My wife and I are Pittsburghers, both born raised and educated through graduate schools here. We moved from the area in 1972, when I was offered a position on the faculty of the University of Louisiana. After thirty years in which we both raised our family and worked for the university, we returned home to what we hoped would be a pleasant life of semi-retirement, in 2001. We returned with a great fondness for crawfish etouffee…and what we considered to be a very adequate healthcare program, provided through the University of Louisiana and the State of Louisiana’s Office of Group Benefits. The program offered us through my employer was administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. Although several other options were available to retirees who would continue to reside in Louisiana, this plan was our only option through the university.
All seemed to work quite well for some time after our relocation, The UL Group Benefits plan was superior to anything available to us as individuals and hence, we saw no reason to contemplate a change. Then we were dragged as unwilling participants into the unbelievably self-serving world of Pittsburgh’s healthcare “non-profits!” A few years after our return to the area my wife was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Her oncologist was affiliated with Magee Hospital, a part of the ever expanding UPMC conglomerate. And of course, here our story parallels that of many other innocent victims of what can only be described as unmitigated corporate hubris. After years of competent care at Magee, Susanne has been forced to search for an oncologist whose adherence to the Hippocratic oath is not subject to the inhumane results of an administration’s profit based greed. She is effectively barred from UPMC services because of a dispute in which both parties, in return for their publicly granted non-profit status, might reasonably be expected to provide said services, and most assuredly do not! Unconscionable!!