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Union raises concerns over UPMC takeover of Pennsylvania health system

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania workers voiced concerns that a proposed merger between Pittsburgh-based UPMC and Washington (Pa.) Health System would harm patients and workers, Observer-Reporter Oct. 5.

The boards of Washington Health System and UPMC signed a letter of intent to explore mergers in June. Opponents of the merger suggested that the merger will result in higher costs and a reduction in services.

The union called on the state's attorney general and the FTC to review the merger.

"We do notice that when big hospital systems start to consolidate and acquire local hospitals, there are changes that happen in these local communities, and we are encouraging community involvement, having some sort of community review of these hospital consolidations," Erin Gabriel, government affairs representative for Pennsylvania Health Access Network, said at a press conference with unions representatives. "A merger or acquisition in ownership is one of the best predictors that a community will experience a full or partial closure. In fact, according to our data, of hospitals that are involved in a merger, change of ownership or acquisition, one in three will close."

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