Highmark pushes to keep UPMC deal confidential

Highmark has asked a federal judge to allow it to re-enter an antitrust case so it can ensure its recent deal with the UPMC hospital system remains sealed and confidential.

West Penn Allegheny Health System originally sued Highmark and UPMC for allegedly conspiring to stifle competition and force it out of business. However, West Penn dropped Highmark from the suit after the insurer decided to buy the failing hospital system for $475 million, reported the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Meanwhile, Highmark reached an agreement with UPMC in early May to extend their contract through 2014. That agreement, in which Highmark said it would drop West Penn's antitrust lawsuit after it assumes control of the hospital system, was filed under seal as one of the exhibits UPMC filed with its motion in the antitrust lawsuit, according to the Associated Press.

To keep its contract deal with UPMC confidential, Highmark wants a federal judge to let it back into the case, allowing it to argue against a media request to make the agreement public.

"Because of the confidential and propriety nature of this agreement, Highmark's position is that the portions already filed and placed under seal by the court should be maintained in confidence," Highmark's lawyers wrote in their motion to intervene, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Highmark believes that publication of the agreement would compromise Highmark's confidential and proprietary business interests and seriously prejudice its interests."

U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti will decide whether Highmark can rejoin the lawsuit and whether the agreement will be made public.

To learn more:
- see the Associated Press article
- read the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article
- check out the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article

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