UPMC

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

UPMC said Friday it’s ramping up telehealth efforts to meet the demands of patients seeking care amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, reporting that last week it provided more remote visits than it did during the entirety of 2019.

Courtesy of Northside Common Ministries

On today's program: How one homeless shelter is coping during the pandemic; why UPMC says elective procedures should proceed, even as resources remain tight; and farmers are declared life-sustaining, but it’s unclear where they can sell their food.

GENE J. PUSKAR / AP

Despite directives from state and county health officials, elective surgeries are still being performed at UPMC facilities. 

Medical professionals employed by UPMC, speaking to WESA on condition of anonymity, said this decision may have dire consequences in light of COVID-19’s exponential spread.

While less time sensitive, elective surgeries are often medically necessary; examples include kidney stone removal, hernia repair and shoulder arthroscopy.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

UPMC and Allegheny County are being sued after the hospital system allegedly performed urine testing on a woman and her newborn — without the woman’s consent — and then turned over the results to county officials for investigation.

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Due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus, UPMC is asking people not to visit the health network’s long-term care or skilled-nursing facilities if they are ill or have cold symptoms, even if these symptoms are relatively minor.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA News

The two dominant health insurers in western Pennsylvania are picking up the bill for COVID-19 testing, when recommended by a medical professional.

Though it's possible that coronavirus is circulating undetected in western Pennsylvania, the region’s largest health care system said on Tuesday that it hasn’t needed to test any patients at any of its facilities for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Terry Chea / AP

As concerns of a global pandemic amplify, some Pittsburgh institutions are taking precautions against the new coronavirus by restricting travel to China.

Keith Srakocic / AP

UPMC’s pledge to spend $1 billion on life science innovations over four years is expected to support early stage development of medical devices, software, drugs and more nationwide. On Wednesday, executive vice president Jeanne Cunicelli said that investment will also be the catalyst for a new venture at UPMC: a for-profit pharmaceutical company.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The Pittsburgh region will be buzzing with economic activity this year, especially for some of its biggest employers.  This year is poised to be one of growth for the economic power houses of UPMC and Highmark. After years of legal wrangling, the two entities worked out a deal last year giving most Highmark customers in network access to UPMC doctors and hospitals for 10 years.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Sammia Eutsey’s son, Chadd Jr., was born 10 weeks early, due in part to her pre-eclampsia, a condition related to high blood pressure.

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UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh says a dozen people — including six babies — are being treated for the antibiotic-resistant staph infection known as MRSA.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Western Pennsylvanians breathed a sigh of relief earlier this week when it was announced that UPMC and Highmark had reached a 10-year agreement, though not everyone insured by Highmark will have access to all UPMC medical facilities.

Both photos by Gene J. Puskar/AP

Most UPMC patients with Highmark insurance will lose in-network access to the medical system's doctors and facilities at the end of this month, a Commonwealth Court judge ruled on Friday. 

UPMC Hearing Gives Glimpse Into Bitter Highmark Feud

Jun 12, 2019
Marc Levy / AP

Two days, three witnesses and hundreds of pages of exhibits all boil down to one question: Did UPMC agree to a clause that would give the state a chance to extend its 2014 agreement with UPMC and Highmark?

At stake is whether people with Highmark insurance will still be able to access UPMC care after that agreement's June 30 expiration date, or whether they'll face exorbitant out-of-network rates.

Both photos by Gene J. Puskar/AP

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro wants a judge to require UPMC to keep accepting Highmark health insurance under a deal set to expire this month.

UPMC announced Thursday that the Hillman Cancer Center would accept all insurers, including Highmark commercial and Medicare Advantage plans. 

Marcus Charleston / 90.5 WESA

University Pittsburgh Medical Center is dropping plans to seek prepayment from out-of-network Highmark Medicare Advantage patients when consent decrees linking the competing health care giants end on June 30. 

Carolyn Kaster / AP

A Pennsylvania judge plans to rule in a couple weeks about whether and how a five-year consent decree that's about to expire between two mammoth health care providers and the attorney general's office can be modified.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state Supreme Court Tuesday kept alive hopes that people with Highmark insurance can continue using UPMC doctors, finding that a provision in a five-year consent decree was too ambiguous to make a definitive ruling.

Rachel Gobep / UPMC

Dozens of UPMC workers and allies rallied Tuesday outside UPMC Montefiore Medical Center, ahead of the health service’s annual public meeting. Employees say the nonprofit has harassed and intimidated workers who try to unionize for better pay and benefits.

GENE J. PUSKAR / AP

On Tuesday, some of UPMC's service workers will strike during the nonprofit health service's annual public board meeting for its Shadyside and Presbyterian hospitals. Workers plan to go on strike as early as 7 a.m. Tuesday until 7 a.m. Wednesday. 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A massive National Institutes of Health study with a recruitment hub in Pittsburgh has turned a year old. The All of Us precision medicine project has an aim to recruit 1 million people, and it still has a long way to go.

Courtesy of The University of Pittsburgh

On today's program: The University of Pittsburgh just got a treasure trove from the estate of horror great George Romero; a queer youth theater program is debuting a new multimedia production; City Council District 9 candidates are readying for Tuesday's primary election; CEOs take a stand against the stigma around mental illness; and the state's top court hears from both sides of the UPMC / Highmark split. 

Keith Srakocic / AP

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Thursday on whether to extend a consent decree that would force UPMC to continue taking Highmark insurance.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Pittsburgh-area patients and advocates are heading to Harrisburg on Tuesday where they say they'll urge lawmakers to pass bills requiring that UPMC accept any insurance at in-network rates. Some patients anticipate skyrocketing health care costs if the split between Highmark Health and UPMC goes through on July 1.

Keith Srakocic / AP

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration warned in 2016 that people became sick from fentanyl through skin contact or inhalation, but the American College of Medical Toxicology and the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology released a joint statement in 2017 that said the chances of becoming ill this way are “extremely low." 

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next month regarding whether to extend the expiration date of a consent decree between Pittsburgh-area health care rivals UPMC and Highmark. 

Tony Talbot / AP

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says Oklahoma got "a bad deal" in its recent $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma. The deal, which didn't directly allot any funding to those affected by Purdue's opioid marketing practices, allows the company's owners to direct future addiction research and treament in the state. 

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