I've been following the news regarding the merger between UPMC and Altoona Regional Health System, and to say I'm worried and very concerned is an understatement.
I am a customer of Highmark Health Services (Highmark Blue Shield), and I live in Altoona. If UPMC decides to stop accepting Highmark insurance next summer, what am I and other Highmark customers supposed to do? Go to another hospital? Where? There's only one here now, and that's Altoona Regional. We have no other local choice.
Why should I be forced to change insurance carriers because of UPMC and Altoona Regional's potential merger? Is CEO Jerry Murray even considering the best interests of the many people who live in Altoona and surrounding towns by wanting to go forward with this merger? Does he even care how we may be affected if UPMC stops accepting Highmark insurance once the merger takes place?
Are my concerns and the concerns of many others who will be affected by the union of UPMC/Altoona Regional of any importance to anyone, in fact? I'm beginning to think the answer to that is no.