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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Healthcare giant UPMC has filed a class action lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Attorney General alleging his lawsuit breaks federal law.
The suit filed in U.S. District Court alleges Attorney General Josh Shapiro has “illegally taken over nonprofit healthcare in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
This comes after the Attorney General announced he wants the consent decree between UPMC and Highmark extended.
UPMC said today in its late-day filing that the Attorney General is trying to determine “how nonprofit healthcare organizations should envision and achieve their missions.”
A spokesperson for the Attorney General Office had a much different take saying they are trying to protect the patients of the region.
UPMC filed motions in three separate courts Thursday, including Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, to dismiss the Attorney General’s petition to modify the consent decree between UPMC and Highmark that expires June 30th.
UPMC’s 53-page federal lawsuit claims Attorney General Josh Shapiro is, in essence, asking the two nonprofits to enter into insurance contracts to which Shapiro is dictating the terms, according to the UPMC. UPMC also said in the suit this is a violation of its rights and threatens its financial viability.
Members of Allegheny County Council have also responded to the soon-to-be-expired UPMC/Highmark Consent Decree saying they are concerned about the ending of the decree and the access to quality and affordable health care in the region.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General’s Office released this strongly worded statement today: saying “We seek a resolution that protects patients – not a continuation of the protracted conflict and bickering that has impacted Western Pennsylvania for many years. We’re very confident in our petition filed in Commonwealth Court, are not intimidated by these court filings, and look forward to making our case on behalf of health care consumers who are getting an unfair deal from UPMC.”
The Attorney General’s Office feels a new consent decree between Highmark and UPMC must be renegotiated or a new decree must be drawn up for fear patients would be denied access to doctors they normally see. The Attorney General’s Office also said tonight by phone they won’t take this motion filed today lying down and they plan to vigorously fight it.