UPMC East Had a 'Great First Year;' Forbes Regional Numbers Dip

Jul 2, 2013

Last July, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center opened a $250 million dollar, 156-bed hospital in Monroeville.

A year in, Mark Sevco, UPMC’s East President said they have had “a great first year.”

They are seeing more than a hundred patients a day in the emergency department, operating at 75 percent capacity.

“We were expecting 65 patients a day, and we’re at about 115," Sevco said. "And from a surgical perspective, we’re 50 percent over our budget projections."

The center's busiest department is the surgical department, which is doing lots of replacement procedures for knees and hips.

Less than a mile up the road there was already an established hospital — Forbes Regional, run by the West Penn Allegheny Health System, UPMC’s rival. West Penn Allegheny Health System is being purchased by Highmark and will become Allegheny Health Network.

Devco said they did not open the hospital to compete with Forbes Regional, but they wanted to provide a place for UPMC clients in the East to get care.

“We really decompressed our inner-city hospitals, in particular UPMC Shadyside because that facility was at full capacity on a regular basis," Sevco said. "And when we looked at the patients, many patients were driving from the East to that facility."

He said since UPMC East opened, at UPMC Shadyside there are about 15 fewer patients a day.

Up the road, Reese Jackson, president and CEO of Forbes Regional Hospital, said as they expected, their numbers have gone down.

“We knew that the community would have another alternative, particularly for patients who frequent emergency rooms and we have seen a drop in emergency room volume and that does have an associated effect on inpatient volume,” he said.  

Prior to last year, Forbes Regional got 50,000 visits to the emergency room department a year. People came for traditional emergency care as well as labor and delivery and care in the psychiatric unit. Jackson said they’ve lost about 12 percent of their patient population. It’s less than they expected. 

But Jackson said he isn’t really worried about volume.

“The future of healthcare may be less inpatient oriented to begin with," he said. "So all hospitals have to be thinking about their paradigm, not just those that have the new hospital less than a mile away in a suburb.”