TribLIVE

| Business


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

UPMC wants Highmark to drop lawsuit

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

Thursday, June 27, 2013, 6:24 p.m.
 

UPMC wants a federal judge in Pittsburgh to order Highmark to drop a lawsuit that accuses the hospital network of using its market power to stifle once-ailing West Penn Allegheny Health System.

West Penn Allegheny originally sued UPMC and Highmark in 2009 alleging they had conspired to drive it out of business. Once Highmark agreed to buy West Penn Allegheny in November 2011, the five-hospital system dropped Highmark from the suit but continued claims against UPMC.

Highmark agreed to end the lawsuit once it acquired West Penn Allegheny. That agreement was part of a deal with UPMC last year that allowed members of the state's largest health insurer to have in-network access to the hospital and its doctors until the end of 2014.

“Approximately two months have passed (since the acquisition closed), and Highmark has still not complied with its obligations,” UPMC wrote in a filing on Thursday in the court of U.S. District Court Judge Joy Flowers Conti.

“As a result of Highmark's failure to comply with the terms of the settlement agreement, UPMC asks the court to enforce the terms of the agreement.”

Highmark, which received state approval to acquire West Penn Allegheny for $1.1 billion at the end of April, responded that “both organizations agreed to dismiss certain legal actions,” but UPMC is trying to continue a countersuit it filed against Highmark and West Penn Allegheny last year.

“While Highmark Health Services stands ready to comply with the mediation agreement, UPMC refuses to abide by the agreement so that it can continue its antitrust lawsuit against Highmark and continue to harass Highmark for standing up to UPMC and for trying to preserve health care competition in the region,” according to a statement from the insurer.

Highmark and UPMC, the largest hospital network in Western Pennsylvania, have been locked in battle since June 2011 when the insurer said it was planning to buy West Penn Allegheny, UPMC's chief rival. UPMC has refused to renew the reimbursement contracts with Highmark that expire at the end of 2014 because it says the insurer has converted itself into a direct competitor in the hospital business.

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or anixon@tribweb.com.

Add Alex Nixon to your Google+ circles.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Consol Energy cutting retiree health benefits, phasing out pension
  2. Stocks slammed as manufacturing slows in U.S., abroad
  3. LNG exports get federal approval from Dominion’s Cove Point terminal
  4. EPA says greenhouse gas releases from wells, pipelines decline
  5. Hospitals, doctors in Pa. received $32M in 5 months from drug, medical device companies
  6. Google Pittsburgh instrumental in fight against hackers, co-directors say
  7. Retirement planning is about more than just money
  8. Study: Wellness programs don't save money, but employee health improves
  9. Western Pa. unemployment rate holds steady in August
  10. Cranberry-based Prodigo Solutions: Hospitals can reduce high supply costs
  11. Education spending helps to widen wealth gap
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.