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Corbett Set To Meet With UPMC, Highmark Officials

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Gov. Tom Corbett says he plans to meet with officials from western Pennsylvania’s biggest insurer, Highmark, and its dominant hospital system, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Corbett last week announced a “Patients First” team in hopes of minimizing the impact on Highmark subscribers who would lose in-network access to UPMC doctors and hospitals when their current provider contract ends Dec. 31.

According to our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Corbett confirmed Tuesday’s meeting in a brief interview Monday.

Highmark covers 3.2 million people in western Pennsylvania. Without an agreement, Highmark subscribers will have to pay more to use UPMC’s services next year.

Corbett last week announced he asked Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine and the state’s Secretary of Health, Michael Wolf, to bring about discussions between Highmark and UPMC.

His statement last week came a month before Highmark is required to tell state regulators whether it has secured a new contract with UPMC.

Corbett says he doesn’t expect the companies to abandon their business objectives. But he also says the dispute shouldn’t force any patient in the midst of treatment to find a new doctor or force anyone to travel farther for hospital care.

In a press release the Governor stated, “No patient in the midst of treatment should be told he or she needs to find a new doctor, nor should anyone need to travel outside the area because their local community hospital is no longer an option.”

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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