Union member wary

As the biggest employer in the state and now a major employer in Altoona, UPMC will play a significant role in determining whether we have good jobs and access to affordable healthcare in our community (regarding the July 10 article, “Town Hall meeting raises concerns.”)

I attended the long overdue city-sponsored Town Hall meeting recently (July 9) and share, with others, concerns that UPMC will make people in Blair and surrounding counties pay more for our health care, or charge out-of-network rates for those who have Highmark if they need to see a doctor in Altoona or another UPMC facility.

It was a relief to hear that the attorney general has agreed to monitor this.

I also saw on the news that UPMC said it cannot make any guarantees that everyone gets to keep their jobs at UPMC Altoona because of all the changes going on in health care today.

This worries me as well because Altoona Hospital nurses and other employees are committed to quality care, high standards and safe staffing at our hospital.

Our union, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, is ready to work with UPMC management to ensure front-line caregivers have a real voice in patient care and that good jobs are protected.

The nurses at Altoona are skilled, caring and professional caregivers, and we are also dedicated patient advocates. You can count on us to stand up for principles that prioritize quality, affordable care.

Last month, more than 3,000 community members signed a petition asking UPMC for transparency and to stick to its promises.

Now, we need to stay involved and expect quality healthcare, affordable access and good jobs to be UPMC Altoona’s top priority.

Teresa Kozak, RN