Health giants’ fight

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A personal experience with UPMC/​Highmark shenanigans: My husband recently had a weeklong stay at one of Highmark’s Allegheny Health Network hospitals. After four weeks of trying to get the correct diagnosis, we were both relieved to be on the right track, and although no one likes to have to be in the hospital, I was happy to have him somewhere where he could get proper care. 

During his stay, his blood-pressure was all over the map, and since he has a separate ongoing heart issue that he sees a cardiologist regularly for, I suggested to the nurse practitioner that his cardiologist be notified, to which she immediately responded, “Oh, we don’t do that, because he’s not in our network.” Really?

In the meantime, we had another doctor friend of ours refer us to a specialist with my husband’s case. She contacted him for us. We were — I’m not really sure of the adjective I can use and still get published, but let’s say — disappointed to know that UPMC made this doctor sign a no-compete clause in Allegheny County because he left their network. We were free to visit him in Butler County, but until that time, he could not look at our case. Doctors are competing?

Dear UPMC/​Highmark: A word from us little people — knock it off! These shenanigans are despicable, and your employees and patients deserve better. One thing that no patient wants is to be dragged into your ridiculous fight.

By the way, my husband has HealthAmerica. I guess no one will go unscathed.

Regent Square

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