Activists opposed to UPMC's closing of Braddock Hospital are holding a rally outside the hospital today from 2:30 to 4:00 and again on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Filmmaker Tony Buba says there will be updates on legal action to prevent the closure: a lawsuit by Allegheny County Councilman Charles McCullough, which seeks to prevent public authorities from facilitating a $1.175 billion dollar UPMC bond issue and a charge by Braddock Council President Jesse Brown that the closure violates civil rights law because it adversely affects a predominantly African American community just as UPMC is building a hospital in predominantly white Monroeville.
The Office of Civil Rights at Health and Human Services has no comment on an investigation at this time.
Buba says despite personal pleas from himself and others, the Pennsylvania Higher Educational Facilities Authority voted 8 to 1 to approve the bond issue, as Allegheny County Council had done previously. Buba says he will probably attend another public hearing on Jan. 26th before the matter goes to Governor Ed Rendell for his signature.
Buba says hospital supporters will propose to the state and federal governments that Haitian earthquake victims be flown to under-utilized Pittsburgh International Airport and treated at almost-empty Braddock Hospital.
This is the final day UPMC will accept new patients in Braddock Hospital, which is scheduled to close at the end of the month.