PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — UPMC and Highmark have reached a tentative agreement to end their lawsuits against each other.

This is the end to very contentious litigation between the two sides.

However, this does not have any impact on Highmark subscribers who want access to UPMC.

UPMC confirms that a judge ordered UPMC and Highmark attorneys to come up with an agreement, and told them they couldn’t leave the courthouse Wednesday without one.

KDKA’s Marty Griffin Reports:

So, after a few hours, both sides tentatively agreed to drop four years of litigation.

One had sued the other, claiming anti-trust violations.

It took four years, a lot of paperwork and a lot of legal fees. UPMC confirms it will have little or no impact on consumers.

“It brought to an end something that was started about 18 months ago when Gov. Corbett intervened and extended the contract between Highmark and UPMC,” said UPMC spokesman Paul Wood. “One of the provisions and clauses was that all litigation between Highmark and UPMC would end upon Highmark’s acquisition of West Penn. So, finally after 18 months, we’ve reached that point where all of the litigation is now ending.”

KDKA’s Marty Griffin Reports:

The agreement for Highmark subscribers to use UPMC doctors and facilities still ends at the end of next year.

A Highmark spokesman tells KDKA’s Marty Griffin that this in no way addresses the much broader issue for patient access to UPMC.

The spokesman says Highmark stands ready to negotiate a long-term agreement.

Meanwhile, Wood and Rich Lord, who has been following the story for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, joined KDKA Radio’s Bill Rehkopf on the Afternoon News to give an updated on the agreement.

Rehkopf asked Wood if this was something he considered good news.

“This is very good news. We do indeed have an agreement in principal and it ends all antitrust lawsuits between Highmark West Penn and UPMC,” he said.

Lord has followed this story from the beginning and wrote about the agreement Wednesday. He was able to shed a light on how long this case has been drawn out.

“For four years both sides have been trotting out these huge legal teams for hearing after hearing, conference after conference,” he said.

U.S. District Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti’s reasoning for the meeting stemming back from a mediated agreement from 2012 that was supposed to lead to the legal disarmament of these filings.

You can hear the whole interview here:

You can also listen to the Afternoon News with Bill Rehkopf weekdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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