PITTSBURGH, ALLEGHENY COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Governor Tom Wolf announced on Monday that UPMC and Highmark have agreed to enter into a 10-year contract that ends their longstanding dispute. It also ensures Highmark patients will have access to UPMC doctors and facilities.
The contract will go into effect on July 1, the day after the expiration of the current consent decrees, ensuring that patients should not experience any disruption in their care. This is a global agreement as all UPMC hospitals are now an option for Highmark’s insured patients. This is the longest deal that UPMC has ever made with any insurer.
“I’m proud to announce this historic settlement today that restores fairness and access to affordable care for the people of Western Pennsylvania and reinjects real choice into the healthcare marketplace,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Without this agreement, millions of patients—including seniors, cancer patients, and working mothers—would have had their health care abruptly upended. Thanks to the patients who told their stories about what they stood to lose, Western Pennsylvanians now have their access to a fair healthcare system secured for the next decade.”
“Pennsylvanians deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare, and this agreement between UPMC and Highmark preserves that access for the people of Western Pennsylvania for the next ten years,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “I’m proud of the hard work of Attorney General Shapiro and his legal team to secure this victory for Western Pennsylvanians, and I’m glad my administration was able to support this work. I’m grateful to the many patients who stood up and advocated for their right to care.”
Attorney General Shapiro worked with UPMC and Highmark for two years to resolve the issue posed by the expiring consent decrees and to prevent further harm to the public. When negotiations failed to yield a result, Attorney General Shapiro filed a petition in February 2019 against UPMC to modify the consent decrees. Before Commonwealth Court ruled on June 14th that the state could not modify those agreements, Attorney General Shapiro had already entered into rigorous negotiations with the leadership of UPMC and Highmark to reach this agreement.
(Information from PINS)