Harrisburg, PA - Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) announced the establishment of a health resource network that will directly connect Pennsylvania residents with local providers in response to Norfolk Southern’s train derailment. DOH is working with local health care providers in Beaver and Lawrence counties to meet the long-term needs of residents impacted by the Norfolk Southern train derailment that occurred February 3 in East Palestine, Ohio.
“Western Pennsylvania has a wealth of high-quality health care providers who are committed to providing a community-based health resource response – including primary and specialty care as needed for residents with health concerns following the derailment,” said Acting Health Secretary Dr. Debra Bogen. “We are fortunate to work with trusted local providers to ensure they have the resources they need to address residents’ derailment-related health concerns. This is a critical next step in Governor Shapiro’s commitment to supporting Pennsylvanians impacted by the derailment. With this resource network, the Shapiro Administration is helping to ensure all residents with health concerns following the train derailment have direct access to local health care providers and the specialized resources they need.”
Starting next week, residents with derailment-related health concerns can call the Pennsylvania Department of Health hotline (877-PA-HEALTH) to request a check-up to help identify the root of their health concerns. The nurse will link them to the appropriate local health care services, including physical and behavioral health care providers from Allegheny Health Network, Heritage Valley Health System, UPMC and Primary Health Network; access to care is also open to people without insurance or transportation, the latter of which can be arranged with providers. If necessary, the health network will recommend any additional support individuals may need. DOH and the Pittsburgh Poison Center will further collaborate with local providers to ensure they have additional support to address any specific concerns related to short-term chemical exposure.
Moving forward, this community-based health resource network will replace the Health Resource Center that has been operating at the Darlington Township Building and served more than 570 people who met with staff from the Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection (DEP), and Health (DOH).
DOH staff are continuing to conduct the Assessment of Chemical Exposure (ACE) survey among residents and first responders living near the derailment. The surveys help residents identify symptoms, experiences, and concerns about the impact of the train derailment on their lives. Additionally, the health network will work closely with DOH to identify symptom or clinical trends that could help to determine if they are related to exposure caused by the train derailment.
The Shapiro Administration continues to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for the impacts of their derailment on the lives of Pennsylvanians, and will ensure the company pays for the full cost of the Commonwealth’s response.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has created an online dashboard with a timeline of details and list of resources for Pennsylvania residents.
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