BRADDOCK (KDKA)– An array of county and local officials had good news for the people of Braddock and surrounding communities as they announced that a new urgent care center will be part of the development at the site of the former hospital.

“I have to check the calendar because I thought it was Easter, but it’s actually Christmas,” says Braddock Mayor John Fetterman.

The gift, a MedExpress urgent care facility, is to be partially financed by Highmark.

And it will be the first tenant in a new building constructed on the site of the old UPMC Braddock hospital.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says the overall project has been in the works since before he took office.

“We need to thank Highmark and MedExpress for really coming to the rescue, coming to the community in the time of need,” he says.

MedExpress will offer a level of emergency care from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. right along Braddock Avenue.

MedExpress spokesman John Tramontina noted the urgent care facility is positioned to handle many illnesses.

“We’re able to see people with all kinds of illnesses and injuries. We can do minor surgeries in our centers. We can take care of broken bones, lacerations, stitches, sports physicals.”

Local residents remember the closure of Braddock’s Hospital and said it was tough on the community.

“Yes, it was because a lot of people don’t have transportation to get to the other hospitals,” says Reggie Poston of Rankin.

And while MedExpress is not a hospital, it will help.

Mickey Thomas of Braddock says “We’re going to get something here, and that’s a blessing. It really is.”

Officials say UPMC rebuffed efforts to open their own urgent care facility here, leaving the door open for Highmark to partner with MedExpress.

“Our relationship is one with MedExpress is one, yes, we could provide it, but they’re experts. Their model is one that can be put in place very quickly,” says Deborah Rice, Highmark’s executive vice president of health services.

While this won’t be an old-fashioned emergency room, MedExpress will offer medical services that folks in this valley have not had since 2009.

If all goes according to plan, MedExpress’ doors will open in the summer of 2013.

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