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Judge: UPMC's 5-year deal with Highmark can't be extended

June 14, 2019 News Extra

HARRISBURG — A 5-year-old agreement between two Pittsburgh-based health care conglomerates can't be extended through litigation past its June 30 expiration date, a Pennsylvania judge said Friday.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson wrote that a clause in the 2014 consent decree involving UPMC and Highmark can't be used to get around the deal's explicit end date.

The end of the consent decree will trigger higher costs for Highmark insurance customers who use UPMC's vast network.

Simpson wrote that “the modification provision was not intended to nullify the short, specific, unambiguous termination/expiration provision,” calling that element of the decree “a core principle of the agreement” that was expressly negotiated.

Highmark and the attorney general's office have sought to extend the agreement, while UPMC has been staunchly opposed.

This is an excerpt. Pick up The Sunday Eagle print edition for more of this story.