PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Gov. 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 attorney general on Monday filed a motion in court to force the two sides into binding arbitration.
The attorney general alleges there is confusion and uncertainty for consumers, mostly seniors, and that both sides have refused to comply with the consent degree, which was signed last June.
The AG’s Office says the most vulnerable are 180,000 seniors and people with cancer.
UPMC says in January it is canceling Highmark’s Medicare advantage in-network access because Highmark unilaterally breached a contract and owes UPMC $143 million for cancer treatments.
In a written statement, Highmark said:
“It’s important that the state enforce the consent decree and protect vulnerable populations like seniors, and we think the governor’s statement with regard to UPMC’s decisions against seniors speak for itself. There needs to be certainty in the marketplace and the confusion must end.”
UPMC released this statement:
“While UPMC agrees with the allegation as to Highmark, a careful review clearly demonstrates there’s no substance or legal basis for any of the Commonwealth’s misinformed claims against UPMC. The termination of UPMC agreements with Highmark will not harm seniors.”
Gov. Wolf disagrees.
He said, “I believe arbitration will bring stability to the marketplace. I am hopeful that we can find a solution that suits both sides, but most importantly one that puts the consumer first.”
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