The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center disclosed in a financial filing posted on its Web site that it received an information request last August from the U.S. Justice Department related to an investigation into (the) health insurance and hospital services market in and around Pittsburgh including any potentially anti-competitive agreements. The request covered several prior years but no specific violations, claims or assessments have been made, according to the disclosure. UPMC management said it was cooperating with the request and believes that the matter will be resolved without any material adverse effect on UPMCs financial position or results of operations.
UPMC spokesman Frank Raczkiewicz said in an e-mail that the Justice Departments attention was not surprising in light of several recent developments in the Pittsburgh marketespecially after some very vociferous and widely publicized complaints by one of our primary competitors. Those developments include the recently announced approval of UPMCs acquisition of Mercy of Pittsburgh and the proposed merger of Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Pittsburgh and Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia. West Penn Allegheny Health System had publicly opposed the merger of Mercy and UPMC, and has also complained that Highmark reimburses UPMC more for the same services.
Separately, West Penn Allegheny received a civil investigative demand in January and provided the information requested, said Tom Chakurda, a West Penn Allegheny spokesman. Chakurda declined to comment on UPMCs allegations regarding West Penn Alleghenys complaints. -- by Cinda Becker
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