West Penn Allegheny Health System said it would abandon claims against Highmark that the insurer conspired with a rival health system to restrain competition in Pittsburgh. The move, filed by West Penn Allegheny in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh (PDF), is one of the latest twists in a contentious and highly public competition for Pittsburgh's healthcare market.
West Penn dropping claims against Highmark
The court filing came a day before a scheduled announcement on negotiations for Highmark to acquire West Penn Allegheny, a deal first announced in June. Highmark poured $50 million into West Penn Allegheny, which has struggled though a turnaround effort and lost $51.7 million on operations in fiscal 2011 before the insurer's cash infusion.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center—the rival system that allegedly conspired with Highmark, the West Penn Allegheny lawsuit claims—broke off negotiations to renew Highmark's contract once the insurer began talks with West Penn. Highmark went to court to halt advertising by UPMC over the breakup.
West Penn Allegheny moved to dismiss Highmark after allegations were dismissed by a judge, reinstated a year later by the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals and then brought by the defendants to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court declined to review the case last month.
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