I was appalled by the June 14 article posted on the Post-Gazette's website about UPMC's board of directors' unanimous rejection of any contract renewal with Highmark.
Three years ago, I decided to go to law school and moved to Western Pennsylvania from Washington, D.C. I chose the University of Pittsburgh for many reasons, but the most important was the access I would have to one of the best gastroenterology departments in the country. I suffer from an autoimmune condition called ulcerative colitis and UPMC's department is on the forefront of research and treatment of this incurable inflammatory bowel disease. Additionally, I rented my apartment because of its proximity to UPMC Shadyside, where I go at least once a month for appointments and tests (and the occasional hospital admission).
As a Pitt graduate student, I have been insured through UPMC's health plan; however, because of my graduation last month, my coverage will end in August. I was lucky enough to receive a job offer that includes health benefits, but this firm, like many in the region, offers coverage through Highmark. In 2014, if the saber-rattling continues and UPMC proceeds with its threat, I will have to change doctors, hospitals and all the medical providers with whom I've developed a strong, trusting relationship, which would be deleterious to my well-being.
I urge UPMC's board of directors to rethink their action and consider the detrimental impact that this squabble has on the region's sick patients and accomplished doctors.