UPMC's crystal ball

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It's not unusual for historians to revise the accepted version of historical events as new facts surface with the passage of time. This is what UPMC is doing in its new attack ad against Highmark, with one slight twist. It is rewriting history before the event has even happened.

The ad in question shows a woman on the phone with her insurance company seeking an explanation as to why it is "pushing" her from her UPMC hospital of choice to one of its own choosing. While this is going on, overlapping graphics explain Highmark's intention to "push" 41,000 patients away from UPMC, thus forcing the closure of two UPMC hospitals.

Graphics at the beginning of the commercial tell us that this fictionalized conversation takes place in 2015, after the date that UPMC has said it will "push" those same 41,000 patients plus at least 260,000 of their friends, relatives and neighbors to those same Highmark-affiliated hospitals.

This may have escaped the notice of UPMC's PR masterminds, but haven't they spent the past several years telling us that sending these patients away was "good" for UPMC and Pittsburgh? So by their logic: lose 41,000 patients, close two hospitals, bad for UPMC. Throw away more than 300,000 patients, close, say, seven hospitals, good for UPMC.

Sounds like the power structure at UPMC has gotten ahold of the keys to the medicine cabinet.

PAUL INZINGA
Bloomfield


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