Law360 (May 31, 2019, 8:35 PM EDT) — The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center told the Commonwealth Court Friday that its rival Highmark Health can’t join in UPMC’s debate with the Pennsylvania Attorney General over the agreement keeping them together, since the two health care giants had separately negotiated their sides of the deal with the state.
UPMC’s lawyers filed a motion Friday seeking to exclude Highmark’s testimony from a hearing scheduled for June 10-11 in Harrisburg, which will weigh what the parties’ intent was five years ago when they agreed to keep UPMC hospitals and doctors in-network for some Highmark patients and whether the state has the power to extend and modify that agreement as Attorney General Josh Shapiro has requested.
UPMC argued that no one at Highmark could know what UPMC’s motivations and intentions were if they weren’t in the room when the deal was reached.
“The commonwealth separately negotiated independent consent decrees with each of UPMC and Highmark,” the motion says. “Highmark was not a party to the UPMC/commonwealth negotiations and has no firsthand personal knowledge of the contracting intent of either UPMC or the commonwealth concerning the UPMC/commonwealth consent decree.”
UPMC asked that the court preclude Highmark from offering any testimony or presenting any testimony at the hearing on the “narrow issue” of the meaning and scope of the agreements’ modification provisions, which Shapiro has cited in asking the court to extend the agreements and make the two Pittsburgh-based insurance and health care providers stick together to keep the region’s biggest hospital network affordable for customers of its biggest Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer.