City postpones vote on $2B UPMC hospital expansion plan amid protests

The Pittsburgh City Council on July 24 postponed a vote on Pittsburgh-based UPMC's $2 billion expansion plan until next week, according to Trib Live.

Here are four things to know:

1. Hundreds of protesters gathered July 17 at a public city council hearing on UPMC's proposed plan to a create a trio of specialty hospitals. They called on the council to reject the plan until the health system guaranteed all city residents access to healthcare, the right for UPMC employees to form a union, and a minimum wage of $15 per hour or higher for employees, among other demands, according to the report.

2. The councilman who requested the postponement told Trib Live he is working with UPMC officials to come to an agreement. The council rescheduled the vote for July 31.

3. UPMC announced its intent to build the trio of hospitals in November 2017. The health system also plans to work with Microsoft on the facilities' construction. UPMC officials said at the time of the announcement that they aim to open UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital in 2020 and UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital in 2022. It is unclear when construction will be completed on the third facility, the UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital.

4. Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto weighed in on the debate for the first time July 24, stating he supports UPMC's expansion plan.

"I support plans for the new Mercy Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital because of the world-class and unparalleled vision and therapeutic services it will provide critically ill patients, and the transformative effect it will have on Uptown and the Hill District," he said, adding the plan would also create "good union jobs for local residents."

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