Future closure of Lancaster hospital sparks concern in community

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In three short months, we will no longer hear emergency sirens coming in and out of UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster, but some Lancaster County residents say that doesn’t mean there is no emergency.

“I became really concerned and so did other community members, because we are in need of more health care services, not less," said Tammy Rojas, Lancaster resident and co-coordinator of the Lancaster Healthcare Rights Committee.

The hospital announced it will close its Lancaster campus in March, and residents like Rojas are worried about what that will mean for the city.

“What’s gonna happen when this hospital closes? There’s going to be jobs lost. There’s gonna be healthcare services that will be lost, which could lead to job loss. Job loss can lead to homelessness. Homelessness can lead to a rise in poverty,” said Rojas.

Bob May, executive director with Lancaster EMS is also concerned for the community.

The hospital’s closure will make Lancaster General Hospital the only hospital in the city.

That hospital is already extremely busy, he says, which could mean slower service not only for patients, but for those waiting for assistance in the county.

“We drop the patient off, and we give report to the receiving staff and we have to get back on the road. If we have to wait to give that information to the receiving staff, it could delay us getting back out on the streets,” said May.

He says they respond to a call every 87 minutes from their station in the hospital, which makes it the busiest ambulance in the county by far.

“It’s imperative for us to keep a 911 base of operations in the northwest quadrant of the city. That’s important to us. That’s important to the community. And the fact that it’s the busiest truck, that speaks for itself as far as the need for it,” said May.

A statement from UPMC explains they plan to transition services from the Lancaster campus to the Lititz campus.

They also say they plan to maintain a strong outpatient presence in the city for primary care and several specialty services.

The closure leaves the county with three hospitals— Lancaster General Hospital and UPMC Pinnacle Lititz, as we mentioned before, along with Wellspan Ephrata.

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