a married couple who, together, make meaningful volunteer contributions to the community.  Jack and Helen have been volunteering for over 20 years at Sacred Heart, giving over 10,000 hours of service!  Helen volunteers in the Cancer Center as well as in the Volunteer Office as the desk coordinator.  Jack has “a way” of putting patients at ease when escorting them to their destination.  He talks to them and uses the utmost care when pushing our wheelchair patients.  When asked why they volunteer at Sacred Heart they say, “It’s all about the people that are here and the people that come here and need our help.”

We are so very grateful to all of our volunteers who choose to give their time and do so much at Sacred Heart Hospital every day to help staff, patients and visitors.

Taking Breast Cancer Awareness on the Road

Allentown, PA---- As part of National Breast Cancer Awareness month and to further the fight against breast cancer, Sacred Heart Hospital and LANta have formed a special partnership to remind women to make their annual mammogram appointment. It’s not a reminder many will miss. A pink Sacred Heart Hospital/LANta bus is now on the streets with the message that early detection is the key to beating breast cancer.

 The leadership of the ATU Local 956 came to LANta Executive Director, Owen O’Neil, with the idea of using LANta buses and employees to raise breast cancer awareness.  The idea was to have a pink bus with bus drivers wearing pink shirts during October.  The union also wanted to make a donation to a breast cancer charity.  “So many LANta employees and their families have been affected by breast cancer and we wanted to do something to help the community,” said Rick Vega, President of the ATU Local 956.  “Being the son of a breast cancer victim and the brother of a survivor, I liked the idea,” O’Neil said. 

 The leadership of the ATU Local 956 came to LANta Executive Director, Owen O’Neil, with the idea of using LANta buses and employees to raise breast cancer awareness.  The idea was to have a pink bus with bus drivers wearing pink shirts during October.  The union also wanted to make a donation to a breast cancer charity.  “So many LANta employees and their families have been affected by breast cancer and we wanted to do something to help the community,” said Rick Vega, President of the ATU Local 956.  “Being the son of a breast cancer victim and the brother of a survivor, I liked the idea,” O’Neil said. 

As a publicly funded entity LANta is not allowed to make charitable contributions.  But LANta periodically buys uniform shirts for its employees so they purchased pink breast cancer awareness uniform shirts.  On Thursday, October 15th the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 956, which represents LANta bus drivers and maintenance workers, were joined by Sacred Heart and LANta leaders for the bus’ inaugural run and for the presentation of a donation of $1,500 to the hospital's Lanshe Breast Center and Parish Nurse Program. 

Since 2009 the Parish Nurses of Sacred Heart Hospital have done extensive outreach in the community about the importance of mammograms. Donations from the local Woman’s 5K Classic and the Susan G. Komen Affiliate Philadelphia also support the Parish Nurses.  Since 2012 Sacred Heart Parish Nurses have been actively engaged in women’s health and breast cancer awareness outreach and education to over 2,300 women.

 In addition, the Parish Nurse program is able to cover the cost of a mammogram for woman who may be uninsured and has helped thousands of women with funding for mammograms or breast cancer treatment.  Sacred Heart is a leader in promoting women’s health and in the fight against cancer.  “The new pink bus will promote the importance of early detection in all the neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley.  We are grateful to the members to the ATU for their commitment to the women of the Lehigh Valley and to Sacred Heart Hospital,” said Holly Edinger, Sacred Heart Hospital Director of Community and Government Relations.

Pocket Park Pops Up on Chew Street Due to Community Collaboration

Citizens Park officially opened on September 3rd when a group of community leaders cut the ribbon to the beautiful pocket park at 619 Chew Street. Sandwiched between two homes, the park is surrounded by colorful landscape murals on the walls of the adjacent homes painted under the direction of lead artist Matt Helm. Along with the murals, new trees, benches, grass, and plants were added so neighborhood residents would have a lovely spot to visit and relax. 

The property was donated to Sacred Heart Hospital in 2013 by Pat and Jack Pressman, longtime Allentown residents and employees of Sacred Heart.  Sacred Heart in turn offered the lot to the community and the vision for the park was developed by the residents of the Jordan Heights neighborhood. Wells Fargo Bank invested over $20,000 to the development of the park.  Wells Fargo employees joined neighborhood residents in volunteering their time to clean-up and plant the park.  But it didn’t stop there, along with the above-mentioned organizations; it was a collaborative effort that included Community Action Development Corp of Allentown, City of Allentown, United Youth Party, Housing Authority Development Corp, Brown Design, Rodale Institute, State Rep. Peter Schweyer and Upside Allentown.

This beautiful park is now open and ready for folks to visit for a few minutes of quiet reflection, to read a book or just enjoy the scenery thanks to everyone working together, and of course the Pressman family, pillars in the community whose generosity will be felt for years to come. 

Community Partners Come Together at Sacred Heart’s Back to School Event

Allentown, PAOn July 28, 2015 Sacred Heart distributed over 600 back packs and vouchers for free school uniform polo shirts to children entering kindergarten through twelfth grade this fall.  Representatives from several Lehigh Valley community organizations came together at Sacred Heart Hospital’s Sigal Center for Family Medicine for the 4th Annual Healthy Kids…Back to School event to get kids ready for school. Each child took home from a Morning Call book drive where they collected over 1500 books so each child could do some summer reading.  The 4th Annual Healthy Kids…Back to School event also included information on how to stay healthy with exercise and healthy eating tips, information on pediatric services, and a wheel of freebies game that quizzed the children on healthy choices.  But the real hit of the day was an appearance from FeERROUS, the IronPigs mascot, who danced with the kids and got them moving around to the music that was provided by a live DJ.  They also loved the sun butter & jelly sandwiches from Capital Blue Cross and the balloon animals and face painting.

All this was made possible thanks to generous funding from the IronPigs Foundation and The Allentown Health Bureau.  The voucher for the free school uniform polo shirt can be redeemed at The Archive, 627 Hamilton Street, Allentown.

The event, developed in 2011 during Sacred Heart’s 100th Anniversary celebrations, was established to give back to the families in the immediate neighborhoods surrounding Sacred Heart Hospital and better prepare the children for school.  In an effort to grow the 2015 event, Sacred Heart reached out to these additional partners who also found it in their hearts to positively impact children from center city Allentown neighborhoods:

-Aetna – Information for community members
-Allentown Health Bureau – Fruit and Veggie Truck
-AmeriHealth Caritas – Information for community members
-The Archive – Provided a discount to Sacred Heart Hospital for the purchase of backpacks
-Barb Moore – Creative balloon flowers and animals
-Capital Blue Cross – Healthy snacks of sun butter & jelly sandwiches
-Central Catholic High School – Cold water and helpful volunteers
-Lehigh Valley IronPigs – Hardworking interns and mascot, FeRROUS, on hand to greet the children
-Sacred Heart Hospital –Wheel of Freebies, Pediatric Information, Face Painting, Wellness Navigator
-Senator Pat Browne’s Office – Community Information
-Representative Peter Schweyer’s Office – Community Information
-The Morning Call – Book collection resulting in 1,500 free books distributed   to children
-Weller Health Education Center – Healthy exercises, fun games for the participants

Geoffery G. Hallock, M.D. Awarded Prestigious Fu-Chan Wei Award in Taipei, Taiwan

Allentown, PAGeoffrey G. Hallock, M.D. was recently awarded the Fu-Chan Wei Award for Excellence in Reconstructive Surgery at the annual Chang Gung-Mayo Clinic Symposium in Taipei, Taiwan during their Gala Banquet. The Fu Chan Wei Award recognizes international expertise and a lifelong commitment in the area of reconstructive microsurgery, and was named in honor of Fu Chan Wei, M.D., acknowledged as the number one microsurgeon in the world.  Dr. Hallock is the 5th recipient of this prestigious award.   While attending the symposium, Dr. Hallock also presented several topics including “The 4P’s that Make a Microsurgeon—Persistent, Perfectionist, Pragmatist, and Paranoid.”  These character traits probably describe all surgeons well, especially the last quality in this day and age of the practice [or business] of medicine.

Dr. Hallock is a triple board-certified plastic surgeon, general surgeon, and hand surgeon, who is well-known nationally and internationally for his reconstructive work in addition to microsurgery.  His engineering background includes a Bachelor in Science degree in Physics from M.I.T., tempered by his being named the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete upon graduation.  He received a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and trained in general surgery at Dartmouth in Vermont & New Hampshire. He then completed a plastic surgery fellowship at the University of North Carolina including a brief cosmetic surgery fellowship in Miami, Florida.

Dr. Hallock is an active member of numerous plastic surgery societies and a prolific writer on many different plastic surgery topics, having authored more than 400 journal articles and 62 book chapters.  He is an associate editor of almost every major plastic surgery journal.  Some also say he has no sense of humor, but it is well known that he can prevent sleep deprivation on all continents.

Dr. Hallock has been a dedicated surgeon in the Lehigh Valley for 33 years, primarily at Sacred Heart and St. Luke’s Hospital.  He provides his surgical expertise in reconstructive surgery in addition to microsurgery to include skin grafting, carpal tunnel surgery, tendon repairs for hand injuries, complex wound management, repair of MOHS procedures after skin cancer removal, and free flap body tissue transfers of any part to another where missing.  As of June, 2014, Dr. Hallock and his superb team have performed over 950 free flap surgeries.  With the help of his colleagues, patients in the Lehigh Valley will continue to receive the exceptional care they need without having to travel far from home.

Grand Opening of 5th Floor of the Sacred Heart Tower

This week Sacred Heart Hospital unveiled renovations it has made to its 5 Tower medical floor which is now home to 18 private rooms for the recovery for surgical patients. The renovated space is designed around Sacred Heart’s patient-centered philosophy of care. The space is personal and warm. Smaller nursing stations are now physically closer to the patient rooms so clinical staff are more accessible to the patients and their families.

In addition the floor was remodeled to have lounge areas for families and friends. These spaces have access to refrigerators and water/ice stations. The patient rooms also have accommodations for family members to stay overnight and provide support to the patient. Sacred Heart understands that recovery can be both physical and emotional and having family support can make a difference in helping a patient to return home quicker.

All rooms contain wireless access to a new state of the art electronic medical record system giving physicians, nurses and patients immediate access to information critical for their care.

Major funding for this project came from Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation, The Air Products Foundation, Harry C. Trexler Trust and the ’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

General Contractor:  Boyle Construction

Architect: MKSD Architects


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