Tag: news

New UPMC policy causing concern for patients, pharmacies

A new UPMC policy is causing concern for a lot of patients and pharmacies.

UPMC, along with its pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, sent a letter to patients in UPMC’s essential pharmacy network notifying them that they had to change pharmacies at the beginning of 2023.

This impacts companies with up to 50 employees and individuals who have insurance through Pennie — the online insurance marketplace in Pennsylvania.

Many patients like Dana Barone are very upset. Now, she can’t go to the pharmacy she’s been using for more than 40 years.

“It’s part of our community. We know we can count on them. I panicked,” Barone said. “Because it is so convenient. We’re right down over the hill. My parents are here, so it’s convenient for them as well.”

She is one of many patients who now has more limited access to get her medication. She has to travel farther to a different pharmacy, such as Walmart, Sam’s club, Giant Eagle or Rite Aid.

“The tragedy of it is, I, as the owner of the store, I’m also in that network. So I got a letter saying that I can no longer get prescriptions filled at my own pharmacy,” said Kevin Evancic, the owner of Pleasant Hills Apothecary. “That’s how crazy it is that UPMC has carved out and given nobody a choice.”

Patrick Lavella, the president of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association and owner of Hilltop Pharmacy in Allentown, said this change impacts hundreds of independent pharmacies plus CVS, Walgreens and Costco’s across the state.

He said they will lose customers and explained why this hurts hundreds of thousands of patients who are being pushed to use primarily big chain pharmacies.

“We know these patients. We know what the issues are. We know what their health problems are,” Lavella said.

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Ukraine news: Canadian medic killed, family confirms

A Canadian medic serving in Ukraine has been killed in action, according to his family, and is being mourned by members of Ukraine’s foreign legion.

Gregory Tsekhmistrenko was working with Ukraine’s Black Team in Bakhmut, a city in the eastern region of Donetsk, when he was killed in an assault that saw several others wounded by the Wagner Group, Russia’s notorious mercenary force.

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) initially declined to give CTV News official confirmation of his death on Monday, citing security concerns. But in a followup email on Tuesday, a department spokesperson said GAC “is aware of the death of a Canadian citizen.”

“We are in contact with local authorities and with the family and are providing consular services,” the statement said. “Due to privacy considerations, no further information can be disclosed.”

On Monday, CTV News was able to speak to two other Canadian members of the foreign legion, and Tsekhmistrenko’s sister Alisa Suprunova over social media, to confirm his death.

In a series of messages to CTV News, Suprunova confirmed that he was killed by Wagner in the battle for Bakhmut. She found out about her brother’s death from consolation messages appearing on his Instagram page, and further details from members of his unit.

American journalist Nicholas Laidlaw, who previously interviewed Tsekhmistrenko, paid tribute to him online, along with other Ukrainian and Canadian soldiers, saying he was “the type of man whose personality and commitment to duty was something myself and many others admired.”

Laidlaw told CTV News in a series of messages Sunday that he was in contact with Tsekhmistrenko’s unit commander, who told him that the Black Team was “up all night” trying to recover his body.

CTV News is unable to independently verify this information

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From the archives: When traveling, seek experiences, not sites

You can’t flip through a magazine or scroll social media today without being confronted with a list: “10 places to see before you die!”, “15 secret vacation destinations,” “5 beaches that will blow your mind.”

But what’s in a list?

In 2015. Christine Sarkis, a Smarter Travel staff writer, said she’d rather ditch the bucket list.

“A travel list isn’t like a grocery list, it’s not a ‘sit down and get it done’ thing,” Sarkis told MPR News host Kerri Miller. “It’s a constant, evolving process.”

Seth Kugel, travel columnist for The New York Times, agreed.

“The idea of having a list is great, but what goes on that list, maybe we should change that: It should be experiences instead of places,” Kugel said.

This is a encouraging and fun deep track from our archives, which will hopefully put you in the mood for this Friday’s Big Books and Bold Ideas show. It’s a conversation with novelist Ann Hood about her new memoir, “Fly Girl,” which chronicles her experiences as a flight attendant during a more glamorous, and sexist, era.


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