- A federal judge has dismissed UPMC's lawsuit against Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, which was filed in response to Shapiro's push (and separate lawsuit) to get the health provider and insurer to contract with its rival Highmark. UPMC alleged Shapiro was overstepping his authority and in violation of federal law.
- Pennsylvania District Court Judge John E. Jones said in a filing Wednesday that UPMC failed in its complaint to establish a threat of harm. "UPMC has failed entirely to demonstrate that said threat is 'real' rather than 'uncertain' or 'contingent,'" he wrote.
- In a statement on Twitter, Shapiro said UPMC's lawsuit was filed as a means to intimidate his office. "We didn't back down, we weren't intimidated, and just now a federal judge dismissed their suit," he said. UPMC did not immediately respond to Healthcare Dive's request for comment.
The ruling represents another legal letdown for UPMC. Last week, a federal judge in Alabama struck down the system's attempts to join a years-long lawsuit challenging the way Blue Cross Blue Shield plans operate.
UPMC, the dominant medical provider in western Pennsylvania, has alleged that it is barred from contracting with out-of-state Blues plans because it has failed to reach an agreement with its homestate Blues plan, in this case Highmark.
The system was seeking to join the federal antitrust case in Alabama so it could attempt to stop the Blues plans from enforcing their own market allocation agreements. The plans responded and said it was too late for UPMC to join the legal battle.
UPMC and Highmark are at odds over an in-network contract agreement. The relationship is so contentious the state helped administer an agreement, or consent decree, between them two years ago. That decree is set to expire in June. At stake is access to healthcare services for western Pennsylvanians.