UPMC stance insulting

About your May 13 article “Nurses push to escalate petition drive,” our local nurses are right to raise questions about the takeover of Altoona Hospital by UPMC.

I was insulted to read the UPMC spokesperson’s comment that alarm over the high hospital charges is “lame.”

Uninsured people like me who may have to pay the full cost of hospital charges care a lot about what a hospital charges. Not everyone qualifies for Medicaid or the hospital’s charity care, either.

I have had to work two jobs just to pay my bills. You don’t have to look very far to find friends, families or neighbors who have been financially strapped by medical bills.

People with insurance who may be out of network in a health system could get hit with extra charges or flat-out denied treatment. That is what we are seeing in Pittsburgh.

UPMC has rejected Highmark Community Blue patients and say they won’t renew their contract with Highmark in 2014. So, what a hospital charges for a test is important and is not “lame.”

As patients and taxpayers, we have a right to ask questions and get answers about our local hospital. It’s obnoxious to call these concerns “non-issues.”

The Board of Altoona Regional Health System needs to take their time with this deal and start listening to people in the community, not just big executives from UPMC.

Tina Tilson