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Health care impasse muddled by physician fees

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 22, 2011

For about 90 minutes Wednesday afternoon, it appeared that the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance had made a crucial decision in the ongoing contract dispute between Highmark and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. On its website, on a page dedicated to answering frequently asked questions about the dispute, the site stated: "Once the contract expires, UPMC providers will be considered out-of-network." After queries from the Post-Gazette, though, the department quickly changed the wording to say UPMC providers "may be considered out-of-network." Insurance department spokeswoman Melissa Fox said it is still awaiting information from the two parties that will clarify whether UPMC physicians will be in-network for Highmark members during a one-year run-out period to June 30, 2013.The issue has been a major point of contention between health system UPMC and insurer Highmark since negotiations to renew their 10-year contract broke down earlier this year.