The well-publicized feud between University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and health insurer Highmark has many western Pennsylvania residents worrying that they may lose access to services from UPMC when a contract between the two entities expires next year, especially as many residents carry Highmark insurance.
Although many specific details will not be known until legal issues between the two are resolved, Elk Regional Health Center (ERHC) has issued a statement regarding the situation as it now stands. The statement reads as follows: "Elk Regional Health Center is deeply committed to ensuring that its patients have access to the healthcare services they need, when they need them. Elk Regional has a clinical affiliation with UPMC Hamot, a relationship that allows our organizations to work collaboratively to bring specialty services to our region. That clinical affiliation does not prevent Elk Regional Health Center from accepting patients with certain types of insurance, such as Highmark or the UPMC Health Plan.
"Any dispute between UPMC and Highmark must be worked out between those respective organizations. As a community hospital serving a large region, Elk Regional Health Center enjoys excellent working relationships with the Highmark and the UPMC Health Plan insurance carriers.
"Elk Regional Health Center will continue to accept both insurance plans."
As reported in a recent story by The Associated Press, UPMC has asked a judge to dismiss a federal lawsuit brought by Highmark in July that accuses UPMC of false advertising. The lawsuit filed by Highmark claims UPMC's ads are designed to make people think they will no longer have access to UPMC services when the contract expires.