The UPMC-Highmark transition plan continues to cut off patients

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As a longtime UPMC patient, Pittsburgh taxpayer and Highmark subscriber, I read with outrage the June 26 article “Health Care Transition Plan Between Highmark Health and UPMC Lacking Revisions.”

This deal does not put “patients first.” Rather it locks out patients, risks our health and allows a so-called nonprofit to prioritize its business plan over patient care.

My husband and I have complex medical conditions that require a lifetime of treatment. We have been seeing UPMC Mercy specialists for years. Under this plan, I may not get cut off in the middle of my chemo session this time, but what happens the next time I need chemo?

I went to the UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside board of directors meeting in June along with a group of other patients and caregivers to express deep concerns about UPMC’s business strategy before any deal was inked. But our visit fell on deaf ears.

One board member refused to look up from his smartphone to listen to stories of cancer patients such as myself cut off from care, or doctors and nurses concerned about the health and safety of their patients during this dangerous business deal.

Thousands with Highmark insurance — my kids, my neighbors — will be cut off from affordable, in-network access to the community hospitals they helped build.

This latest deal, with the governor’s blessing, notably avoids what patients really need and deserve: in-network access for all at our community hospitals.

ANGELA VENNARE-KLEIN
Beechview


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