What you can do to prepare in case of a disaster of any kind

Have a family emergency plan

Make sure everyone knows where the exits are in your house, workplace or school. Decide how you will contact each other. Have a meeting place everyone knows in case you can’t go home. See more suggestions at this link. Have a communications plan

Pick a person for everyone to contact in case you can’t get in touch with each other.

Facts about hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States, affecting an estimated 3.2 million people. The virus mainly affects the liver and can lead to cirrhosis (liver scarring) and liver cancer. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants in the U.S.

It is transmitted when an infected person’s blood enters the bloodstream of another person. You should be tested if:

you were born between 1945 and 1965, regardless of other risk factors

you’ve used intravenous or intranasal drugs even once

you’ve engaged in anal intercourse or vigorous, unprotected sex with multiple partners

you had a transfusion of blood or blood products, like plasma, before 1992

you are or have been on hemodialysis

you got a tattoo or piercing in a non-sterile environment

you have sex or share personal care items, like a razor or toothbrush, with someone who has hepatitis C


To get tested:

Ask your healthcare provider if you are eligible for the hepatitis C antibody test. A few Southwest PA sites that screen for hepatitis C are:

Mercy Behavioral Health, 1200 Reedsdale St., Pittsburgh

Central Outreach, 1860 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh

Butler Community Health Clinic, 103 Bonnie Drive, Butler


To learn about prescription assistance programs, visit:

For Harvoni or Sovaldi, http://www.gilead.com/responsibility/us-patient-access

For Viekira Pak, http://www.abbviepaf.org/

For Olysio, www.JanssenPrescriptionAssistance.com


For more information on hepatitis C, visit:

Help-4-Hep: http://www.help4hep.org/

Caring Ambassadors hepatitis C program: www.hepcchallenge.org

CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis: www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis

HCV Advocate: www.hcvadvocate.org

Hepatitis C Association: www.hepcassoc.org

Law on cameras in nursing homes and what to do if you want one

Pennsylvania does not have a law on cameras in nursing homes. The state defaults to federal guidelines that protect the dignity and privacy of nursing-home residents, but they do not address the use of cameras. If you want the state to address this one way or the other, contact:

Your local ombudsman program or the state ombudsman. Here’s a list of contact information by county. Wilmarie Gonzalez, the state long-term care ombudsman, can be reached at 717-783-8975.

Resources for finding the right nursing home

Search Pennsylvania nursing homes by location, size and ownership on the Nursing Care Facility Locator Page, provided by the PA Department of Health. It includes inspections, payment options and nursing hours per resident. The Pennsylvania Health Care Association’s Facility Finder allows users to search for a facility by location and type of long-term care, as well as by specialized services, like adult day care, dementia care and dialysis. Use ProPublica’s Nursing Home Inspect application to search inspection reports for issues that matter to you, like pressure sores or emergency plans. Nursing Home Compare, developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS], is another way to search for ratings and quality measures of nursing homes throughout the country. 
CMS also has a guide to choosing the right nursing home and information on how to file a complaint. 
The National Institute on Aging also has a guide on choosing a nursing home and paying for it.

Tips for taking action on air quality issues and a pollutants guide

If you live in an area and want to be watchful about the air, here are some options to take action:

If you witness an air quality violation — maybe you see heavy smoke or smell bad odors that aren’t typically there — you can report it to the Allegheny County Health Department. Call (412) 687-ACHD (2243) or click here to report an incident. Many of these permits are up for renewal in the next year or two. After reviewing a company's air-quality permit, you may want to provide input during the permitting process, which could result in a change. Here’s an EPA guide to participating in the process.