- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

PLEASANT HILLS, Pa. (AP) - University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has announced plans to build a hospital less than a mile from rival Allegheny Health Network’s Jefferson Hospital in western Pennsylvania.

UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps said the 300,000-square-foot facility will “serve patients closer to home,” and is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the region. She said the plan shows a commitment to investing in the region’s communities.

But Allegheny Health Network officials said the proposal would duplicate services and drive up the cost of health care. Spokesman Dan Laurent said the move shows UPMC’s “ongoing drive to monopolize the market at the expense of other providers.”

“It’s a predatory action,” Laurent said. “The clear intent here is to weaken Jefferson and the other independent hospitals that serve the community.”

A subsidiary of UPMC is challenging Pleasant Hills’ zoning code to build a hospital on about 80 acres in the borough. The municipality’s zoning of the tract does not specifically include hospitals, Jim Rush, a building code official, told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1Tcy6Nq ).

The borough’s zoning board will discuss it during a public hearing Tuesday.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, https://www.post-gazette.com

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