PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Headquartered in the city’s biggest building, UPMC is by far the largest employer in the region, the largest property owner in Allegheny County — and, says Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, the biggest tax scofflaw.
“It’s very clear to me that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is not an institution of purely public charity,” declared Ravenstahl at a Wednesday morning press conference.
Ravenstahl charged UPMC has falsely claimed tax exempt status when, in fact, it operates with a profit motive — and does much less for the community than it should as a tax-exempt charity.
So, the city is asking the Court of Common Pleas to declare that UPMC does not meet the five-prong requirements, often called the HUP Test.
“When they had revenues of over $5.7 billion, to give less than two percent back to the community is in my mind a clear failure of meeting one of the prongs of that HUP test,” said the mayor.
The mayor says the medical giant’s actions demonstrate it cares more about profit than the poor.
“They’ve closed hospitals in poor and poorly served communities, one of which is in the City of Pittsburgh, South Side,” he said.
Ravenstahl’s attack on UPMC’s charitable status brought a swift response.
“We easily meet all five criteria for our tax-exempt status,” said UPMC spokesman Paul Wood. “There’s no question.”
Wood says the mayor is off on UPMC’s donations.
“We contributed last year $622 million in charity care and other charitable contributions to organizations in the city, Allegheny County, and around the region,” Wood added.