Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shame on UPMC for not serving active military

From today's Post-Gazette

A Bridgeville woman is seeking congressional help in an effort to reverse a UPMC
policy against accepting the health insurance plan for the region's 7,808
active-duty military personnel, their families and retirees.
Jean Rohal, 40,
said it's shameful that University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals and
medical centers turn away active-duty service members from all branches,
including the National Guard and reservists, especially in a time of war and
economic distress.
She said she's been told UPMC doesn't accept Tricare, the
military health plan, because of low reimbursement rates.

The bright note is that West Penn-Allegheny Health Systems do accept Tricare. And I'm guessing UPMC will reverse this atrocious policy pretty darn soon given the inevitable outcry from the flag-waving kitten sweatshirted suburbanites so eager to send your children off to war and theirs' off to college. Not too mention elected officials. Good thing this didn't come out before Jason Altmire's reelection campaign. There are a lot of yellow ribbons up in those parts.

This is pretty egregious. If the reimbursement rates are too low, UPMC needs to have a chat with the US government about that part not take it out on the soldiers, sailors, marines and their families. It is a clear example of why a comprehensive universal health care plan is so critical so every American can access the best medical services possible.

Shame on UPMC.


  1. i read that this morning and i just wanted to scream at the paper i was holding.

  2. If you took all the money made from gas stations selling yellow ribbon magnets for cars and actually used it to benefit the troops, maybe we could have a better health care plan. "Support our troops" is a marketing ploy.

  3. oh yes. a feel good/easy thing.

  4. The PG just published the following correction:

    Correction/Clarification: (Published 2/12/2009) All University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals accept military personnel, their families and retirees who have the military health insurance plan, Tricare. But patients who use UPMC hospitals not in the Tricare network potentially face higher out-of-pocket expenses for medical care. Three of UPMC's 15 hospitals -- Mercy, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and Horizon in Mercer County -- are in the Tricare network. This story was unclear about what UPMC's policy is.

  5. My husband is active duty and will be deploying to Afghanistan this spring.
    We have used Tricare for years and are grateful to have health insurance as many working people do not.
    I have had 2 occasions where a member of my family used UPMC aprroved facilities. My daughter had an MRI at Children's Hospital - we had a referral completed for Children's Hospital Neurology - UPMC mistakenly billed Tricare using University of Pittsburgh Physicians as the provider and then tried to bill me in full for the scans. It took several calls and letters before UPMC corrected the billing and stopped harrassing me.
    The 2nd time was a mammogram I had at Mercy. UPMC Mercy has an agreement with Tricare to accept their payment as payment in full - but that did not stop UPMC from trying to balance bill me for the difference.
    UPMC needs to treat military families as well as all of their patients better.