South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

UPMC to relocate some services to other S.S. locations

Operating rooms leaving but urgent care will remain in the neighborhood


April 17, 2018

Outpatient surgeries will cease by July 1 at the UPMC Mercy South Side Outpatient Center, but many other healthcare services, including the walk-in urgent care center, will remain until they can be relocated elsewhere in South Side.

While surgical and some other services at the UPMC Mercy South Side Outpatient Center will be moving elsewhere this summer, other clinical services will remain at the site for the time being.

That information was relayed at the April 10 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum by UPMC officials: UPMC South Side Outpatient Center President Mike Grace, Vice President of Operations Julie Hecker, and Vice President of Construction and Real Estate Eric Cartwright.

Mr. Grace said the building is not closing on July 1, as has been reported.

Instead, the most utilized services in the building – walk-in clinic, internal medicine physical practice, outpatient lab (Quest Diagnostics), outpatient radiology (x-ray), and outpatient rehabilitation -- will remain until a new, suitable site on the South Side can be found, and which will likely take a year or longer.

A potential location is 2030 Jane St., three blocks from the outpatient center at 2000 Mary St., and where UPMC already has a presence.

Mr. Grace said UPMC is committed to providing care in the South Side.

The services to be relocated this summer are: ambulatory surgery, to UPMC Mercy Main and UPMC Montefiore; gastroenterology procedure lab and pain procedure room, to UPMC Mercy Main; infusion services, to UPMC Magee; and physical medicine and rehabilitation physician office, to Kauffman Building, Oakland.

Mr. Grace said only nine percent of the surgery patients come from the South Side. There are no beds on site as it is 100 percent outpatient.

Currently, there are 370 total employees at the facility. Other opportunities will be offered, but the majority of decisions rest on final site plans yet to be determined.

To a question about the adjacent Roesch-Taylor Medical Building, 2100 Jane St., Mr. Grace said it is not in the relocation plans.

Mr. Cartwright said it and the outpatient center are viewed as two separate properties.

"Roesch-Taylor sort of stands on its own," he said.

The impetus for the changes is a building analysis which revealed that close to $30 million in repairs is needed to meet infrastructure standards for hospitals as building codes have changed over the years, Mr. Cartwright said.

As a result, the 200,000-square-feet building is being looked at as future office space, he said.

While that study is occurring, the feasibility of moving to 2030 Jane St. will also be researched.

Mr. Cartwright said the worst case would be that the building cannot work as office space. In that case, UPMC is committed to finding another use for the building, Mr. Grace said.

City Councilman Bruce Kraus said he and his office worked closely with Mr. Grace, sharing their concerns about two things: that services remain in the neighborhood, and that the building is reused for office space.

"If we can't use it we will actively market it," Mr. Cartwright said.

In other business, Tracy Myers, chair of the Development Review Committee (DRC), said the group did not meet last month.

In the South Side Neighborhood Plan update, chair Ms. Myers said forum members are reviewing the neighborhood plan to ensure that their respective organizations' responsibilities are being met. The plan is to review the assigned activities and, in May, to report back if there are changes.

The plan is available on the Brashear Association, South Side Chamber of Commerce, and the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA) websites.

A new focus will be looking at how the upcoming street construction aligns with the plan. The work includes an East Carson St. streetscaping project from Smithfield St. to 25th St., and city budgeting for pedestrian lighting, street lighting at unsignalized intersections, street trees and furnishings, benches in heavily-used areas, new trash cans, and more.

In announcements, Candice Gonzalez, of the Chamber of Commerce, reported that a free rock climbing event will be held at ASCEND Pittsburgh, 2141 Mary Street, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on April 25. Parking lot and on-street parking is available.

While it is a free event, courtesy of ASCEND Pittsburgh, donations of $5 or more are encouraged in support of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Climbers Coalition (SWPACC).

In news of Duquesne University, final exams are approaching, which equates to less student issues. The university did not receive any complaints regarding the St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Next, Rev. Kathy Hamilton-Vargo, of the South Side Presbyterian Church, 20th and Sarah streets, informed attendees the church will hold a flea market and food sale on May 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Next, Angela McAllister, from the office of state Rep. Jake Wheatley, Jr., reported that the representative's Community Appreciation Day will begin at noon on Aug. 18 in the Hill District. There will be food, games, and prizes. There will also be an uphill 5K race.

The following day, the Health Expo for African American Living (HEAL) will begin at 1 p.m. at the Warrington Recreation Center in Beltzhoover.

Forum member Barbara Rudiak commented that Duquesne University students do the first spring clean-up of the neighborhood. It was planned for April 14.

"We really appreciate what they do," she said. The university and businesses provide lunch.

Next, Mr. Kraus reported that the South Side Parking Enhancement District (PED) is generating close to $5,000 in revenue a weekend, which are its best numbers yet.

The PED -- the enforcement of South Side Flats parking meters from 6 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays – began March, 2017. The Flats became the first neighborhood to be designated a PED in the city.

The revenue from the South Side PED is in a trust fund to be invested back in the area. The money must go to public safety, cleanliness, and infrastructure improvements in the neighborhood.

In total, almost $200,000 was collected from March, 2017 to March, 2108.

Mr. Kraus said from those funds, an order was placed for a litter-eating machine for about $43,000 to be operated Saturday and Sunday mornings.

He will be meeting this week with public safety director Wendell Hissrich about purchasing high-resolution cameras, with their placement planned to fill in empty spaces. Attendees were encouraged to contact Mr. Kraus with suggestions for camera placement.

On another topic, an attendee commented she saw on Facebook that Uber and Lyft could only pick up passengers on secondary streets during the St. Patrick's Day celebration. Those passengers did not feel safe on those streets, the attendee said.

Mr. Kraus said Sidney and Sarah streets "were encouraged" by the event planning committee for use by Uber and Lyft.

Another attendee, who lives on Sarah St., said people standing in front of his house waiting for rides tossed garbage. The litter problem occurred wherever people waited for rides off Carson St., he said.

Mr. Kraus said he is not a fan of pushing services off main streets like Carson St., but the decision was made to try something new.

In other St. Patrick's Day news, Mr. Kraus said 640 people rode the free NiteRider shuttle. While it does not run every weekend, it might be activated for Cinco de Mayo on Saturday, May 5. New funding has been secured.

A First Ave. stop, popular on St. Patrick's Day, may be retained.

In news of the SSSNA, Earth Day Clean-up with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) will take place on April 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in South Side Park. Volunteers should gather at the Bandi Schaum Community Garden.

The new master plan for South Side Park will be unveiled on April 19 at the Arlington Recreation Center, 2201 Salisbury Street. Stop by anytime from 5 to 8 p.m.

The next SSSNA general meeting will be on May 8 at 7 p.m. in the Henry Kaufmann Center.

The next Planning Forum meeting will be on May 8.


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