Frankel encouraged by the new agreement between UPMC, Highmark

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 5 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, released the following statement regarding health care access in western Pennsylvania:

"I’m encouraged by Governor Wolf’s announcement that UPMC and Highmark have agreed to terms to ensure consumers will continue to have access to critical, unique services in our region moving forward.

"I’m grateful for the governor’s leadership in protecting consumer access to our community facilities and I’m cautiously optimistic that this will solve some of the access issues facing western Pennsylvanians as the end of the existing consent decree approaches in 2019.

"It is my understanding that the agreement provides in-network access to one-of-a-kind UPMC facilities including Western Psychiatric Institute, UPMC Center for Assistive Technology, UPMC Center for Excellence for treatment of Cystic Fibrosis and other important facilities.

"We know that both providers and consumers suffer when patients can’t see their long-time doctors and when doctors can’t care for their long-time patients. Communities also suffer when asked to double the number of specialty hospitals because access is denied at the ones that already exist.

"I’m hopeful that this agreement will ease many of the burdens faced by consumers in western Pennsylvania and I will continue to monitor this situation very closely and do what I can to help ensure that service disruption is kept at an absolute minimum."