Marchers call on UPMC to do more for the public

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Chanting slogans such as, "UPMC, you are not a charity," a coalition of groups this morning protested the practices of the health-care giant.

The coalition, which includes groups such as the Pittsburgh Interfaith Inpact Network and Pittsburghers for Public Transit, has started a campaign called "Make it our UPMC."

The group, which had more than 100 members march from UPMC headquarters in the U.S. Steel Building to the City County Building and the Allegheny County Courthouse this morning, charges that UPMC takes in too much revenue to be considered a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization.

UPMC claims it provides millions in free care and is the primary sponsor of the Pittsburgh Promise college scholarship program.

The Rev. David Thornton of PINN said that is not enough at a time when millions have been cut from public transportation and education in recent years.

"UPMC can certainly contribute more of their fair share to make up for some of those shortfalls," he said.

Molly Nichols of PPT said the group's slogan, "Make it our UPMC," is a call for the hospital system to do more for the public.

"If it claims to be a community hospital, it has to act like one," she said.

Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials say they are looking at all tax-exempt property to make sure it is being used for charitable purposes.

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Ed Blazina: eblazina@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1470.


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