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Wolf, AG ask court to enforce UPMC, Highmark consent decree

Written by The Associated Press | Apr 27, 2015 2:51 PM
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Photo by AP Photo/Marc Levy

Former Governor Tom Corbett speaks, as Attorney General Kathleen Kane, right, and Health Secretary Michael Wolf during a news conference Friday, June 27, 2014, at the Capitol in Harrisburg. Corbett and Kane announced details of an agreement to allow some Highmark insurance enrollees under certain conditions to continue using its doctors and facilities at in-network rates under a consent decree filed in court, after a long and bitter fight between the two western Pennsylvania health care giants.

(Harrisburg) -- Governor Tom Wolf and the state attorney general want the Commonwealth Court to force the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and rival Highmark Inc. to honor a consent decree and force the sparring medical giants into arbitration to settle lingering disputes.

The move comes after UPMC canceled its Medicare contract with rival Highmark, which could cause about 180,000 seniors in western Pennsylvania to lose in-network access to UPMC hospitals and doctors next year.

UPMC says Highmark had refused to pay contracted rates at the Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside, while Highmark says UPMC was trying to force the insurer to drop litigation over cancer drug price increases.

The consent decree is a state-mediated agreement to protect customers after UPMC refused to extend its in-network provider agreement with Highmark effective Jan. 1.

Highmark and UPMC didn't immediately comment.

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