Put patients first

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There have been numerous newspaper articles and TV ads by both UPMC and Highmark/Allegheny Health Network regarding the contractual issues these two medical providers/insurers are having. Seems these two "nonprofit" entities, charged with providing health care to patients in the Pittsburgh area, have placed personal egos ahead of patient care. Many patients have doctors in both health systems. Their relationships have developed over years with their preferred doctors, yet at the time of need, "in" or "out" of network is the key rather than taking care of the patient.

UPMC is up in arms because Highmark has taken over a troubled Allegheny Health System and now UPMC has competition. Seems UPMC established an insurance division years ago that became a direct competitor of Blue Cross (Highmark) and there was no coverage controversy then. UPMC now charges that Highmark plans to "steal" 41,000 patients from it. How many former Highmark patients does UPMC now insure? Isn't patient care the issue for these "nonprofit" health providers?

Don't they each get preferred tax and funding treatment because they are "nonprofits" and provide needed health care for patients?

While I'm certainly not supportive of government control of everything, this, in my opinion, is an extremely important issue that needs to be addressed. I presume there are quite a number of other citizens who share my concerns and I hope they are actively pursuing their representatives in resolving this important issue.

A number of interesting articles and letters have been included in the Post-Gazette from both sides of the controversy but no resolution thus far. Both UPMC and Highmark advertise their biased positions, but it seems the patients are looking forward to a compromise solution where egos are set aside and patient treatment is the primary consideration.

ROBERT J. RAIBLE
Ross


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