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All Allegheny Health Network Hospitals Recognized with Highest Ranking in the 2018 HAP Donate Life PA Hospital Challenge

Thursday, September 13, 2018

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Allegheny Health Network (AHN) was recognized Tuesday at a Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) luncheon for its outstanding efforts to raise awareness for organ donation in the 2018 Donate Life PA Hospital Challenge. In a first for the Network, each participating AHN hospital earned a titanium-level finish, the highest ranking possible for the celebrated, month-long initiative.

The titanium ranking, first introduced in 2017, recognizes hospitals that engage in unprecedented levels of outreach activities throughout the month of April. Participating AHN hospitals this year included: Allegheny General, Allegheny Valley, Canonsburg, Forbes, Jefferson, Saint Vincent and West Penn.

“Our system-wide ranking at the highest level is a first for the Network, and we’re appreciative of the unparalleled work our hospitals do to drive awareness for organ donation and donor registration,” said Cynthia Hundorfean, AHN President and CEO. “By coming together around this common goal, we’re able to best leverage our resources and presence across western Pennsylvania to educate the public on organ donation and the critical need for more people to register.”

According to the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE), 20 people die in the U.S. every day while awaiting an organ, and the nationwide organ waiting list is now more than 115,000 people long. That includes more than 7,500 people who live in Pennsylvania.

One person formerly on the waiting list, Jerry Jacovetty of West Virginia, received his new kidney at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) and explains how this gift changed his life forever.

“I never understood how much it would mean just to feel normal again. Normal was so far away from where I was. With dialysis you’re not able to drink more than one or two cups of water per day. I was horribly thirsty for years,” Jacovetty said. “My new kidney started functioning on the second day after my surgery, and I was able to drink more — I finally quenched my thirst. Physically, on a scale of one to 10, I was a three to four during dialysis. Today, I’m a 10 physically. Mentally, I have to say I’m close to a million.”

Jacovetty shared his story at the Donate Life Month opening flag-raising ceremony at AGH, alongside hospital leadership. The event kicked off a slew of Donate Life activities across the Network in April, from flag-raising ceremonies to participating in National Donate Life Blue & Green Day in memory and appreciation of organ donors to setting up information tables at hospitals for people to learn how to register to become a donor.

The Network also hosted an organ donor pinning ceremony to recognize living donors, a transplant recipient parade through AGH, and rose garden ceremonies to honor those who have graciously saved others through organ donation.

“Once again, the commitment and enthusiasm shown by our hospital partners as part of the 2018 HAP Donate Life Pennsylvania Hospital Challenge has been extraordinary,” said Susan Stuart, President and CEO of CORE. “Guided by HAP and its leadership, including Andy Carter, their efforts to create a culture of donation within their hospitals have not only further strengthened that critical link between donation and transplantation, but have also offered CORE the opportunities to care for donors and their families, to give hope to those waiting for lifesaving organs and tissues, and ultimately to save and heal the lives of so many.”

One-hundred and eleven hospitals and 21 health systems across the state participated in the challenge. Participating hospitals’ awareness and designation activities are captured on a scorecard and assigned titanium, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze level recognitions.