Highmark, Pittsburgh medical center extend contract and continue court battle

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 11, 2012

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Pittsburgh-based Blues plan Highmark and the region’s largest health system, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, announced a deal May 2 to extend current contracts through Dec. 31, 2014, after months of threats by both sides to stop working together because of perceived unfair business practices and competition.

However, UPMC filed a lawsuit on May 23 in the U.S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania, alleging that Highmark and UPMC’s smaller competitor, West-Penn Allegheny Health System, have engaged in years of anti-competitive behavior in violation of federal antitrust laws. The most recent “rash of anti-competitive behavior,” as the lawsuit characterizes it, stems from Highmark’s acquisition of WPAHS. Highmark announced in November 2011 that it will buy WPAHS pending regulatory approval.

UPMC characterized the lawsuit as a “legally required response” to WPAHS’ refusal to ask a court to shelve a pending federal antitrust case it filed against UPMC and Highmark in 2009.

At this article’s deadline, Highmark had not filed a response to the suit.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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