Law360 (February 21, 2019, 6:52 PM EST) — The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hit back Thursday at
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s efforts to force the hospital and insurance network back to negotiations with Highmark Inc., claiming in state and federal court that Shapiro overstepped his bounds by trying to modify consent decrees governing the two companies’ relationship.
UPMC filed a motion to dismiss Shapiro’s petition to Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court seeking to extend the consent decrees that gave some Highmark insurance customers cheaper, in-network access to UPMC hospitals past the decrees’ June 30, 2019, expiration date, along with a complaint in federal court claiming Shapiro had violated the law by trying to interfere with how UPMC managed its federal Medicare Advantage programs.
“General Shapiro’s proposed ‘modification’ is a misnomer as it repudiates the central terms of the consent decree — including the parties’ express termination date and the lack of full in-network contracts between UPMC and Highmark,” UPMC’s memorandum supporting the motion to dismiss says. “General Shapiro cannot ‘modify’ an agreement in a way that binds UPMC and Highmark, forever, in a way contrary to the original purpose of the consent decree.”