On July 2nd UPMC East was set to open it’s doors in Monroeville with little fanfare. While they had not planned for any events of their own, they had not counted on the fact that just 10 miles away the anger over another UPMC hospital still lingered.
In 2010 UPMC had shut down UPMC Braddock citing that it was underutilized and was not making enough money. UPMC’s claims were disputed, and an outrage lead to the formation of a community group “Save Our Community Hospital”.
Since the closing, UPMC has built a $250 hospital in the more affluent suburb of Monroeville, despite of the fact that Forbes Regional Hospital already serves that community.
Activists from Save Our Community Hospital, as well as One Pittsburgh and other Braddock community members set out from Braddock where the old hospital had been demolished to protest the opening of UPMC East.
As has been discussed before – http://onepittsburgh.org/2012/04/23/upmc-tax-dodging-medicine-2/ – the protestors focused on UPMC’s practices that can be seen as monopolistic and unfitting of a non-profit.
They called for UPMC to either pay its fair share, or to fufill it’s non-profit mandate by serving communities such as Braddock instead of moving to Monroeville for more earnings.
As the day went on many Monroeville residents drove past either honking in support or speaking with protestors at the stop light. Many expressed confusion as to why UPMC would need to open a hospital when Forbes Regional still stood down the road.
Other protestors, such as Carmella Mullen, simply expressed anguish for having a keystone of their community taken away from them.
“It left a void in our community, but mostly in the hearts of the people that worked and lived there,” she said “and it can never be replaced.”