Friday, September 3, 2010

Braddock Mayor Agrees with UPMC

An agreement that settles a civil rights complaint against UPMC brought by Braddock Borough is hailed by Council President Jesse Brown in the Post-Gazette as a major victory, but UPMC told the paper it had already agreed to the provisions months ago.

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman says the seven-month delay achieved only "an ombudsman and a couple of health screenings". According to him, the lawsuit represents grandstanding and posturing by both Council and the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services, which did not want to be perceived as impotent. He says if HHS really had any teeth, it would have kept UPMC from closing the hospital in Braddock.

Fetterman credits Allegheny County, and specifically Dan Onorato, for holding UPMC accountable and getting a commitment from UPMC and $3 million of state funding for a new facility that will house a health services clinic, a community college center, a restaurant, and additional housing. He says Council missed deadlines as it refused to approve the project because of its lawsuit, so that Braddock came dangerously close to losing something that may give the community a chance to bounce back.

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