About Your Stay at West Penn Hospital

Coronavirus Policy Updates

We have changed our visitor policies. Please note, the information on this page may not be accurate.

At West Penn Hospital, we are dedicated to making your stay as comfortable as possible and committed to treating you with competence, compassion and courtesy. The following patient care services are an important component of the quality of your hospital stay.

Automated Teller Machines

For your convenience, automated teller machines (ATMs) are located on the first floor of the North Tower and on the second floor of the Mellon Pavilion.

Billing information

A registration representative or financial counselor will ask you for your insurance information. After verifying your insurance with your insurance carrier, it may be determined that you owe a co-pay, deductible, co-insurance or any combination of these. Payment of these liabilities is expected and will be requested at pre-registration or the time of your visit/admission.

Requests for private rooms can be paid in advance during the pre-admission process or on the day of admission. We require a three-day payment. If you are already admitted to a semi-private room and request that you be transferred to a private room, a three-day payment is required prior to your transfer.

Hospital payments may be made via cash, personal checks or credit cards. We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover.

The hospital will bill your insurance company for the cost of supplies, equipment and the support staff involved in your care. If the services of certain hospital-based physicians or specialty services were required during your stay, you will be billed separately for these professional services. These physicians will bill your insurance directly for professional services rendered. The bill, which is for the reading and interpretation of test results by a physician, will be sent to you by the physician billing department. In some types of examinations, you will have met the physician who interprets your test. However, even if you have not seen this physician in person, he or she will have studied your examination and sent a written report to your physician. This procedure applies to:

  • Radiologists
  • Pathologists
  • Physicians in other specialty areas and services including, but not limited to:
    • EKG
    • EEG
    • Respiratory Services

If you do not have insurance coverage, hospital financial counselors are available to help you. They can help you complete medical assistance applications and provide information on Help Loans and other applications for patient financial assistance. Our financial counselors can be contacted by calling extension 5031 from your room.

Billing questions after discharge should be directed to Customer Service at 1-800-547-0540.

Discharge preparations

Your doctor and healthcare team will decide when you are well enough to leave the hospital. Departure on the day of discharge is most often before 11:00 AM.

Your doctor or hospital staff will notify you of your potential discharge. In many instances, they may be able to give you advance notice of your impending discharge.

You should make arrangements for a family member or friend to accompany you home upon discharge.

Your doctor or doctor's designee will tell you that you will be discharged and give you final discharge instructions. At this time, ask your doctor any questions you have about your discharge instructions or care after discharge. Your departure time is to be within 3 hours of the time your doctor/designee told you of your actual discharge.

When told of your discharge, collect your personal belongings and ask your nurse to get anything you may have secured in the hospital safe. Be sure to check your bedside stand, closet and bathroom for any items. If you need additional bags or a cart for your belongings, please ask your nurse.

On your discharge day, free parking in the Parking Complex is available for the person picking you up. Please tell this person to use this service, because you will be transported through the Skywalk.

Your nurse will arrange for a hospital escort to help you get safely to your vehicle.

You may be discharged to an extended care facility for further care. A social worker will be assisting you and your family through that process once your post-discharge needs are known.

Should you need the services of a wheelchair van, call the Social Services Department at extension 5105 for assistance. You and/or your family are responsible for payment of this alternative transportation.

Ambulance service is arranged by your social worker. However, insurance only reimburses for this service in exceptional cases with physician authority and medical necessity.

If your healthcare team believes that you qualify for an inpatient rehabilitation stay, West Penn Hospital offers a comprehensive acute inpatient rehabilitation program with 24-hour nursing care located on the third floor that is designed to return patients to the community with maximal function and independence as quickly and safely as possible. Drawing on the many resources available through West Penn Hospital, a comprehensive, individualized care plan is developed and followed according to your unique recovery needs. This plan emphasizes early intervention and a team approach to rehabilitation involving you, your family and the primary physician as active members of the team. Should you need an inpatient rehabilitation stay, the Social Services Department will arrange this next step for you. 

Ethics consultations

We are committed to following patients' wishes concerning medical treatment whenever possible. The Hospital's Medical Ethics Committee is available to offer supportive counsel and information to assist you and your healthcare providers in making difficult treatment decisions for yourself or a loved one when complex ethical issues are involved.

When an ethics consultation is requested, representatives of the Medical Ethics Committee will meet with the patient, family members, and the patient's physicians, nurses and social worker to provide confidential assistance. Through careful and thoughtful discussion, this diverse group of professionals with expertise in medical ethics will identify the ethical problems and offer assistance in resolving them. Please remember that the Ethics Committee offers advice only, and that competent adult patients or substitute decision-makers always retain the right to make their own decisions.

Generally, an ethical problem exists when the right thing to do is not clear or when people disagree about what is appropriate. Some examples are:

  • When should a life-prolonging treatment such as a breathing machine, feeding tubes or dialysis be started, continued or stopped?
  • What should family members and caregivers do when a patient refuses treatment that may be medically helpful?
  • Who should make healthcare decisions for patients when they are unable or unwilling to decide for themselves?
  • What should a family member do when a patient's wishes are unknown or unclear?
  • How should decisions be made when there is conflict or lack of clarity about a patient's living will, advance directive or other expressed wishes?

An ethics consultation may be helpful when:

  • A patient, family member or healthcare provider wants help talking through important ethical concerns in a patient's care.
  • There is serious ethical disagreement among healthcare providers or within the family.
  • Decisions need to be made about life-prolonging medical treatment for patients unable to decide for themselves.

Patients and family members may ask any member of the healthcare team to initiate a consultation or may call the Social Service Department at (412) 578-4696. An Ethics Committee representative will discuss the process with you, determine if you wish to pursue an ethics consultation and answer any questions you may have. There is no charge for ethics consultations.

Food service for patients and guests

The Dietary Services Department staff strives to ensure that you are satisfied with your food services during your visit. To fulfill your expectations, we have made the commitment to:

  • Provide a quality product and present it to you in an appetizing manner.
  • Serve you in clean surroundings by professional, courteous and friendly staff.

Patient meal times

Patient meals are served during the following times:

  • Breakfast: 7:15 AM - 9:30 AM
  • Lunch: 11:15 PM - 1:30 PM
  • Dinner: 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Menu selections

You will receive a menu daily to make your selections for the following day's meals. Please circle your choices clearly, and remember to include such items as butter, margarine, sugar and cream for coffee. A dietary technician will help patients on a modified diet make the proper menu choices.

If you do not receive a menu or if you have any comments, please call Dietary Services at (412) 578-5222 and a representative will assist you.

You should make your menu selection by 9:30 AM each morning. Your completed menu will be collected daily. At times, laboratory, X-ray and other tests will require that a meal be delayed or omitted. Whenever possible, you will be served after your test or examination.

Should you have dietary restrictions for personal or religious reasons, please tell your nurse or Dietary Services representative when you are admitted to your room.

At your request, the Dietary Services Department can also prepare the following for you and/or your guests:

  • Kosher meals
  • Vegetarian meals
  • Snacks and alternate selections
  • Guest trays*
  • Steaks*

* provided at an additional charge

If you and/or your guest would like to order a special request noted above or have any other questions, please call Dietary Services Nutrition Hotline at (412) 578-5222.

We take pride in providing you with the highest quality of services and food. It is through your honest feedback that we are able to continually improve our services.

If you believe we have not met our commitment to you and you are not satisfied with our service or food, we want to know. Please inform a Dietary Services representative immediately by dialing (412) 578-5222. Please tell us why you are dissatisfied and allow us the opportunity to make the appropriate corrections or adjustments.

For your guests

Your guests are welcome to eat in the hospital's cafeteria or in your room with you. West Penn's cafeteria, called the Friendship Dining Room, is located on the First Floor of the North Tower.

The menu and hours of service are posted daily in front of the cafeteria entrance. Your family members or guests are also welcome to listen to a recording of the cafeteria's daily menu by calling Dial-A-Menu at (412) 578-5780.

A vending area on the Second Floor of the North Tower is open 24 hours a day. There are vending machines with snacks, sandwiches, and hot and cold beverages, and the area has a microwave oven.

Guest meals can be served in your room. Guests can choose from your daily menu or order special entrees (Note: There may be an additional fee for special entrees).

Guests can place their order when the Dietary Services representative collects your daily menu or by calling [a] (412) 578-5222 at least one hour before they would like to be served.

The charges for guest meals must be paid in advance in the cafeteria, and are as follows:

  • Breakfast - $4
  • Lunch - $7
  • Dinner - $7

Charges for guest meals will appear on your West Penn Hospital bill. Guest meals are not covered by your medical insurance and the hospital cannot accept payment upon delivery. Special arrangements have been made for guest meals for parents of patients in the Pediatrics Unit; please ask your nurse for details.

Patients and visitors are invited to tour West Penn Hospital's Gallery of Art. Located in the upper lobby of the main entrance to the hospital on South Millvale Avenue, the gallery is a showcase for regional artists with exhibits changing every month.

For more information or to purchase any of the works of art on display, visit the Volunteer Services Office on the Forth Floor of the North Tower or call (412) 578-5313. A portion of the proceeds benefits Junior and Senior Volunteer Programs at West Penn Hospital.

Gift shop

The Gift Shop is located on First Floor of the North Tower. It is open weekdays from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. It is closed on holidays.

The Gift Shop offers a wide selection of greeting cards, wrapping paper and gift items, as well as snacks and candy. All proceeds are used to fund hospital projects, such as purchasing new equipment or establishing new programs. Call the friendly staff at the Gift Shop at (412) 578-5507, and they will assist with your selection and deliver it.

Healthcare team members

During your stay at West Penn Hospital, you will be cared for by physicians, professional nurses, and other healthcare team members who are dedicated to providing excellent care and service with competence, compassion and courtesy.

Your healthcare team members include people who are specially trained to care for you and contribute directly and indirectly to meet your needs. Most of the care you receive from the healthcare team will take place at your bedside.

Members of the healthcare team generally involved in your daily care include:

  • RN (Registered Nurse) - Wears navy blue or white scrubs; the RN assesses, plans and implements your plan of care together with your physician.
  • PCA (Patient Care Associate) - Wears ceil blue garb and assists with basic care needs such as bathing and walking.
  • SSA (Support Services Associate) - Wears red scrubs and assists with meals, transportation to and from the patient care unit and general room cleanliness.
  • CS (Clinical Secretary) - Wears khaki attire and completes patient registration in select hospital areas, as well as patient care unit secretarial functions.

The service you receive is important to us. If you have concerns or see opportunities for improvement during your stay, please see your caregiver or ask to see the nurse manager. You may also call the Department of Patient and Guest Services at (412) 578-5648.


The patient library has a variety of used books and magazines for your enjoyment during your stay. To borrow a book or magazine, please call the Volunteer Services Department at (412) 578-5313. If a volunteer is on duty, he/she will come to your room with the book cart. Books and magazines do not need to be returned. Patients and visitors are welcome to take home whatever they are reading at the time of discharge.