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UPMC workers' compensation unit drops claim in Western Psych shooting

| Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

The workers' compensation arm of health care giant UPMC will not seek to be reimbursed for the medical treatment of victims of the shooting at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

An attorney for UPMC Work Partners said in a letter sent last week to the four employees wounded in the March 8, 2012, shooting spree that it has dropped its claim for a piece of the victims' $500,000 settlement with State Farm, the company that provided a renter's insurance policy to the shooter, John Shick.

Shick, 30, killed a therapist and wounded four others at Western Psych in Oakland before police shot and killed him.

In May, UPMC Work Partners said it intended to collect more than $200,000 from each of the victims as reimbursement for benefits and medical bills.

Victims of the shooting opposed paying the reimbursement, saying in court documents that a UPMC executive visited them in the hospital and told them UPMC would pay their medical bills. They argued that they never received notice that their claims were covered by workers' compensation.

Lawyers for the victims declined to comment or did not return calls on Friday. UPMC spokeswoman Susan Manko could not be reached.

At least part of the money UPMC Work Partners sought would have come from the $500,000 insurance settlement, which Allegheny County Common Pleas Judges R. Stanton Wettick and Lawrence O'Toole approved last month.

An arbitrator is expected to determine within 45 days how much money each victim will receive.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-391-0927.

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