Patients Struggle To Find Care After Highmark-UPMC Decree Decision

In a rush to beat the June 30th deadline, local residents scramble to find new doctors

Lynne Hayes-Freeland
June 17, 2019 - 12:17 pm

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ruled on Friday in favor of UPMC in the legal action brought by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro over the consent decree with Highmark.

The decree is set to end on June 30th, and local residents are dealing with the implications of the “divorce” between the two health care providers.

“I have five doctors that I have to change,” Evie Bodick of Springdale told KDKA Radio’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland on Monday morning. “I have an appointment with one so far. It was my agenda this week to start making the rest of the appointments.”

Bodick told Lynne that she isn’t going to give up. “We’re going to keep fighting. We have to change the laws to help the generations- my children, grandchildren, and so forth. That’s what we are going to do; we lost the battle in court, but we’re not defeated yet. We do not feel defeated.”

Bodick told Lynne that seniors will face an increased number of obstacles and setbacks in the aftermath of the court’s decision. “If you are elderly and have a severe illness, you’re weak and you’re sick. How are you going to travel far to another hospital that’s father away, especially in the winter time?”

Bodick knows a former UPMC patient with Highmark insurance who now has to take her husband to Atlanta, Georgia for treatment. Another woman has started to travel to  Cleveland Clinic in Ohio because UPMC will not take her Highmark insurance. “It isn’t right to do this when you have your own local hospital,” Bodrick said. “That’s why I have been speaking out, not just for me, but for all the other ones who can’t. I’m fighting for them. The elderly are frightened and scared. I think shame on UPMC for doing this to them.”

Bodick said that many individuals are hesitant to give up their Highmark insurance because their insurance policies cover most of the costs associated with their various health issues. “You have to think practical- who's going to pay the bills the best,” said Bodick.

Bodick told Lynne that those speaking out against the ruling plan to bring in more legislators to fight for them. “This is not a party issue, this is a humanitarian issue,” Bodick said. “We had over 10,000 signatures, and we have more that we brought to the UPMC board meeting, but they ignored it.”

Ashley Funyak contributed to this article.

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