By Cristina Holtzer

Northside residents seeking long-term hospital care will soon need to travel an extra five miles to South Jackson Avenue after Kindred Hospital, 1004 Arch St., closes at the end of the summer.

LifeCare Hospitals of Pittsburgh recently announced its upcoming acquisition of Kindred Hospital Pittsburgh Northside location. The purchase, announced on May 30 in a LifeCare Hospitals release, will close at the end of the summer. The closing date is yet to be determined according to Kim Sperring, CEO of LifeCare Hospitals of Pittsburgh.

The Kindred Northside location is no longer accepting new patients, but LifeCare’s other locations on South Jackson Avenue—located five miles from Kindred— Penn Avenue, Natrona Heights and McGinley Road in Monroeville are open to city residents seeking long-term acute hospital care.

Long-term acute care usually includes hospital stays of between 25 and 30 days for patients with multiple diagnoses, chronic illness or “significant loss of independence,” according to Kindred Hospital’s website.

LifeCare, like Kindred Hospitals, will offer nursing care to “individuals with tracheotomies, patients with non-healing wounds and those with multiple diagnoses.”

“As the leading provider of post-acute care services in the Pittsburgh area, acquiring the [Northside] operation and serving that area of the community provided a natural opportunity for us to serve an even greater patient base,” Sperring said in an email.

Sperring said LifeCare “does not plan to operate a hospital at the [Allegheny Commons] location” and that plans for the building after the deal closes still need to be determined.

LifeCare, Sperring said, has no part in what happens to Kindred employees at the Northside location after the acquisition, but did say that she hopes LifeCare can “grow” their services and “that growth will likely require an increase in our workforce at some point.”

“Kindred is in the process of closing the hospital, and it is our understanding they have provided WARN act letters to all employees of the [Northside] hospital,” Sperring said.

The closure of the Kindred Northside hospital could leave more than 150 people without jobs if LifeCare does not seek to hire them.

“The company does not discuss its acquisition strategy,” Sperring said, “but our hospitals look forward to continuing to serve the Pittsburgh community long into the future.”

The LifeCare Family of hospitals has 24 specialty care facilities across nine states.

“We look forward to building on our relationships with physicians, case managers and healthcare administrators throughout the Pittsburgh area as we increase our presence in the region and continue to expand our services,” Phillip B. Douglas, Chairman and CEO of LifeCare Holdings LLC said in the release.