Braddocks Fights for its Hospital

By Kay Tillow

Braddock, the home of many a working class battle, now fights to save its hospital, the best building in town, from the wrecker’s ball. Braddock, Pennsylvania, the site of the US Steel’s Edgar Thompson Works, lies along the north bank of the Monongahela just up the river from Pittsburgh.

Braddock’s story is repeated across the country as mills close and once thriving working class communities are deserted by the hospitals they built. The people of Braddock are saying “no” to the gigantic University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) as it builds in wealthy areas while closing the hospitals where they are needed most–Braddock, Aliquippa, Southside.

The people of Braddock are fighting back. With the help of the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare they organized “Save Our Community Hospitals” (SOCH). In an effort to stop the demolition they are maintaining a vigil at the hospital and seeking legal proceedings to block it. They won a victory when the demolition was halted by an invalid permit.

UPMC, an $8 billion corporation, now occupies the former US Steel building that dominates the Pittsburgh Skyline. In recent years UPMC has established itself as a global enterprise with overseas ventures in Sicily and Ireland. UPMC just announced a $16 million advertising and branding campaign with a new warm and fuzzy purple logo. It has plenty of money to keep the Braddock Hospital open.

SOCH urges supporters to call UPMC CEO, Jeffrey Romoff to demand that the hospital be saved and emergency service be restored to Braddock.

Romoff’s number is: 412-647-3555

The passage of HR 676, national single payer health care, would end the flight of hospitals and health care away from urban centers and hard hit areas that have lost manufacturing jobs. HR 676 would be publicly funded making everyone an “equally valuable” patient stopping the economic incentives that now close hospitals and physicians offices.

After you call Jeff Romoff, call your congressperson and urge co-sponsorship for HR 676.

Kay Tillow
All Unions Committee For Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217