Although area residents, union members and community activists spoke out against the project, the Pittsburgh City Council approved Pittsburgh-based UPMC’s proposal for a $400 million expansion, according to a Tribune Review report.
Thirty-seven people spoke in opposition of UPMC’s plan to expand its Mercy complex in Pittsburgh during a discordant meeting July 31 that lasted more than five hours. The critics demanded the hospital giant allow employees to unionize, pay more in wages and accept all patients, including ones without insurance.
Despite objection, the city council approved the project in a 7-2 vote after a councilman negotiated with the hospital giant. In the negotiations, UPMC agreed to provide an addiction clinic, mental health services and job opportunities for minorities as it moves forward with its construction plans.
The $400 million project is part of a $2 billion systemwide expansion UPMC announced last year. Plans for UPMC Mercy hospital call for a vision and rehabilitation hospital that has a specialty research and treatment center for eye ailments.
“We look forward to moving ahead with construction of the UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital at UPMC Mercy and continuing our work on initiatives to benefit the Uptown and Hill District neighborhoods and residents,” Paul Wood, a UPMC spokesperson told the Tribune Review.