Attorney General Josh Shapiro taking a stand today against healthcare giant UPMC.
Shapiro announcing today his office filed a legal challenge that questions whether UPMC is fulfilling its obligation as a tax-free public charity.
The petition was filed today in Commonwealth Court, asking the courts to force UPMC to play fair.
Shapiro making the announcement today, saying the petition asks the court to modify the decree UPMC Highmark agreed to four years ago.
In 2014, the Commonwealth stepped in, that’s when a consent decree was negotiated. That agreement required each healthcare system provided in-network services to the patients who carried insurance cards issued by each other. That consent decree runs out on June 30th of this year.
Highmark officials agreed to the new modifications; UPMC did not.
Shapiro touched on the three modifications requested:
1. Require UPMC and Highmark to work together
2. Ensure fairness for Pennsylvania taxpayers
3. Protect access for all patients
Shapiro says, “given the effect this dispute is having on Pennsylvanians and the imminent expiration of the existing consent decree, we will be asking the court for timely relief modifications… necessary to prevent UPMC from inflicting further harm on the public by forsaking its charitable obligations in pursuit of commercial success.”
Shapiro also saying today that UPMC can come back to the table and agree to the modifications like Highmark did and put an end to this legal challenge. If they don’t, the AG’s office will pursue the claims that the heathcare provider and insurance company is not living up to the requirements of state law and, therefore, should not be tax exempt.
UPMC Spokesman Paul Wood responding to the announcement today, saying, in part, that during the transition, “… the region’s Insurance Marketplace transformed from one ofthe nation’s most highly concentrated and least competitive to one of the most competitive and pro-consumer markets in the nation with some of the lowest-cost health plans available anywhere.”