Two major Pittsburgh health systems, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Highmark Health (Highmark) struck a deal on Monday allowing Highmark patients to utilize UPMC’s facilities. The agreement prevents expiration of a previous agreement between the two systems set to occur on June 30, 2019.
Originally, a consent agreement governed the relationship between UPMC and Highmark, allowing Highmark patients to pay in-network prices for the use of UPMC’s facilities and doctors. With the looming expiration date of the agreement, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro engaged in a legal battle with UPMC. The new deal comes a little over a week after a judge ruled that an extension of the original agreement could not be mandated.
The new contract between Highmark and UPMC extends Highmark customers’ in-network access for another 10 years and applies to all facilities/physicians in western Pennsylvania. According to a press release by Shapiro, the agreement has his blessing. Similarly, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf stated the following: “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.”