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Appeals court lets West Penn lawsuit proceed


By Melanie Evans
Posted: November 30, 2010 - 3:30 pm ET
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West Penn Allegheny Health System's antitrust lawsuit against a rival health system and insurer Highmark will continue after an appeals court overturned a decision to throw it out. The decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an October 2009 decision to dismiss the lawsuit, which alleged the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Highmark conspired to protect one another from competition.

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“We're disappointed with today's Appellate Court decision and we are considering our options,” Paul Wood, a spokesman for UPMC, said in an e-mailed statement. Wood rejected West Penn Allegheny's allegations and said they had “no legal or factual basis.” Highmark spokesman Michael Weinstein said in an e-mailed statement the insurer will vigorously fight the allegations and “believes it will prevail on its merits.” Weinstein called the insurer's payments to West Penn Allegheny “fair and appropriate” and said Highmark and the system entered into a five-year agreement in 2008 and the insurer has also provided continuing support for the system.

West Penn Allegheny declined to comment on the decision.

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