UPMC's decision harms millions of people

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Since G. Nicholas Beckwith III became the face of UPMC on televison recently and in the Post-Gazette on June 17 ("Choice and Competition," Perspectives) regarding the UPMC and Highmark contract, I would like to give him some information. This contract does not just affect thousands of Highmark subscribers, it affects millions of them.

UPMC is treating them as collateral damage in some war game. I was a Highmark Medicare Advantage subscriber for a number of years. I came to UPMC for Life this past year, as a result of a stage 4 melanoma diagnosis in 2011. While UPMC has the best doctors, staff and hospitals available, senior management and the board of directors appear to do whatever the CEO says or wants, without regard to anyone affected. When this contract issue first came out, the board of directors acted as the Three Wise Monkeys (hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil) and are continuing that role. They have no respect for the people whom they are supposed to care about or care for.

It would seem that UPMC does not stand for University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, but the University of the rest of the world (Ireland, Italy, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Singapore, China and Japan; UPMC spent more than a billion dollars on facilities in these countries, according to its last tax returns), and the millions of Highmark subscribers be damned.

Additionally, if a new contract between the parties is seen as so financially detrimental to UPMC, then let the 26 doctors and executives who made more than a million dollars each last tax year (totaling almost $50 million) take a pay cut. UPMC's position will do great harm to millions of patients.

LARRY GRUMET
Squirrel Hill


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