This is the third in a three-part series looking at UPMC’s tax-exempt status.
A look at some misconceptions about UPMC's tax-exempt status:
UPMC has offices in
the most expensive real estate in downtown Pittsburgh.
FACT: At the
urging of Mayor Ravenstahl, UPMC moved its headquarters to U.S Steel Tower in
2008 to support the revitalization of downtown. The high vacancy rate in the
building at that time provided us with the opportunity to rent space for far
less than we were paying in Oakland and at very attractive rates compared to
other sites in this area. By moving here versus building our own suburban
campus, we pay a share of the real estate taxes on the U.S. Steel Tower. This
move also freed up space in congested Oakland for use by our clinicians and
UPMC closed Braddock
Hospital in a poor community and opened UPMC East in wealthier Monroeville,
proving that it is not acting as a true charity.
was closed NOT because it was located in a depressed area. UPMC Braddock was
closed because most of the citizens in the area chose not to go to there,
electing instead to go to other facilities, notably UPMC Shadyside. UPMC worked
for 10 years to make Braddock a viable hospital, but by the time of its closure
occupancy had been reduced to less than 50 percent, an
unsustainable situation for maintaining high-quality care.
We continue to provide primary care and other much-needed
services to the community, prepared the former hospital site for redevelopment
by the county, and donated $3 million in additional funds. UPMC still provides
care to three-quarters of the low income patients in Allegheny County, far more
than any other provider.
The decision to build UPMC East was unrelated to Braddock.
It was an effort to serve the needs of patients in the eastern suburbs, many of
whom were leaving their communities to come to our hospitals in Oakland and
Shadyside. UPMC East now operates near capacity every day, validating our decision
to build this facility to better serve our patients.
Although UPMC has
“payment in lieu of taxes” or PILOT programs in place for cities like Erie and South Fayette, it refuses to
talk to the city of Pittsburgh about such an agreement.
FACT: It was UPMC
in the early ‘90s that initiated the first PILOT program for the city of
Pittsburgh. That was later followed by the Pittsburgh Public Service Fund, in
which UPMC was one of the primary contributors among local nonprofits until
pledging $100 million to the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship fund. UPMC has never been approached by the mayor
about negotiating a new PILOT agreement.