Braddock to UPMC: a life and death matter for us
My local single payer organizer sent along this copy of a letter from Braddock's mayor and council president to the board of UPMC; we intend to hand-deliver it to the chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh (UPMC's parent organization) today. The letter is not a "demand" that UPMC keep Braddock Hospital open, but a courteous request to either reverse the decision, or give the community time to find an alternative remedy. (Apparently, they have feelers out for someone else to run the hospital, but this will be virtually impossible if the hospital is closed and loses its operating license.)
All emphases mine.
We are writing on behalf of the residents of Braddock and the surrounding communities to seek your help in averting what will be a devastating blow to the health and safety of our citizens and the economy of our region.
We are talking, of course, about the impending closing of Braddock Hospital.
It is our understanding that you may not have been involved in the decision to close Braddock Hospital, but we hope you can play a critical role in finding a way to prevent the adverse consequences that closing Braddock Hospital will cause.
We assume you know that Braddock is a very poor municipality. You may not know that Braddock Hospital is our largest employer, and provides our only restaurant and ATM. But more important, it provides easily accessible, and critically needed health care to our residents, many of whom are elderly and chronically ill. Many of our residents survived emergencies due to the proximity of the Hospital, so this is a life and death matter for us.
Many in our community, particularly the African American community, have always had respect and admiration for UPMC due to its presence in Braddock. No one needed to tell us that we were viewed as poor and undesirable to many businesses and organizations. However, some businesses remained committed to the Braddock community and met the needs of the underserved. UPMC was listed among them.
UPMC’s announced closing of Braddock on such short notice provided no opportunity to find a way to either, keep the Hospital open, or find another operator. This has caused us to rethink our opinion of UPMC. Many are questioning UPMC’s public commitment to serving the more needy and vulnerable segments of our community.
We have urged UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff to reconsider closing Braddock Hospital, to no avail. That is why we are reaching out to you. We hope you will demand that the UPMC management reconsider its decision to close Braddock.
In the alternative, we ask that we be given more time to find a way to ensure that this facility continues to provide critically needed health services to the greater Braddock area. We have made serious inquiries in this regard and there are potential remedies. But these can only be successful if the hospital does not close on January 31, and the operating license does not expire.
As a member of the UPMC board, you have the power to help us. Please take action. Stop the closing of this critically needed facility or, at least, delay the closing of Braddock Hospital for 18 months. We don’t think such a delay will seriously harm UPMC. But 18 months will give us the time needed to locate an entity capable of operating a community hospital in Braddock.
We don’t think this is too much to ask. Can we count on you?
John Fetterman, Mayor of Braddock
Jesse Brown, President, Braddock Council
Tina Doose, Braddock Council Member
Tony Buba, Filmmaker