New Memorial Hospital on track for August opening, setting stage for more competition in York

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

WellSpan, which has dominated the region as York County's primary hospital, will face fresh competition when the new University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Memorial Hospital opens its doors Aug. 18.

UPMC recently bought up several local hospitals throughout south-central Pennsylvania, causing some experts and advocates to raise alarms about the potential for monopolization of health care in those areas. 

Construction at the new UPMC Memorial Hospital in West Manchester Township is on track for the projected August opening.
Thursday, May 29, 2019
John A. Pavoncello photo

But not so in York, says at least one health care policy expert. 

"Having a second strong competition in the region will cause both (hospitals) to raise the bar," said Diane Hess, executive director of the Lancaster-based Central Penn Business Group on Health.

Hess was among those scrutinizing UPMC's consolidation efforts over the past few years. 

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As in York, a single hospital, Lancaster General Health, has dominated Lancaster's market, Hess said. Now, it, too, faces increased competition — from UPMC's Pinnacle Lititz, which UPMC acquired in 2017.  

In York County, the new Memorial Hospital, at 1701 Innovation Drive, is on schedule for its planned opening in August, said UPMC spokeswoman Kelly McCall.

One week prior to the new opening of Memorial Hospital, all elective surgeries —  which are not classified as an emergency — will come to a stop, said McCall. 

The emergency room at the old Memorial Hospital will remain open for a period during the transition, she said. Patients who come in to be treated at the old Memorial Hospital emergency room will then be transferred to the new hospital. 

As of right now, McCall said, it's unclear when staff will begin transferring hospitalized patients to the new hospital. That all depends on the number of patients residing in the old hospital — a number that is constantly fluctuating. 

Starting Aug. 18, patients will be allowed to occupy the new hospital. The Outpatient Center will open Aug. 19.

Currently, construction workers are in the midst of finishing the interior, such as operating rooms, according to McCall.

The old Memorial Hospital facility was outdated, she said, and offered few options for modernization. 

"The new design offers the opportunity to incorporate the best patient-centered technology for diagnosis, treatment and comfortable recovery," she said.

Construction for the new UPMC Memorial Hospital began in May 2016. 

Across 127 acres, the new hospital will house 102 private rooms, 24 long-term acute care beds and three heart catheterization labs, among other things, according to a news release. 

WellSpan spokesman Ryan Coyle declined comment when asked about its coming competitor. Instead, WellSpan remains focused on providing top-notch care to York County residents, he said. 

For her part, Hess said the competition for patients can only benefit those shopping for medical care in York County.

— Reach Tina Locurto at or on Twitter at  @tina_locurto.