Recent Gifts by Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, Penguin's owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle help expand access to testing in underserved communities.
PITTSBURGH (June 18, 2020) — Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network (AHN) today unveiled a new COVID-19 mobile testing vehicle in Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood. The vehicle will support the ongoing operations and expansion of the organization's strategy to provide greater access to COVID-19 testing in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic throughout western Pennsylvania.
The Highmark Health/AHN mobile testing program vehicle will be at 7227 Hamilton Avenue in Homewood today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This program has been supported by generous gifts from the Heinz Endowments, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation and the Pittsburgh Penguins' owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle.
To date, the mobile COVID-19 testing program has visited a number of Pittsburgh-area communities including the Hill District, Hazelwood, Duquesne and Homewood with several other neighborhoods currently being scheduled.
"Highmark Health strongly believes that convenient access to health care should not depend on a person's zip code, particularly during a global public health crisis," said Dan Onorato, executive vice president of corporate affairs for Highmark Health. "Our commitment to providing convenient access to high quality care for all of the communities we serve has never been more important than it is today. As our area shifts to the 'green phase,' additional testing access points will be even more critical to better understand the ongoing impact of the pandemic and mitigate future spread of the virus."
When arriving at the Highmark Health testing site, patients will register with an AHN clinical provider and then proceed to a second station to receive their nasal swab. The entire process takes no longer than 10 minutes and patients typically receive results within three to five business days.
"Communities of color have the highest risk of life-threatening complications caused by COVID-19 infections. A key first step in better addressing those health needs is to bring testing for the virus closer to home, promoting earlier detection and treatment of the illness," said Amy Crawford-Faucher, MD, a family physician with AHN. "We've tested hundreds of patients to date via our mobile and community testing sites, and we greatly appreciate the support of everyone who has partnered with AHN on this program for the difference they are making."
Mobile testing locations sites are being determined based on discussions between Highmark Health, AHN, County leaders and representatives of the Pittsburgh Black Elected Officials Coalition.
To undergo COVID-19 testing at the mobile clinics, patients should either be experiencing symptoms consistent with the virus including fever, cough and shortness of breath or believe they are at risk due to contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis. A physician's order IS NOT required for an appointment at Highmark Health's mobile clinic, but an appointment is recommended to minimize wait times. Patients can make an appointment by calling AHN's 24/7 Nurse On Call-line (412-NURSE4U or 412-687-7348).
What to expect when arriving at the mobile testing site:
AHN also continues to make COVID-19 testing available at the following community locations:
Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh, PA-based enterprise that employs more than 35,000 people who serve millions of Americans across the country, is the parent company of Highmark Inc., a hospital system, and other businesses. Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates provide health insurance to more than 4.4 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware as well as dental insurance, and related health products through a national network of diversified businesses. Highmark Health's other subsidiaries include an integrated delivery network comprised of eight hospitals, more than 2,300 affiliated physicians, ambulatory surgery centers, an employed physician organization, home and community-based health services, a research institute, a group purchasing organization, and health and wellness pavilions in western Pennsylvania and an information technology business focused on meeting the information technology platform and other business needs of the Highmark Health enterprise as well as unaffiliated health insurance plans by providing proven business processes, expert knowledge, and integrated cloud-based platforms. To learn more, visit www.highmarkhealth.org.