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Protest expected Wednesday afternoon outside county government building against UPMC Pinnacle closure

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Publication Date: 
January 30, 2019

Protest expected Wednesday afternoon outside county government building against UPMC Pinnacle closure

by JUNIOR GONZÁLEZ

Residents and activists opposed to the scheduled closure of UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster are expected to assemble outside the county government this afternoon.

Tammy Rojas, a member with Put People First! PA Lancaster, a grassroots organization focused on healthcare access and social equity, said the rally will take place at 1 p.m. Wednesday outside the Lancaster County Government Center at 150 N. Queen Street.

The rally will be to inform people of practices by UPMC Pinnacle in Lancaster County and other parts of Pennsylvania, according to organizers.

“The CEO (of UPMC) said they want to be the Amazon of healthcare. That should scare the bejesus out of everyone,” Rojas said in a phone call Wednesday morning. “I think they’re spreading around Pennsylvania like a virus.”

On Dec. 11 UPMC Pinnacle announced the closure of the hospital, formerly St. Joseph Hospital, at 250 College Ave. after 135 years in Lancaster city.

At the first city council meeting following the closure on Dec. 18, Rojas, also a coordinator for the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee, said closing the hospital would “mostly hurt those of us who are already economically struggling” and lead to health issues, job losses and increased poverty in the community.

Recently, UPMC announced the closure of its bariatric institute in Lititz, referring its patients to a facility in Harrisburg.

"This is just the start," Rojas said, of further consolidation from the healthcare giant.

A news release from the group stated the rally also intends to “further illustrate the need to create a Public Healthcare Advocate position in the State office who advocates for all Pennsylvania residents in the face of hospital closures and healthcare profiteers.”

 

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