Turned off by UPMC

I’d like to thank the Altoona City Council for holding the Town Hall meeting for the public concerning UPMC’s purchase of Altoona Regional Health System (“Town hall meeting raises concerns,” July 10).

It was offensive that no one from UPMC management or the new board attended to meet community members and answer questions.

Is this how it is going to be, moving forward?

Many people have ongoing concerns about their Highmark insurance and I share that concern.

However, my main issue was UPMC’s disregard for the public. I think we can all agree that there was little to no transparency in the Altoona Regional takeover process.

When our region’s primary hospital changes ownership, it affects all of us and the future of our healthcare services.

We should have been invited earlier in the process to speak our opinions and voice our concerns. As I read in the Altoona Mirror (“AG won’t object to UPMC takeover,” July 3), the attorney general agrees the situation needs monitoring, pointing out that “the public, in a sense, paid for the hospitals in the Altoona area through their charitable donations and the tax breaks those facilities received.”

Will the new board of UPMC Altoona improve the lines of communication and involve the public in a meaningful way?

The participation from the public at the Town Hall meeting, in my opinion, showed how much we care about what happens to a major community asset.

We are paying attention and we will continue to speak up for what’s best for the community.

Gloria Bender