Somerset Hospital officially named UPMC Somerset

February 2, 2019 GMT

Pittsburgh medicine is officially a part of the Somerset community.

The former Somerset Hospital was renamed UPMC Somerset during a ceremony Friday, becoming part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center health network.

“Good morning, everyone. Welcome to UPMC Somerset,” hospital President Andy Rush said at the start of the event, which garnered applause from a crowd of hundreds.

The crowd gathered in a heated tent in the Wheeler Family Medical Center parking lot as snow fell outside. Speakers included Rush, hospital board President Krista Mathias, Dr. Mark Yaros and UPMC Health Services Division Chief Operating Officer Leslie Davis.

Davis, who is responsible for overseeing 42 hospitals in Pennsylvania and New York, said that in Somerset, possibly a dozen physicians will be added over the next few years. She said patients should expect to see technology advancements, including electronic medical records and telemedicine.

For the time being, she said, all insurers will be accepted at the hospital with employees transitioning to UPMC coverage this summer.

“I’m most excited about the community. They have such a nice culture here,” she said. “And to create something larger for this community.”

In November, an agreement was reached to integrate the hospital with the health network. UPMC has agreed to invest $45 million during the next 10 years for services and upgrades at the hospital. The hospital had a budget of about $65 million in 2016, according to its tax Form 990.

Mathias, who is also the Somerset Area School District superintendent, said she is most excited about the prospect of bringing jobs to the area.

When asked about the possibility of the hospital’s maternity ward returning in light of the partnership, she responded in a text, “That has not been discussed as of now.”

Somerset Hospital closed its obstetrical unit in 2016, citing an inability to recruit board-certified obstetricians.

Rush, who took over as Somerset Hospital CEO in May and is now UPMC Somerset president, said that a new primary care center will be added, new technology will allow for better communication with Pittsburgh, and improvements will be made in drug and alcohol treatment programs.

He said the primary care will include enhancements to programs seniors benefit from, including neurology, rheumatology and endocrinology.

“I think just joining a world-class organization,” he said when asked what he’s excited about. “World-class care — innovative care.”

The hospital turned 98 years old Thursday. Rush said the plan is to be UPMC affiliated for many years to come.

“Hopefully forever,” he said. “I’m quite confident in that.”