Judge: UPMC's 5-year deal with Highmark can't be extended
The signs marking the offices for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, UPMC, are seen on top of the U.S. Steel tower on Monday, April 3, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
(Harrisburg) — A Pennsylvania judge says a 5-year-old agreement involving two Pittsburgh-based health care conglomerates can’t be extended through litigation past its June 30 expiration date.
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson said in a decision issued Friday that a modification clause in the 2014 consent decree involving UPMC and Highmark can’t be used to get around the deal’s explicit end date.
Simpson was directed to consider the issue by the state Supreme Court, and it’s likely the justices will have the final say.
The end of the consent decree is expected to trigger higher costs for Highmark insurance customers who use UPMC’s vast network.
Highmark and the attorney general’s office want to extend the agreement, while UPMC is opposed.