2018 was a historic year for UPMC Cole, as it brought us an affiliation with Pittsburgh-based UPMC to provide greater access to specialty health care for those in our community.

In my long career in health-care leadership, I’ve seen great change in the delivery of services. While positive change — such as UPMC’s commitment to Coudersport, Pa. — is welcome, it may also be confusing at times. I’d like to take a moment to clarify a question that we hear often involving health insurance plans accepted at UPMC Cole.

UPMC Cole continues to accept many insurance plans, among them Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield for all services, including cancer care. The questions we’ve received relate to an impending change in the greater Pittsburgh and Erie areas that will take effect July 1. Most UPMC facilities and physicians in those areas will no longer be in network, with a few exceptions related to specialized services.

In this region, the UPMC hospitals in Wellsboro, Coudersport, Kane and Jamestown in New York will continue to be in-network for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield members after June 30.

We look forward to continuing to care for all of our patients in 2019 and beyond. To learn more about full, in-network access to UPMC doctors and hospitals, call our toll-free help line at (855) 646-8762 or visit UPMC.com/Choice2019.

Ed Pitchford, president UPMC Cole Coudersport, Pa.