February 20, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee
Put People First! PA
Residents Host Community Forum and Vigil Final Weekend before UPMC Closes Doors
Put People First! PA – Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee hosts “Weekend of Action”
WHAT: Lancaster members of Put People First! PA, a grassroots, statewide organization of people directly impacted by the healthcare crisis, will have a weekend of action on the final weekend before the hospital closes and have invited all local government officials to attend, including those who have announced their candidacy.
We want to inform the public of the process UPMC has taken to purchase this hospital, what benefit they received from the purchase, what they have done to other communities and why we need a Public Healthcare Advocate for the state.There will also be time for the community to share their concerns about the closing.
WHEN: Saturday February 23rd, 2-4pm
WHERE: Community Mennonite Church 332 West Orange St.
The vigil is to pay homage to the hospital, it’s workers and volunteers over many generations. The service provided by people in the community for 134 years deserves proper recognition and our gratitude for their dedication. It’s also the perfect time for people to share their stories around the hospital.
WHEN: Sunday February 24th, 5-6pm
WHERE: Across the street from the hospital located at 250 College Ave
Since the closing of UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster was announced in early December, the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee has brought attention to this issue by flooding the December 18th City Council meeting, staging a rally outside the Lancaster County Government center and voiced their demands at the City Council meeting February 12th. (1) “We want a Public meeting with UPMC CEO and executive present and a city resolution recognizing the need for a Public Healthcare Advocate for Pennsylvania,” Tammy Rojas stated.
Put People First! PA Lancaster members have asked all local government officials and those who have announced their candidacy for the upcoming term to join us for this weekend of action. “We need to see that our local elected officials take our concerns seriously and that they are prepared to take action,” Anne Winslow stated. “Even though this hospital, as of March 1, will be closed and not there, we’re still going to keep up the fight. Because until that place is sold or demolished, we still have an opportunity to make our voices heard,” said Tammy Rojas (2)
Pennsylvania Department of Health spokesman Nate Wardle said in an email that while there are certain reporting requirements, it does not have the ability to stop a hospital closure and he’s not aware of any agency that does. (3) Put People First! PA believes that while local government may not be able to draft legislation to change the current healthcare system, there are steps they can take that would put pressure on state legislators to take action. This crisis illustrates the need for a Public Healthcare Advocate in the State government, who can act on behalf of Pennsylvania residents who are at the mercy of for-profit healthcare providers, an issue that Put People First! PA has been raising across the state.
Put People First! PA has members in 17 counties waging their “Healthcare is a Human Right” campaign. Last September, the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee held a demonstration against substandard care and working conditions at ManorCare Lancaster, as part of a Statewide Week of Action in York, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, and Johnstown PA. Since then the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee has been at the forefront of the fight to keep UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster open.