Excela Health rallies its workers to protest Post Acute Medical's proposed 40-bed rehabilitation hospital
Excela Health is mobilizing its employees to pressure Unity officials to reject plans for a 40-bed rehabilitation hospital that would compete with Excela's operations in Latrobe and Unity.
“We've decided we're going to fight this no matter what the outcome,” said Jennifer Miele, vice president of marketing and public relations about the center proposed by Post Acute Medical LLC of Harrisburg. “We're going to go head-to-head with them.”
A letter-writing campaign is directed at the township board of supervisors and planning commission, Latrobe City Council, county commissioners and Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield.
Excela officials held “town hall” meetings on Thursday with employees at its facilities in Greensburg, Latrobe, Mt. Pleasant and North Huntingdon to gather signatures for the letters.
Excela points out in the letters that Post Acute Medical is a private company, “which means profits will leave Unity Township.” Another rehabilitation center in the township will duplicate Excela's services and drive up health care costs, including premiums that employers pay for coverage, the letters state.
The location of a competing facility will threaten the jobs of 70 Excela employees at a time when the hospital system is planning to build an outpatient center in Unity, according to officials.
“We pose no threat,” said Anthony Misitano, CEO of Post Acute Medical.
The company wants to buy a 6.9-acre site from developer Donald Paulone at the intersection of Route 30 and Grayhawk Drive to build the $20 million facility. Excela also has plans to build an outpatient center off Route 30.
The Unity Planning Commission gave preliminary approval to Post Acute Medical to build the facility. The board of supervisors must give final approval.
Ron Ott, senior vice president of community and government relations at Excela, questions the company's claim of a need for an additional 58 beds when Excela's 16-bed rehabilitation unit isn't always filled.
“We don't see it. We see our numbers struggling as it is,” Ott said. “Having another competitor in the market will impact us, obviously. We're very concerned that there's even a need in this area. Our desire is just to stop this.”
Dr. Stacy Gillespie, who directs the rehabilitation unit at Latrobe, questions whether Post Acute Medical will be able to attract referrals from area nursing homes because of the existing competition for patients.
But Misitano said his firm's studies indicate it is “absolutely clear the area could support additional rehab beds.”
Misitano said he recently met with Excela officials and offered the health system part-ownership in the proposed hospital.
“I'm really disappointed they would try to basically interfere with our potential project,” Misitano said. “I stress the word ‘interfere.' ”
Misitano said Unity officials have no legal reason to weigh the need for more beds as part of their decision whether to approve the building plan.
A number of outpatient rehab centers operate in Westmoreland County. In addition to private physical therapy groups, UPMC operates rehab centers in Belle Vernon, Delmont, Latrobe and Hempfield.
Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at 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.
- Former Steelers LB Haggans to do time in Westmoreland jail
- Brownsville pair allegedly embezzle from law firm
- Westmoreland County Prison visitation goes digital
- New Year’s Eve sales set LCB record
- Veterans Court in session in Westmoreland for first time
- Ligonier planners recommend approval of restaurant proposal
- Greensburg YMCA plans to restore front porch to 1913 look
- Hempfield votes to fill public works job with interim director Cisco
- Delmont man blogs about industrial history of region, exploring long-cold coke ovens
- Youngwood officials to submit drawings to state agency that orders playground work stoppage
- PennDOT has to complete acquisition of 4 parcels, take down trees for New Stanton interchange on I-70