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

HARRISBURG, Pa. — HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The future of a fraught business relationship between two mammoth health care providers is at stake in a hearing planned for a Pennsylvania courtroom.

The Commonwealth Court hearing in Harrisburg was quickly scheduled for Friday morning, three days after a state Supreme Court order. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson on Friday scheduled a two-day hearing about the future of the relationship.

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Judge Simpson said he plans to rule in a couple of weeks about whether and how a five-year consent decree that's about the expire can be changed.

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.


A judge says lawyers for the attorney general's office and health care companies UPMC and Highmark will have to be "prepared to address compliance" with the court order.

A five-year consent decree the companies signed in 2014 is set to expire at the end of June.

A majority of justices want the lower court to figure out what the parties meant five years ago when they included a provision that allows the consent decree to be modified.