Frankel disappointed by court ruling on consent decree

Health Committee Democratic chairman calls for legislative remedy

PITTSBURGH, June 14 – The Commonwealth Court’s announcement Friday that it would not intervene in the impending June 30 dissolution of the consent decree between UPMC and Highmark should be a call to action for legislators, said state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny.

“I am deeply disappointed to learn that the Commonwealth Court is not going to help provide a way out of this cynical game of brinksmanship that UPMC is foisting upon the people of Pennsylvania.

“It is now crystal clear that if we want institutions like UPMC to do the right thing, the laws need to change. While this case makes its way through the courts, I implore my colleagues to pass my bipartisan legislation to require charity hospital-insurance company hybrids to behave in the public interest and stop the predatory business practices.

“While appeals are expected and could change the course of this impending calamity, thousands of vulnerable Pennsylvanians must now prepare to be cut off from their doctors. This path is causing a terrible breach of trust for patients and their loving family members who believed that UPMC represented a caring support system, and it undermines the relationships of 50,000 doctors and nurses and other health care providers who will be forced to tell their patients they can't see them anymore. 

“UPMC had already tacitly admitted their own wrong-doing by walking back the most harmful policies that they had previously threatened. That retreat was great news to many patients, but not all patients. And it left many questions unanswered. While a patient undergoing cancer treatment now has a reprieve, what if that treatment affects her heart? UPMC has provided zero clarity about how coordination of care would be managed once patients are allowed to use their insurance for once kind of treatment, but not another.”