Pennsylvania's governor announced terms of the contentious breakup of Pittsburgh insurance company Highmark
, the city's dominant health system.
UPMC and Highmark, which acquired UPMC's struggling rival—West Penn Allegheny Health System
—have fought aggressively and publicly over the expiring contract for Highmark members to get in-network services at UPMC's facilities. Highmark has sought to extend the contract, and UPMC refused.
Under the deal announced by Gov. Tom Corbett, Highmark members will get continued access to UPMC after the contract expires Jan. 1. Notably, the deal sets restrictions on “unclear or misleading” advertising and requires Highmark and UPMC to donate $2 million apiece for outreach and to reimburse the state for its role in brokering the deal.
Pennsylvania's Department of Insurance required Highmark to detail a transition for UPMC patients as a condition of its April 2013 acquisition of West Penn Allegheny. “For some time, the people of Western Pennsylvania have been concerned about where and how they will receive their healthcare come Jan. 1, 2015,” the governor said in a news release announcing the agreement.
More detailed plans must be submitted to the state by the end of July, but the terms will give Highmark enrollees continued access to UPMC oncologists, specialists in behavioral health and pediatrics, and UPMC hospitals outside the competitive Pittsburgh marketplace.
Highmark enrollees will be deemed in-network at all UPMC emergency rooms. Those already under UPMC care for a condition or procedure may continue until physicians agree to transfer patients to new providers and Highmark enrollees will have one year to find an alternative doctor. —Melanie EvansFollow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans
Montefiore Health System, New York, has signed a letter of intent to absorb a hospital that is an affiliate of one of Montefiore's competitors, New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System.
Nyack (N.Y.) Hospital, a 375-bed facility that is a member of New York-Presbyterian's network, has agreed to join the Montefiore system. New York-Presbyterian had not returned calls seeking comment by deadline.
Nyack is about 20 miles north of Montefiore's flagship campus in the Bronx. Officials expect a definitive agreement will be completed in a few weeks, a Montefiore spokeswoman said.
“We see great opportunity in working with Nyack Hospital and enhancing its rich history of providing excellent care in the community,” Dr. Steven Safyer, president and CEO of Montefiore, said in a news release. “Montefiore is focused on building a regional healthcare delivery system that is closely aligned with community physicians and groups.”
Montefiore's attempts to build that regional system have intensified in the past year. In addition to the Nyack transaction, Montefiore signed a deal to add White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital as an affiliate in February. White Plains Hospital is a mile away from New York-Presbyterian's Westchester Division.
A definitive agreement between Montefiore and White Plains has not yet been reached.
Last November, Montefiore officially acquired Sound Shore Health System, a two-hospital system based in nearby New Rochelle, N.Y., that went through bankruptcy. —Bob HermanFollow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman