This post was originally published on link to source

Rojas crop 2.jpg

Lancaster Health Care Rights Committee co-coordinator Tammy Rojas speaks to Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace and city council members at a public meeting Tues., Feb. 12, 2019. Rojas wants city officials to take a public stance against UPMC Pinnacle’s planned March closure of Lancaster Hospital. (Brett Sholtis/Transforming Health)

A group called Lancaster Health Care Rights Committee is petitioning city council to stop UPMC Pinnacle from closing its Lancaster hospital in March. The group is part of Put People First! PA, which bills itself as a grassroots nonprofit focused on health care access. 

At a city council meeting, co-coordinator Tammy Rojas called on Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace and city council members to take a public position on the planned closure. Rojas said she hopes city officilas can get state legislators to work with UPMC to keep the hospital open.

Rojas, of Lancaster, pointed to UPMC’s acquisition, and subsequent closure, of Braddock Hospital in Allegheny County as one example of the health care giant moving facilities out of urban areas and into more affluent suburbs.

“Look at what they did to Braddock. Look at what they did in Pittsburgh. We need to come together as a community, and we need to start thinking outside the box.”

UPMC Pinnacle has said it plans to move many of its inpatient services from Lancaster to UPMC Lititz, located seven miles outside of the city.

Its outpatient services in Lancaster will remain at the medical office building across the street from UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster, the health system said in a December news release.

Sorace cropped.jpg

Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace, at right, listens to Tammy Rojas speak at a city council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. To her left is city council member Ismail Smith Wade-El. (Brett Sholtis/Transforming Health).

“UPMC Pinnacle aims to retain and place as many Lancaster employees as possible in positions within UPMC,” the release stated. “UPMC Pinnacle will also work closely with local hospitals to identify and share available positions with affected employees. Thorough plans are in place to support and work with employees and to communicate with current patients and the community.”

There is no plan in place for the Lancaster facility. The health system plans to work with Sorace “to explore redevelopment options for the appropriate and positive use of the property that would benefit the city of Lancaster and area residents.”

UPMC Pinnacle officials weren’t immediately available after the city council meeting. Spokeswoman Kelly McCall said in a December email that the health system is not providing any additional comments on the planned closure outside of the press release and website.