More details emerged Monday on what University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's entrance into this region will mean for local residents, as officials came to Harrisburg to officially welcome aboard UPMC Pinnacle, which used to be known as PinnacleHealth System.
The deal was official Sept. 1, but the organizations waited until the ceremony to release some information.
The deal marked the second new owner in as many months for two Lancaster County hospitals, which were part of Community Health Systems Inc. before PinnacleHealth bought them in July.
The hospitals are getting new names
Lancaster Regional Medical Center is now UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster. Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center is now UPMC Pinnacle Lititz.
Names of the other six hospitals also each begin with UPMC Pinnacle and then continue with Carlisle, Community Osteopathic, Hanover, Harrisburg, Memorial and West Shore.
New signs will be up shortly.
UPMC's promising $1.5 billion
UPMC said it will invest $1.5 billion across the eight UPMC Pinnacle hospital campuses and outpatient locations to expand and enhance needed services; upgrade facilities, infrastructure and information technology; recruit both primary care and specialty physicians; and advance clinical research and education.
That includes building a long-promised replacement hospital for the aging UPMC Pinnacle Memorial in York County.
Officials said decisions on exactly how much goes where, and for what, are still to be determined as they study the system.
Leslie Davis, UPMC senior vice president, cited several acquisitions as examples of how UPMC operates.
For instance, she said, in the six years since UPMC Hamot became part of the system, it added specialists and advanced services in neurosurgery, critical care, urology and obstetrics, and the number of patients coming from outside Erie County increased 40 percent.
UPMC Pinnacle has an 8-year contract with Highmark
UPMC and Highmark are bitter rivals in Western Pennsylvania, where each has both insurance and provider offerings.
UPMC's eastward expansion has raised questions of whether members of Highmark and other insurers will continue to have access to UPMC Pinnacle.
Guarneschelli said they will, and that a Highmark contract extension signed in August by what is now UPMC Pinnacle was for eight years.
Expect commercial insurance mid-2019
The health insurance arm of UPMC currently offers government health insurance such as Medicare Advantage here.
Guarnescelli said plans are to start offering UPMC commercial health insurance in Lancaster County in mid-2019, and that insurance contract decisions are among those that will fall to the UPMC Pinnacle board, which has 12 local members and six new ones from UPMC.
UPMC has not filed to offer individual health insurance here through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, healthcare.gov, in 2018.
UPMC Pinnacle is not keeping separate books
Officials said financial records for UPMC Pinnacle will not be kept separate from the overall UPMC books.
However, they said, local fundraising will stay local.
Credit: HEATHER STAUFFER | Staff Writer