Judge rules UPMC-Highmark agreement can’t be extended

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — A state judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that a state-brokered consent decree between health care rivals UPMC and Highmark cannot be extended beyond the end of June.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro has sought to modify and extend the five-year agreement that gives Highmark members in-network access to UPMC hospitals and physicians.

Judge Robert Simpson said Wednesday that the state Supreme Court has already decided that the June 30 expiration date is an “unambiguously and material term of the consent decree.”

He said the court couldn’t extend it without consent of parties since Shapiro isn’t pleading “fraud, accident or mistake.” A spokesman said Shapiro will appeal to the state’s highest court.

The Highmark-UPMC business relationship had been about to end when Republican governor Tom Corbett brokered the consent decree in 2014.
 

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