The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


June 26, 2014

State News in Brief | UPMC, Highmark work out patient deal

HARRISBURG — Details were being finalized in an agreement that would allow some Highmark insurance enrollees to continue getting in-network coverage for UPMC doctors and facilities under certain circumstances after a contract between the two western Pennsylvania health care giants ends Jan. 1.

Lawmakers were told an announcement was possible today after a Thursday announcement by Gov. Tom Corbett and Attorney General Kathleen Kane was postponed amid last-minute wrangling.

Most Highmark subscribers otherwise stand to lose in-network access to UPMC doctors and hospitals after Dec. 31, meaning they’d pay higher rates.

UPMC is western Pennsylvania’s dominant network, with 22 hospitals and 400 outpatient sites. It complains that Highmark is now a competitor, since the insurer recently acquired seven area hospitals from Erie to Pittsburgh.

Highmark insurance covers 3.2 million people in western Pennsylvania.

Suspended officer sues Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH – A police officer has sued the city and its former mayor claiming she has been wrongly suspended from her job since early last year because she opposed favors the former mayor allegedly granted to a friend with a valet parking business.

Tonya Montgomery-Ford filed the federal lawsuit Thursday against the city and former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

Federal prosecutors have acknowledged an investigation involving the city’s police bureau and Ravenstahl since last year, though the former mayor has not been charged.

Ravenstahl forced his hand-picked police chief, Nathan Harper, to resign as a result of the investigation in February 2013. A year later, Harper was sentenced to 18 months in prison in connection with an illegal police slush fund.

Ford contends she was wrongly suspended without explanation the day after Harper resigned. She seeks reinstatement and unspecified damages in an 11-page complaint that contends she upset Ravenstahl and Assistant Chief George Trosky by opposing valet parking variances for a company owned by their friend Robert Gigliotti.

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