Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The West Penn Allegheny Health System has filed suit against UPMC and Highmark Inc. claiming the two have, “conspired to protect one another from competition.” In the suit filed in federal court Tuesday West Penn says the conspiracy resulted in, “an increasingly exploited Pittsburgh Community” which has “suffered rising health care costs.” In a written statement West Penn board Chair David McClenahan says, “We believe that for several years UPMC and Highmark have engaged in mutual back-scratching designed to preserve Highmark’s monopoly in health insurance and to permit UPMC to build a monopoly in sophisticated tertiary and quaternary health care in this region.” McClenahan goes on to say the result is a threat to the quality and cost of health care in the region. In 2006 West Penn Allegheny filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice over what it felt was an unfair collusion between the entities. That complaint is still being investigated by the DOJ. UPMC and Highmark are expected to issue statements later today.