UPMC Petition
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The attorney general's office announced legal action against UPMC for violating Pennsylvania's charity laws. In a petition filed Thursday in the Commonwealth Court, Attorney General Josh Shapiro requested modifications to the consent decrees that maintain the relationship between UPMC and Highmark, according to a release to the media. The petition requests that modifications be imposed to protect and promote the public interest by making sure UPMC abides by its charitable obligations to the state. �Our petition today has a simple goal to restore fairness to the health care system In western Pennsylvania and promote the public interest by ensuring patient access to affordable care and facilities which they have funded through their tax dollars," Shapiro said at a news conference in Pittsburgh on Thursday afternoon. �As the chief law enforcement officer for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is my constitutional mandate to ensure that charitable organizations like UPMC comply with our laws governing their conduct. We have concluded that UPMC is not fulfilling its obligation as a public charity." UPMC and Highmark are two of the largest health care providers and insurers in western Pennsylvania. In 2014, the commonwealth intervened as competition between the two entities escalated, threatening to harm the public by causing higher medical fees for some. Consent decrees were established to govern how the two organizations would interact in order to protect the public interest. These decrees are set to expire at the end of June. Highmark agreed to proposed modifications that would bring both organizations into compliance, and UPMC did not. The petition filed by Shapiro specifically asks the Commonwealth Court to. Enable open and affordable access to UPMC's health care services and products through negotiated contracts with any health plan Require last, best offer arbitration Commonly known as baseball arbitration when contract negotiations between insurers and providers fail Protect against UPMC's unjust enrichment by prohibiting excessive and unreasonable billing practices inconsistent with its status as a nonprofit charity providing health care to the public. "Given the effect this dispute between UPMC and Highmark is having on Pennsylvanians, and the imminent expiration of the existing consent decree, we are asking the court to take action," said Shapiro. "These changes are absolutely necessary to prevent UPMC from inflicting further harm on the public by forsaking its charitable obligations in pursuit of commercial success."