West Penn Hospital Closes Emergency Room

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The New Year will start without West Penn Hospital’s emergency room as the department stopped admitting patients and closed its doors for good this morning.

It happened right on schedule at 10:05 a.m., signs for the emergency room were covered or torn down.

It’s been six months coming, but now several inpatient services are officially closed.

For the staff, it was hard to say good-bye. Gifts were sent to the ER for their last day.

Mike Hazel is a nurse in the emergency department and says the whole process of closing the units hasn’t been easy.

“It’s been rough six months of everybody interviewing for the same jobs,” said Hazel. “It’s tough; you’ve got to come to work every morning knowing that you are going on an interview against your coworker.”

Some services will stay at West Penn, like out-patient surgery and diagnostic services. However, many other in-patient services are now gone. It’s part of a restructuring plan announced in June between West Penn and Allegheny General Hospital.

“We understand that there is some anxiety,” said Dan Laurent, of West Penn Allegheny Health System. “This was a difficult decision for us it’s a difficult decision for the community.”

Anthony Brown took his 4-year-old the ER at West Penn on Christmas day for burns. He says the community depends on the emergency services and he’s sad to see them close.

“He really needed treatment real fast and this was the closest area to go to,” said Brown.

For much of the staff, they’ve already found new jobs and they’re trying to be optimistic about the future.

“We’re all sad,” said Kim Reichle, the ER’s clinical coordinator. “We’re all cleaning and sad. We’re going to have a toast at 10 o’clock. It is New Year’s, new beginnings, so we’re going to move on.”

The initial estimate was around 1,500 people would lose their jobs because of the restructuring. While it doesn’t make it any easier, that number has dropped significantly.

A representative from the West Penn Allegheny Health System puts the job loss around 200 to 300 people.


One Comment

  1. what about our lives? says:

    what a shame.. crime rate is going up.. hospitals are shutting down…

  2. kathy says:

    Agree this is a total shame both for the city and for the many loyal talented professionals of the Bloomfield facility.

  3. WOW says:


    1. Bill Rucci says:

      Its called UPMC Shadyside, about a half a mile from closed West Penn. Get a grip.

  4. Amie P. says:

    This reeks of UPMC dirty dealings and becoming a monopoly, dont try to tell me they had nothing to do with this.

    1. Bill Rucci says:

      YO Annie, UPMC has nothing to do with this. Its the economic climate and something called PROFIT. There may be too many hospitals in the Pittsburgh area. Get a grip.

  5. Annoyed says:

    Yeah it’s not a problem if you have UPMC or Highmark insurance because NEWSFLASH, UPMC only takes those two types of insurance. So those of us who have United Healthcare, Aetna, Health America, and etc….we can’t go there! You can get a grip! It’s easy to be ignorant when you have no clue what you’re talking about. Maybe if UPMC cared about actual patient needs and not profit they would be in network with more than TWO insurance companies…one which they own by the way. They are a non profit organization that is being run like a for profit business. Maybe if they paid some taxes into the city and county they reside in they wouldn’t have so much money to toss around. Did anyone forget UPMC just closed Braddock hospital recently? UPMC Braddock had the only restaurant that served hot meals and the only ATM machine in the entire community. But UPMC doesn’t care about people…only money, which is both evident and truly sad.

  6. CK RN CNN WPH says:

    Bill Rucci who r u employed by???
    R U in the unemployment line???

  7. Bill Rucci says:

    TRUE emergency , you can go to ANY closet emergency room . Read your policy. You have NO idea what your talking about. Hospial NOT a restraunt. Stop being foolish and ignorant. This is AMERICA !!!!

  8. Bill Rucci says:

    NEWSFLASH, just like WestPenn Allegheny, UPMC committs a LOT of greatness to the community. A lot goes unannounced to the general public. You need to check yourself, and STOP being emotional about all of this. There are lot of other hospitals in the area to serve the patients. Maybe still too many ??

  9. Bill Rucci says:

    ANNOYED, please stop talking about things you dont really know about. Your showing your intelligence level. Your being emotional and your NOT really looking at the overall picture.

  10. Bill Rucci says:

    CK WPH (and about six more scary initials). Its really not your business If and who I am employed . Has NOTHING to do with my comments and you need to check yourself. Another one with Too many initals and not enough common sense. I suppose cause your a nurse ,YOU know it all, Right ??? I could tell you ALOT about nurses.

  11. Reba R. says:

    Bill, you might be heard a lot clearer if you toned down that obvious aggression. No need to tell people voicing their opinions to “Get a Grip” or “Newsflash”. You’re coming off rather harshly.

  12. bill rucci says:

    Read the other commemts besides mine, obviously you didnt.

  13. Kristin says:

    If you are looking to help anyone in Health Care find gainful employment, please direct them to http://www.leeway.jobs. Its sunny and 80 degrees here! And we have an award-winning health care system!

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Play It
Get The All New CBS Local App

Watch & Listen LIVE