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UPMC Agrees to Expand Access to Care after Closure of UPMC Braddock

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at HHS today announced an agreement today with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in an effort to resolve a complaint alleging that it violated provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when UPMC decided to close Braddock Hospital in January of this year.  Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin by recipients of Federal financial assistance such as UPMC, which receives funds from HHS.

Public response to the closure of UPMC Braddock focused on the closure’s impact on access to healthcare for African Americans due in part to residents’ widespread dependence on public transportation.  Indirect bus routes requiring multiple connections could result in long transport times to the various other neighboring hospitals.  Accordingly, the agreement requires UPMC to provide door-to-door transportation services from Braddock and surrounding communities to its new outpatient facilities in Forest Hills, Pennsylvania as well as to UPMC McKeesport Hospital.  Under the agreement, UPMC will also provide support for primary and urgent care services in the borough of Braddock, PA and neighboring communities through expanded hours and services at the Braddock Family Health Center.  In addition, the agreement provides for UPMC to provide up to six health screening programs throughout the year in the community.  Further, UPMC will support wellness programs through its “Steps to a Healthy Community” initiative, and by partnering with health ministries at local churches in the area.  Through this program, UPMC will conduct outreach in the community and help link residents with health resources and appropriate providers.   UPMC will also designate a patient ombudsperson to assist residents with obtaining health care and receive and address residents’ complaints about access to health care.  The agreement remains in effect for three years, and requires UPMC to make quarterly reports to OCR regarding compliance. Click here to read the HHS Press Release 

For a copy of the voluntary resolution agreement, along with more information about OCR’s civil rights enforcement activities.