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Answers still elusive

| Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

During the recent Connellsville City Council meeting, we misspoke when we said the director of the Fayette County Behavioral Health Administration signed the contract with Uniontown Hospital and Value Behavioral Health. She verbally approved the contract. We stand corrected.

Our position remains that false information to a contracted payor (VBH) was given about Highlands Hospital and that the verbal agreement was not admitted to until five months after many requests for an explanation.

We would like to address several points that Fayette County Commissioner Al Ambrosini made.

He stated that the state mandates two inpatient providers per county. There are many counties in the state that have no hospital at all and about 18 with only one hospital. So that mandate makes no sense.

He also stated that the county does not negotiate rates with providers. When we contact VBH to renegotiate our rates, we are told to contact the county. Again, we're simply asking who do we have to go to for answers?

Highlands has an exemplary record, according to the Pennsylvania DPW Quality Review Report of April 12. We are one of only two hospitals in 13 counties to be labeled a Value Selected Program due to our performance in length of stay and readmissions.

So if it's not our performance record or how many facilities are needed per county, we can only conclude that Uniontown was awarded a contract in an attempt to close our doors.

Finally, if being “emotional” about the possibility of losing our jobs is politicizing, then call us guilty.

Marcy Ozorowski

& Karen Blocker

Connellsville

The writers are Highlands Hospital employees.

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