More on this through the day, but UPMC/Highmark are crediting Gov. Tom Corbett's role in bringing the warring health care giants to the bargaining table.
UPMC hospitals and physicians will be available to Highmark Inc. insurance customers at in-network rates through June 30, 2013, under a new agreement the warring companies announced this morning.
Citing the influence of Gov. Tom Corbett and a mediation process, the companies agreed to extend physician contracts until hospital contracts expire.
In a statement, UPMC noted that the agreement also will allow time for regulators to examine Highmark's acquisition of West Penn Allegheny Health System.
"We are grateful to the Governor and his mediators for conducting an informed and constructive process with patient care and access the highest priority," UPMC said in its statement.
"The governor has been working actively behind the scenes with both parties to spur negotiations and encourage them to resolve their differences," Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said. "This is certainly a positive step for health-care consumers in Western Pennsylvania."
Mr. Harley said Mr. Corbett conducted some of those meetings himself and had staff members with him at others. He emphasized that the extension is just one step and the governor will continue to meet with Highmark and UPMC officials to get them to reach a long-term agreement.
"He won't be shy about looking for a role," Mr. Harley said.