Reporting Andy Sheehan
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The battling giants of UPMC and Highmark have barely been on speaking terms, but faced mounting pressure to resolve their differences from the governor and legislature which aim to take matters into their own hands.
“The state is not going to stand idly by and allow the health care system to be dismantled, to disenfranchise millions of people from their doctors and their hospitals and their health care,” State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, said. “We will not allow it to happen.”
The legislature is considering different bills that would mandate a resolution. Thursday, UPMC and Highmark bought more time by voluntarily extending their contract through June of 2013.
The extension is good news for Highmark subscribers at the Hillman Center. It’s a UPMC facility and many of those patients feared they would go without this treatment after June.
Hillman patient Larry Grumet has become an activist on behalf of his follow cancer sufferers who have been living under a cloud of worry not related to their disease.
“At Hillman Cancer Center where patients used to talk about their families, their prognosis, their loved ones, now all they talk about is, ‘Will I have access? Will I have coverage?’”
Grumet says he welcomes the extension but wants a long-term agreement.
“I’d like to see an agreement between the parties,” he said. “They did it once, they can do it again.”