Highmark surgery center approved in Monroeville
Monroeville Council voted 7-0 Tuesday night to approve Highmark's site plan for an ambulatory surgery center along Monroeville Boulevard.
Highmark officials plan to renovate the old Syms clothing store at 4121 Monroeville Blvd.
The 40,800-square-foot building — which is behind the Miracle Mile Shopping Center — will house a surgical center and medical offices less than a half-mile from the new UPMC East hospital and West Penn Allegheny‘s Forbes Regional Hospital.
Ambulatory surgery centers offer elective surgeries, such as joint replacements or plastic surgery, not emergency services.
The new outpatient center on Monroeville Boulevard will be one of several Highmark facilities planned to open in the region, including a medical mall in Wexford that will feature an outpatient surgery center and mix of medical offices and retail outlets.
“Highmark is developing an integrated delivery network,” Highmark spokesman Aaron Billger said. “The focus of that is both being a healthcare insurer and healthcare provider.”
Highmark is trying to acquire West Penn Allegheny to create a health system to compete against UPMC — the largest health system in Western Pennsylvania.
Next door to the planned medical facility in Monroeville is the Corporate One Office Park, where UPMC operates a Children‘s Express Care practice, a UPMC Behavioral Health office and a Magee Womancare Associates imaging center.
When asked if the location for Highmark's medical center was chosen to compete financially with UPMC, Billger said the decision was based on the number of Highmark members in the area.
“It's important for us to have a presence in Monroeville because we have a large membership base there,” Billger said.
A Highmark Direct store is located in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center, and a road connects the shopping center with the Corporate One Office Park.
“We have a very strong presence in Monroeville,” Billger said.
Monroeville Councilman Bernhard Erb was pleased to hear the new ambulatory and surgery center will — unlike the tax-exempt UPMC East hospital — generate real estate tax dollars for Monroeville.
In explaining the site plan at a Jan. 3 council meeting, zoning and code officer Mark Ciufo said,“this is a for-profit, ambulatory service,” which was music to Erb's ears.
“That's all I needed to know” Erb replied.
The Monroeville planning commission recommended council's approval of the project with an attached condition that a new sidewalk is built from Monroeville Boulevard to the front entrance of the building.
Monroeville officials also are requesting that a cross street connect the parking lots of Corporate One Office buildings and the ambulatory service, though it is not required, Ciufo said. The project is scheduled for two phases. The first phase is scheduled for completion by mid-to-late 2013, Billger said.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.