Text Size: A- A+ Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube

Breaking News

Pledge the Gift of Life

Each year, the lives of thousands of people across the country are saved because someone made the choice to become an organ donor. In April, Allegheny Health Network is honored to celebrate National Donate Life Month and pay tribute to all of those who have bestowed the precious gift of life to another through organ donation. Visit AHNdonate.org to learn more and register to be an organ donor.



Format: 04/21/2014
Format: 04/21/2014


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: All kids need health insurance: And Pennsylvania must ensure them a good education, too

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

By Dr. Robert Cicco
As a neonatologist and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics, I have devoted my life to the care of infants and young children and I know that health insurance coverage is important in providing them with access to health care services.

Children who have insurance coverage are more likely to be immunized, receive regular check-ups and get prompt treatment for ordinary childhood ailments such as asthma. Children who are uninsured have poorer health and miss more school.

Pennsylvania is a leader in providing health coverage to its young residents. In fact, it is among a select few states that make health insurance coverage available to all children thanks to the 2007 "Cover All Kids" expansion of CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program. Democrats and Republicans alike frequently have put partisan politics aside to support CHIP.

The governor's 2010-2011 proposed budget includes a boost in funding for CHIP to further ensure that all children get health insurance coverage. This is important because, despite the state's commitment to covering kids, there are children still uninsured in our region and across the commonwealth.

When the state Department of Insurance conducted a survey in 2008, it discovered that 5 percent of children lack coverage. In a region since rocked by job losses and hard economic times for families, it wouldn't be surprising if the uninsured rate has climbed. That's why it is important for the General Assembly to support the proposed funding increase for CHIP.

The overall wellness of a child is about more than just seeing a doctor. Education, too, is an integral part of a child's healthy growth and development. The governor's budget proposal includes a pledge to increase basic education funding by $354 million and ensure that a child's zip code does not determine the quality of education he or she receives.

This is an important commitment to keep, especially in difficult budgetary times.

While I applaud the governor's plan to continue to increase funding for K-12 education, more must be done to aid our youngest learners. His proposal cuts both Pre-K Counts (the commonwealth's preschool program for academically vulnerable 3- and 4-year-olds) and state funding for Head Start, which means fewer children will have access to these critical early education programs come the new school year.

Today, less than 18 percent of our state's 3- and 4-year-old children are enrolled in public pre-kindergarten programs. And just as we know health insurance makes a difference in the life of a child, so too does quality early education. Research continually shows that quality pre-kindergarten helps get kids ready for school by improving literacy, numeracy and social skills.

As a physician, I thank our state's leaders for their continued commitment to children's health. But I know education is a part of their well-being, too, so I respectfully urge the governor and Legislature to reconsider any cuts to Pre-K Counts and Head Start.

Dr. Robert Cicco is associate director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of West Penn Hospital and a board member of PA Partnerships for Children (www.papartnerships.org).


West Penn Allegheny Health System
Tell us who you are:

What areas do you use on our website?*
(select more than one if it applies)

Did you find what you were looking for?

Would you refer others to our website?

Can we contact you for future questions?

CAPTCHA math question:* 8 + 9 =

Thank you for completing the West Penn Allegheny Health System website survey.
We value your feedback and comments.