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UPMC, Highmark Reach 10 Year Deal

The clock was ticking, but an agreement was reached by the two giant Western Pennsylvania healthcare providers. 

Just six days before Highmark members would’ve lost access to UPMC doctors, the two reached a “historic” 10 year deal. 

“Today, I can announce we have an historic agreement to continue world class care for the people of Western Pennsylvania,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a press conference announcing the news, today. 

The conflict between UPMC and Highmark has lasted for years. In February, Shapiro filed a suit against UPMC as a “last resort” for not “fulfilling its obligation as a public charity.” 

10 days ago, Commonwealth Court ruled that the consent decrees between Highmark and UPMC was set to expire at the end of the month, which was the court’s second decision on the matter in a year, the Post-Gazette reports. At the time, Gov. Tom Corbett helped negotiate a consent decree to delay the divorce. 

Shapiro and Gov. Tom Wolf thanked the two companies for reaching a solution today without the government being apart of the deal. 

“This is a really, really big deal,” Wolf said. “This is something that’s been dividing this community and really served as a potential problem for all of Pennsylvania ever since I’ve been in office.”

Shapiro said that the conversations on the “complex” matter intensified recently and that both companies sacrificed things to make it a true agreement putting patients first. 

“It was an honest and tough and productive dialogue about the steps we could take together to protect access to care regardless of what the court might ultimately say,” Shapiro said. “As a result of these discussions, patients are no longer caught in the middle and the power is returned to the consumers.”

Shapiro and Wolf said the two companies will no longer work as adversaries, but work as allies. The contract will go into effect on July 1. 

A slew of Western Pennsylvania elected officials have shot at press releases applauding the decision for both companies to come together on the matter. 

In a release, UPMC described their role as “essential to the region’s well-being” and Highmark’s statement lauded the deal as a “significant step forward” for Western PA.

The Post-Gazette includes a timeline of events dating back to June 2011. 

6 Responses

  1. Many Highmark plans are still excluded from the deal, including Community Blue/PPO — a fairly large plan. This is not the victory it’s being painted as.

  2. I was a cancer survivor with UPMC doctors/Highmark insurance trying to scramble and find someone I could trust and felt comfortable with. Even before the June 30 date, I felt like I was being herded out by UPMC. Threatened with higher pre-paid fees to use my doctor. I didn’t feel like they cared. Because of all of this, I was forced to find doctors in the AHN and they welcomed me with open arms. I’m ambivalent now.

    1. I also are a cancer patient who has put UPMC Doctors number 1. I am glad our Dr. in Arizona who when we were moving back to Pa. recommended UPMC Insurance

  3. UPMC is a joke, they need to focus on making things better for patients rather than expansion.

    1. I have UPMC insurance & Doctors and support them just as they supported me with my cancer

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