150 people lose jobs as UPMC Pinnacle hospital closes in Lancaster |

150 people lose jobs as UPMC Pinnacle hospital closes in Lancaster

Natasha Lindstrom
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The UPMC sign sits atop the U.S. Steel Tower in Downtown Pittsburgh.

About 150 employees are losing their jobs with UPMC this month as the Pittsburgh-based health care giant closes a hospital in Lancaster.

UPMC Pinnacle, a 185-bed hospital in Lancaster city, stopped taking new patient admissions from physicians on Friday.

Scheduled surgeries and procedures and emergency room referrals will continue as needed through 7 a.m. Feb. 28, when remaining inpatients will be transferred about seven miles away to UPMC Pinnacle Lititz, a more up-to-date, 150-bed hospital that UPMC plans to expand.

“During the transition, patient safety and access are our top priorities, and we are committed to completing these final steps without interrupting patient care,” Philip Guarneschelli, president and CEO of UPMC Pinnacle, said Friday in a statement.

The bulk of the shuttering hospital’s employees — about 355 people — will remain employed by UPMC, according to state filings and statements from officials.

Roughly 70 percent of people whose positions are being eliminated as a result of the closure have been hired into positions at the nearby UPMC Lilitz hospital or otherwise within UPMC’s network, UPMC spokeswoman Kelly McCall said.

“As our human resources team continues to meet individually with employees, that number could increase,” McCall said by email.

About 25 percent of employees accepted what Guarneschelli called “generous severance” packages, and the remaining 5 percent either already have left or plan to leave UPMC.

Ambulances will stop bringing emergency patients to UPMC Pinnacle in Lancaster next week, and instead take them to the nearby UPMC Pinnacle Lititz or Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. Alternative health care options include College Avenue Family Medicine Practice, UPMC outpatient center on Manheim Pike in Lancaster and 10 UPMC primary care practices in the region accepting new patients, Guarneschelli said.

At Lititz, UPMC will add providers specializing in obstetrics and gynecology and orthopedics, expand oncology treatment space and cancer services, add lab resources and, if approved by the state, establish a new electrophysiology cardiac program.

“With these steps, we are helping ensure the continued availability of high-quality clinical care in the Lancaster community,” Guarneschelli said. “The former St. Joe’s Hospital has been an icon in Lancaster, representing the spirit of compassion and helping others. That spirit of caring is moving to a newer, state-of-art facility in Lititz.”

UPMC’s provider arm spans 40 hospitals, 600 doctors’ and outpatient offices and more than 85,000 employees, making UPMC Pennsylvania’s largest employer outside the government. More than 4,800 doctors are employed by UPMC and more than 5,800 are affiliated with it.

It’s also Western Pennsylvania’s largest health insurer, with about 3.4 million members.

Like Pittsburgh-based rival, Allegheny Health Network, UPMC is moving on ambitious expansion plans statewide.

Nearly $650 million in capital expenditures in the first nine months of 2018 included major construction projects at UPMC hospitals and facilities in Jameson, Susquehanna and Ebensburg.

Last month, UPMC merged with Somerset Hospital, now UPMC Somerset, a partnership sweetened by a pledge by UPMC to invest at least $45 million in upgrades and expanding services there.

Last year, UPMC announced a $2 billion investment in three new Pittsburgh specialty hospital additions targeted for completion over the next five years. The “hospitals within a hospital” will be built on the campuses of UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland, UPMC Mercy in Uptown and UPMC Shadyside. Mercy will be the first hospital to to break ground this spring.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.