Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE: Ferlo “Appreciates” UPMC’s Contract Announcement

Pittsburgh, June 14, 2013 — In response to UPMC’s announcement that its Board has resolved to not renew its current contract with Highmark, which expires on January 31, 2014, Senator Ferlo issued the following statement:

“I never thought I would say this, but I appreciate UPMC’s being up front and clear with the community about its intent to not renew its contract with Highmark.”

“As a direct result of the Affiliation between Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS), we should expect new market realities to emerge over the next few years. These new conditions will be largely beneficial to the citizens of Western Pennsylvania. For example, WPAHS will be back on its feet financially, so there will be more competition between healthcare providers, and better choices for health care consumers. If the Affiliation is successful, you and I will have a choice between two viable healthcare systems, rather than between a viable system and a failing system. These anticipated benefits and others factored heavily into the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s (PID) decision to approve the Affiliation.”

“However, these benefits will come at a cost. For example, in its Affiliation Application, Highmark projected that it will be in a better position to save WPAHS financially if it does not renew its contract with UPMC. Independent experts who were commissioned by the PID to review Highmark’s Affiliation Application confirmed this projection. As a result, the PID relied on this information and placed certain conditions on its approval of the Affiliation which effectively precluded Highmark and UPMC from renewing their current contract. For instance, the PID prohibited Highmark and WPAHS from agreeing to certain anti-competitive contract terms that UPMC places in all of its provider contracts.”

“At this point, the local dialogue needs to shift from focusing on how Highmark-WPAHS and UPMC interact with each other, to how these entities interact with the community in terms of the consumer products and community benefits that they provide. For example, UPMC and WPAHS are required to publish “Community Health Needs Assessment” reports by June 30th, and these reports should be subject to rigorous public scrutiny. I look forward to working with Highmark-WPAHS, UPMC, and the community to move this dialogue forward.”

“Until then, I urge Highmark and UPMC to be transparent with the community with respect to the market changes that we can expect to occur as a result of the Affiliation, so that consumers can make informed health care choices.”

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State Senator Jim Ferlo is a Democrat representing the 38th Senatorial District comprised of parts of the City of Pittsburgh, Armstrong, and Westmoreland Counties. Senator Ferlo serves constituents in two district offices; one in Lawrenceville and one in Natrona Heights. For more information, visit www.senatorferlo.com

SENATOR JIM FERLO PHONE:
(412) 952-3364
JFERLO@pasenate.com

CONTACT: Anne Huber
PHONE:  (717) 787-6123
ahuber@pasenate.com

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