Judge vows to move fast ahead of July 1 UPMC-Highmark split

Mark Scolforo
Associated Press
Construction at the new UPMC Memorial Hospital in West Manchester Township is on track for the projected August opening.
Thursday, May 29, 2019
John A. Pavoncello photo

HARRISBURG – A Pennsylvania judge plans to rule in a couple weeks about whether and how a five-year consent decree that’s about to expire between two mammoth health care providers and the attorney general’s office can be modified.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson on Friday scheduled a two-day hearing about the future of the fraught business relationship Highmark and UPMC.

The state Supreme Court earlier this week asked for the proceedings, and it’s all but certain that the justices will review whatever Simpson determines.

The consent decree the companies signed in 2014 is set to expire at the end of June, triggering higher costs for Highmark insurance customers who get treatment at UPMC’s vast network in western Pennsylvania.

Simpson says he hopes to rule by June 14.