In the early 20th century, shortly after Bell Telephone and AT&T decided to provide telephone service, the Pennsylvania Legislature through its Public Utility Commission, made a bargain with the phone company. In return for what would essentially would be a telephone monopoly in most the Commonwealth, especially in the large cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Bell of Pennsylvania and AT&T agreed to provide identical telephone service to any residential or commercial customer in the state for the same tariff, regardless of where they lived. That agreement ensured that anyone in Pennsylvania would have a decent telephone if they wanted one. In 1998, a similar arrangement was made between the board of The Bedford Memorial Hospital and UPMC. The Pittsburgh-based behemoth agreed to continue the same services that Bedford Memorial provided, including a well-staffed and equipped maternity ward. Last month, UPMC Bedford broke that promise by press-release. Not one expectant mother under the care by a UPMC Bedford physician was told of this dramatic change. In addition to being morally reprehensible, UPMC Bedford permanently broke a sacred trust with the residents of Bedford County.
One week later, the print and television news reported that UPMC Bedford was involved in the extraordinarily offensive practice of photographing their patients without their permission…..and less than one week after that, UPMC Bedford announced that they would discontinue their vitally need dialysis service.
Bedford County’s citizens have supported this hospital with their time and treasure for decades. It’s become evident that UPMC Bedford has no intention of living up to their promise of health care to this community. The “Boss Department” of UPMC has been totally silent on the matter. In fact, comments on the change requested by the media have been totally ignored. Perhaps it is time for UPMC to adopt a new marketing slogan;
“UPMC Bedford, where we place profits above service.”
Lloyd Bankson Roach
19 October 2017