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Highmark website to update negotiations

Highmark Inc. opened a new front in its war of words with UPMC.

The Downtown-based insurer launched a website that it says provides information on its stalled negotiations with UPMC and its efforts to prop up West Penn Allegheny Health System, according to a statement from Highmark.

"Highmark is committed to preserving health care choice in Western Pennsylvania," said Deborah Rice, an executive vice president.

The website, highmarkchoicematters.com , tells Highmark members that they will continue to have access to UPMC hospitals, doctors and other facilities through until June 30, 2013, a year after the contract between the region's largest insurer and provider expires.

Highmark said its proposed $475 million acquisition of West Penn Allegheny, Pittsburgh's second largest hospital system behind UPMC, is an meant "to improve the quality of care they provide while making it more affordable and accessible."

UPMC officials did not respond to a request for comment.

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