More than 180,000 seniors who rely on Highmark Inc. for Medicare Advantage will keep in-network access to UPMC at least until 2019, Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini ordered Friday.
His three-page decision commands the Downtown-based rivals into binding arbitration to resolve other disagreements they cannot settle on their own — a move that delighted Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
UPMC vowed to appeal to the state Supreme Court.
“The feud between these two companies must end — the people of Western Pennsylvania have had enough,” Wolf said in a statement.
UPMC is offering buyouts to 3,500 of its older workers in a move to cut costs as the Pittsburgh hospital giant adjusts to slowing demand for hospital-based care.
The nonprofit organization said Tuesday that it was offering the voluntary severance to employees who are 60 or older and have at least 10 years of service. The offer, which was made to 5.6 percent of UPMC’s total workforce, includes medical and dental benefits, severance pay and a one-time cash payment of $15,000, UPMC said in a statement.
“This program both honors and respects long-term staff members who are ready to move to the next phase in life and, simultaneously, helps achieve cost-savings for UPMC by adjusting our workforce to meet the demands of the health care marketplace,” the statement said.
UPMC is the state’s largest private employer, with about 62,000 workers.
Allegheny Health Network proposes investing part of $175 million from Highmark Inc. in renovations and technology upgrades at its Allegheny General and West Penn hospitals, anticipating that they will accommodate more patients when Highmark insurance subscribers lose in-network access to UPMC next year.
The Highmark-owned hospital system would build outpatient medical centers and expand emergency, trauma and women’s health services to underserved parts of Western Pennsylvania as part of a spending plan that executives say will help it better compete with UPMC.
“The entire amount … will be used for capital improvements at Allegheny Health Network to fill in certain service line gaps,” Chief Financial Officer Karen Hanlon said during a state Department of Insurance hearing Monday. “No portion of the requested funding will go to pay operating expenses.”
UPMC Treasurer Tal Heppenstall Jr. said Allegheny Health Network is in worse financial condition than Highmark has reported and chided the company for its “profound lack of financial transparency.” He said it appears Highmark is hiding huge losses in “sporadic, fragmented and murky” financial statements.
WILKES-BARRE, PA — Scranton and Wilkes-Barre have been announced as quarter-finalists in the America’s Best Communities competition.
Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and The Weather Channel — the competition’s sponsors — today announced that the two cities are among the 50 quarter-finalist communities that now have six months to complete their revitalization plans and compete for up to an additional $3 million to bring their ideas to life.
America’s Best Communities (ABC) competition is a $10 million initiative to stimulate economic revitalization in small towns and cities. Each community will receive $50,000 to develop comprehensive strategies to accelerate the revival of their local economies and improve the quality of life in their communities.
“I’m proud to congratulate our neighbors in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre for advancing in the America’s Best Communities competition,” said Elena Kilpatrick, vice president and general manager of Frontier. “This is also a great opportunity for Northeast Pennsylvania as a region to benefit from everyone coming together to implement plans that will enhance the total Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area.”
Harrisburg, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) earned several awards during competitions at the PBL State Leadership Conference April 11-12 in Harrisburg.
Three MCCC students earned second place awards in the Business Decision Making competition. They are Abel Cruz, of Philadelphia, Wes (Carlo) Pipitone, Horsham, and Candice Yohe, Willow Grove.
During the PBL State Leadership Conference, MCCC’s students competed against chapters from across the state, including four-year institutions such as Drexel University, Penn State University and University of Pittsburgh. Along with the competitions, MCCC students participated in workshops and business events during the conference.
Phi Beta Lambda is a student-led, collegiate-level organization of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). For more information, visit http://www.fbla-pbl.org.
English: A Radio Shack store in the Plaza Caracol shopping center on Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascensio in the city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
RadioShack Corp. said it plans to close up to 1,100 stores in the U.S. and reported a wider quarterly loss after a disappointing holiday season.
Its stock tumbled 24 percent in premarket trading today and was down 11 percent at 2.42 after opening on the New York Stock Exchange.
CEO Joseph Magnacca said in statement that the store closings would leave RadioShack with more than 4,000 U.S. stores, including more than 900 dealer franchise locations. The company didn’t immediately identify which stores will be closed or how many jobs would be affected.
There are several stores in the Lehigh Valley, including stores within a mile of each other in Palmer Township.
JetBlue, Boston’s largest airline with 125 daily flights, has succeeded where three other carriers did not: making a profit and winning over travelers with cheaper fares and in-flight amenities on a 300-mile trip on which US Airways long had a lock.
US Airways, with a hub in Philadelphia, has 19 nonstop flights on peak weekdays from Philadelphia to Boston.
JetBlue’s arrival in May with five daily Boston nonstops immediately lowered airfares, once as high as $800 round-trip on US Airways, to $55 to $154 one-way on Jet Blue, depending on the day and time of travel.
Yet while Fitzgerald points to improved employment, production and tourism as signs of the region’s economic vitality, growth at Pittsburgh International is stalled.
“I can’t explain it,” Fitzgerald said of the incongruity between the region’s surging economy and an airport that is scuffling in its core business of flying.
The airport was on pace through November to post its lowest annual passenger total since opening in 1992, according to the latest data. It recently learned that 600 airline jobs will vanish when the new American Airlines, created through a merger with US Airways, closes a flight operations center in Moon by next year. An unused section of one concourse in the $1 billion airport remains walled-off. The airport doesn’t have a CEO.
English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighting South Philadelphia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It’s 30 degrees and an icy rain is falling, but as Michele Gambino stands in the center of the Italian Market, she’s feeling surprisingly warm.
Not from the flames snapping in the fire barrels.
But because in 10 days, a change four years in the making comes to the venerable market, one that Gambino and others believe will enrich shoppers and enliven the assembly of grocery stores, butcher shops, and restaurants that line Ninth Street in South Philadelphia.
On Jan. 1, the business-district association takes control of the market’s iconic, outdoor rows of wooden stands.
Traditional merchants are suffering a 6 percent disadvantage over their Internet-only competitors this holiday season.
Though the Supreme Court recently affirmed the right of states to tax online purchases made by state residents, it really didn’t help small-business owners.
Online appliance sellers routinely boast they sell appliances free of sales tax and often offer free delivery on big-ticket items despite a requirement that Internet merchants collect the 6 percent sales tax on anything they sell for use in Pennsylvania, said Brian Sutton, part owner of Maidencreek TV & Appliance in Maidencreek Township.
“They do it all the time,” Sutton said. “We’ve been dealing with this for years.”
English: A bottle of Heinz ketchup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
McDonald’s is moving to clear Heinz ketchup out of its system.
The restaurateur this week confirmed that it has started the process of moving to other vendors, following the appointment of former Burger King Worldwide CEO Bernardo Hees to run Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz Co. Mr. Hees also serves as vice chairman of the board of Miami-based Burger King.
“As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time,” according to a statement from Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s.
The decision appears to put an end to a years-long push by Heinz officials to regain ground with the restaurant giant that operates more than 34,000 locations around the globe, although most American customers buying Big Macs aren’t getting Heinz ketchup with their fries anyway.
Map of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries will cut about 5,000 jobs, 10 percent of its workforce, accelerating a cost-cutting plan as it prepares for lower-priced competition for its best-selling drug.
Teva, the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, said it expects to save about $2 billion a year by the end of 2017.
In May, the company announced plans to close its West Rockhill Township manufacturing plant in 2017, eliminating more than 450 jobs there and dealing a significant blow to northern Bucks County‘s employment base.
Teva is the Pennridge-area’s second-largest employer after Grand View Hospital.
Headquarters of the insurance company in Pittsburgh, , . Address 120 Fifth Ave., Downtown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Pennsylvania Insurance Department today gave conditional approval for insurer Highmark Inc. to affiliate with the financially ailing West Penn Allegheny Health System, laying the foundation for Highmark’s plans to establish an integrated health care delivery system to compete with UPMC.
Insurance commissioner Michael Consedine, in a release announcing the decision, said, “Our goal from the outset was to have a comprehensive, transparent review in order to make a fully informed and well-founded determination. We have met that goal.”
In statement, Gov. Tom Corbett said “the goals for the commonwealth are to improve health care access, quality and affordability. Today’s decision is an important step toward making these goals a reality in Western Pennsylvania.”
The airline industry took a decisive step toward greater concentration on Thursday with the announcement that American Airlines and US Airways had agreed to merge, forming the nation’s biggest airline. The merged airline, to be called American, leaves just three major carriers — Delta Air Lines and United Airlines too — able to offer extensive domestic and international service, a sharp contraction over the last decade.
But while airline executives argue that mergers are good for passengers because they bring more service to more destinations, some economists and consumer advocates warn that all this consolidation comes at a price for travelers.
With fewer carriers, passengers have fewer options; fares and fees are now more likely to go up, particularly for flights between midsize cities. And more cities, especially smaller ones, can expect to see further reductions in service.
“It’s much easier to have tacit collusion with just three airlines,” said George Hoffer, a transportation economist at the University of Richmond. “It’s not illegal. But it’s like having a few big people in a small boat. Anyone’s decisions tie you all together.”
English: , U.S. Attorney, Governor-elect of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
TRENTON – Gov. Christie hasn’t held a news conference about it, and his treasurer has refused to testify on it. But the Republican governor is close to privatizing the bulk of a $2.8 billion New Jersey institution.
Following a national trend already under way in Pennsylvania, Christie is negotiating a 15-year contract with a company to operate the state lottery in an effort to increase sales, thereby building more revenue for schools and state institutions.
Like Pennsylvania’s Republican Gov. Corbett, Christie bypassed the Legislature, much to its chagrin, in bidding out the system. And like Pennsylvania, New Jersey got just one bid in response to its request for proposals.
Unlike in Pennsylvania, where the pending contract was ultimately posted online and must be submitted for approval to the Democratic attorney general, New Jersey’s lottery bid is not public. Christie could just sign a contract in the next two months.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
State and federal authorities want to block Reading Health System’s acquisition of a competitor, a move they say would harm local consumers by reducing competition.
State Attorney General Linda Kelly and the Federal Trade Commission announced Friday that they will ask a federal judge on Monday for an injunction to stop the deal for Surgical Institute of Reading LP, Spring Township.
“The proposed acquisition would result in substantially higher prices for many kinds of medical procedures,” Kelly said in a statement. “It would be bad not just for patients but also for employers in the Reading area.”
The FTC also has issued an administrative complaint, initiating a proceeding that will determine the legality of the deal.
Kraft Foods plans to cut 1,600 positions from its North American division this year as it prepares to split into two companies, but no Lehigh Valley jobs will be lost, the packaged foods giant announced Tuesday.
Kraft said the cuts will not hit production facilities. The company has a 1-million-square-foot plant in Upper Macungie where it makes Grey Poupon mustard, A-1 Steak Sauce, T-Discs for the Tassimo hot beverage maker, natural cheese products.
The Northfield, Illinois company also has a distribution center in Bethlehem Township.
The company said no Lehigh Valley jobs are targeted in this round of cost-cutting. However, all facilities will be reviewed once the split is complete, it said.
Ten Delaware Valley underperforming supermarkets are closing shortly due to competition from Super Walmart stores.
The two stores closing closest to Pottstown are the Lionville Superfresh in Chester County and the Saucon Valley Pathmark. Saucon Valley is an area south of Allentown and Bethlehem. Other stores are mostly in New Jersey with one in Delaware and one in Yardley PA.
Superfresh and Pathmark are union operations and offer better wages and benefits than Walmart. The store closings will put 600 people out of work.
Robbins stated he is glad to still be in business considering big names like Jack Kellmer, Bailey, Banks & Biddle and Caldwell’s have closed. There are still 37 stores left on Jewelers Row in Philadelphia.