Save Our Community Hospitals Pickets UPMC Fundraiser At Pittsburgh Wine Festival

Friday, May 6, 2011 General News J E 4

PITTSBURGH, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members and supporters of the Save Our Community Hospitals (SOCH) organization held an informational picket today at the Pittsburgh Wine Festival (PWF). The festival took place at the West Lounge at Heinz Field, home to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers. SOCH was there to inform festival goers how their donations will likely be used by the event's beneficiary, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

The PWF proudly states that it "will again partner with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for private dinners with exclusive chefs and winemakers to raise money for Discovery and Innovation at UPMC. The PWF boasts that the partnership has raised 7.25 million dollars on behalf of UPMC.

SOCH handed out fliers to make festival goers aware that UPMC's "innovation" is killing poor communities in the western Pennsylvania region. The latest example of this is the closing of UPMC/Braddock Hospital.

"UPMC should not be rewarded for closing a hospital where 26,000 people used its emergency room the year before it closed," said Jim Kidd, Braddock resident and member of the SOCH steering committee.  "UPMC's McKeesport Hospital may be the next to go."

Festival patrons paid anywhere from $125 to $10,000 to attend the event. SOCH members noted that the $7 million the PWF has given to UPMC could have been used to keep UPMC/Braddock open another year.

Braddock area residents are particularly upset that UPMC is investing in hospitals all over the world, including building a new hospital less than a mile from Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville, yet could not find the resources to keep Braddock Hospital open.

"Monroeville gets the Dom Perignon of health care while Braddock and surrounding communities are left with Two Buck Chuck health care," said Tony Buba, chair of the SOCH steering committee.

"We think the Pittsburgh Wine Festival can find a better partner to give the proceeds of this event to instead of a predatory conglomerate that had $9 billion in revenues last year,"  said Evelyn Benzo, also a Braddock resident and SOCH steering committee member.

SOURCE Save Our Community Hospitals (SOCH)



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