Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Upmc Seeks to Build Large Facility near Jefferson Hospital

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Upmc Seeks to Build Large Facility near Jefferson Hospital

Article excerpt

Health system UPMC wants to build a hospital on about 80 acres in Pleasant Hills, less than a mile from rival Allegheny Health Network's Jefferson Hospital.

ULCM LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of UPMC, is challenging the borough's zoning code in order to build a 300,000-square-foot hospital near Route 51 and Lindsay Snyder Drive. Among permitted uses, the municipality's zoning of the tract does not specifically include hospitals, said Jim Rush, building code official.

In a statement, UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps said the system was "once again demonstrating its commitment to investing in our region's communities" by building the facility "to serve patients closer to home."

"We look forward to working closely with the community in the process, which, pending approvals, will be a facility where many South Hills-based patients can receive the most appropriate treatments on an ambulatory basis whenever possible and where we will be fully equipped to provide emergency care, intensive care, preventive care and latest imaging technology," the statement read.

The project is expected to create "hundreds of jobs in the region," she said.

AHN officials sharply criticized the proposal, saying it would duplicate existing services, which would drive up the overall cost of health care.

"It's a blatant, costly duplication of services," said AHN spokesman Dan Laurent. "It's a predatory action. The clear intent here is to weaken Jefferson and the other independent hospitals that serve the community."

The Pleasant Hills zoning hearing board will discuss UPMC's challenge at a public hearing Tuesday in the borough building. A zoning board determination is an early step in getting municipal approval for construction of the building, which could be up to five stories, Mr. Rush said. Borough council grants final approval for such plans.

Jefferson Hospital, which has 341 beds, was formed in 1973 with the closing of Homestead and St. Joseph hospitals.

UPMC's bid for a new hospital nearby comes after Jefferson expanded its emergency room, added a number of medical specialties, such as neurosurgery, and invested $19 million in a maternity center, which opened in 2014. …

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