Highlands Hospital is a locally owned and operated 64 bed hospital in the picturesque Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania. We are committed to providing health care to the community in a competent, nurturing, and healing environment. Our staff gives support in times of crisis and connects patients with the resources necessary to lead a healthy life.
Over 400 exceptional caregivers and staff provide emergent, in-patient, and ambulatory care to the Laurel Highlands region. At Highlands, we recognize that every patient has a unique set of needs and concerns, and that we aren’t only diagnosticians, but also sources of support and hope. We are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art facilities and to finding innovative ways to offer our community optimum health care.
Highlands News & Blog
Highlands Hospital was identified as one of 25 new Center of Excellence (COE) locations throughout the state of PA that will offer high-quality treatment to individuals with opioid and heroin-related substance use disorders, an epidemic affecting thousands of Pennsylvanians every year. The primary focus of the program will be the wellness of each person through term-based treatment, with the explicit goal of integrating behavioral health and primary care.
The COE builds upon Highlands Hospitals’ already significant behavioral health programs and will mirror the philosophy adopted by the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS):
“Recovery is a self-determined and holistic journey that people undertake to heal and grow. Recovery is facilitated by relationships and environments that provide hope, empowerment, choices and opportunities that promote people reaching their full potential as individuals and community members.”
Benefiting Those in Our Community and Surrounding Areas
“The opioid epidemic does not discriminate—it affects Pennsylvanians from all walks of life. With these additional Centers of Excellence (COE) locations, my administration is continuing its commitment to expanding high-quality treatment across Pennsylvania” — Governor Tom Wolf
“Having an addiction center so close to home is critical to assisting people with opioid related issues, ensuring that they get the behavioral and physical healthcare they need. Highlands Hospital will help to assist patients and families through drug treatment and point them toward recovery.”
— Senator Pat Stefano
The Statistics: Opioid-Related Substance Use Disorder
Opioid dependency has now reached epidemic proportions in the United States. This disorder will shape the future of our communities if it cannot be dealt with effectively. Treatment for addiction is just the first step in the long process to managed recovery.
• Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illicit drug heroin as well as the licit prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others.
• Opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and nervous system to produce pleasurable effects and relieve pain.
• Addiction is a primary, chronic and relapsing brain disease characterized by an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
• Of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder, two million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 591,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin.
• It is estimated that 23% of individuals who use heroin develop opioid addiction.
• Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 55,403 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2015.
Information collected by the American Society of Addition Medicine (ASAM) | Opioid Addition – 2016 Facts and Figures
"Hope After Heroin" - A WQED Documentary
This program explores the opioid crisis in Western Pennsylvania. People who have experienced addiction, either themselves or through a loved one, share their stories of struggle, stigma and loss. But they also show how they've managed to use their pain as a catalyst for change, providing hope for others.
Y12SR - The Yoga of 12-Step Recovery
Highlands Hospital Wellness Center is now offering a donation based class “The Yoga of 12-Step Recovery”.
Y12SR - The Yoga of 12-Step Recovery combines the practical tools of the 12-step program with the ancient wisdom of yoga.
Highlands Hospital has partnered with WVU Medicine to offer advanced heart and vascular care services through the WVU Heart & Vascular Institute. Through this center, board-certified faculty from WVU Heart &Vascular Institute will provide state-of-the-art care and access to the to the most advanced care in the region.
The center is now open at Highlands Hospital and is accepting patients.
The WVU Heart & Vascular Institute is a part of WVU Medicine, West Virginia's largest, and most advanced academic health system.
Highlands Hospital Autism Center
Licensed Site for Cleveland Clinic
Copyright © 2014, The CCF Foundation. All right reserved.
Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism announced on February 20th, 2014 that it is the first licensed site of Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism in the United States.
The designation allows the facility to expand its outreach to the community and to benefit from the research and expertise offered by the Cleveland Clinic. “They helped to make our vision of opening an autism center a reality,” said Michelle Cunningham, chief executive officer of Highlands Hospital.
“As our first licensed site, Highlands Hospital Center for Autism will benefit from the best practices and research-driven benchmarks we have successfully employed at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism,” said Travis Haycook, assistant director for Cleveland Clinic Autism Development Solutions. “This site is working at a level that we truly feel is at the top of their game. It is great to see what is happening here and to see the changes in the children. We are dedicated to supporting this program for years to come.”
Highlands will follow the exact same model of diagnostic evaluation and treatment offered at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism. Read more…
The Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation has just opened the door to at least considering some forms of Integrative Medicine when dealing with the Opioid crisis. As one of our close friends recently wrote, “The failure of Pharma in pain management is monumental, and it is apparent to me that we are at the tipping point.”
He went on to say, “The Joint Commission has endorsed the use of independent licensed practitioners in the pain management journey, and Integrative Medicine brings a philosophy and clinical approach which is not well understood but is being received with greater acceptance. Clearly, economics and power have driven the country into this opioid crisis and have greatly delayed a transformation process that is not Pharma oriented.”
Back in the early 2000’s, we had an opportunity to interact with the lead scientist from a major pharmaceutical company. He had visited our research center where we were endorsing both personalized and integrative medicine. As we drove him to the airport to board his company’s private jet, he turned and said, “You don’t understand the pharmaceutical industry.” Our response was, “Clearly, I don’t” to which he responded, “The pharmaceutical industry is like the movie industry. We are only looking for the big blockbusters. We want to give you a pill from the time you’re five until you’re 85 that never cures you.”
Well, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams with the opioid crisis. One of my emergency room physicians once told me that as little as one prescription of an opioid can cause addiction. Obviously, it depends on the pharmacogenomic profile of the patient, but some of us are addiction prone and our reactions to pain meds are dramatic.
One of the very sad examples of the savage capitalism involved in getting hundreds of thousands of patients addicted to these meds is that opioids also contribute to constipation. Consequently, pharma has come out with a new drug to sell the addicted that helps them with that drug caused problem as well.”Heal with a pill?”
We recently read a set of statistics that seemed not only overwhelming but also disconcerting and pathetic. The use of Vicodin has grown from 112 million doses in 2006 to 131 million in 2017. Per an ABC News report, the United States makes up only 4.6 percent of the world’s population but consumes 80 percent of its opioids and 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone, and now that heroin is less expensive than Vicodin or other opioids, we have rampant drug addiction in our country.
More people are dying of overdoses in our country now than auto accidents, and, according to a quote from public health and law enforcement official’s, painkillers are now responsible for more deaths than crack and black tar heroin in the 1970’s and 80’s combined.
So, the issue isn’t one of pain. We know that people have pain. The issue is how to treat that pain. The opioids were originally created to deal only with terminal patients.
There have been over 19,000 educational and scientific papers written on the efficacy of acupuncture, but there are still those hardline or possibly uninformed who believe it’s somehow totally ineffective.
Of course, Integrative Medicine doesn’t always work for every individual, but goodness knows that traditional medicine has its challenges as well. The point is never to replace one with the other but to complement one another when possible or effective.
When will the system recognize that mindfulness, acupuncture, visual imaging, controlled stretching, and other integrative modalities may be part of the answer? How about now?
By Nick Jacobs, FACHE
Sunstone Consulting LLC.