UPMC Asks Judge to Dismiss Highmark Advertising Claims
Nixon, Alex, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
UPMC asked a federal judge today to dismiss a lawsuit by Highmark Inc. alleging false advertising.
Highmark, the state's largest health insurer, sued UPMC in July after contract negotiations between the two broke down and UPMC began a "Keep Your Doc" advertising campaign.
In the latest action in the months-long court battle, UPMC said in a court filing today that U.S. District Court Judge Joy Conti Flowers should dismiss the case "because all of Highmark's claims fail as a matter of law."
Highmark has argued that UPMC's advertising was false because it gave consumers and employers the impression they needed to immediately switch insurers or lose access to UPMC. But Highmark's contracts with UPMC hospitals do not end until June 30, 2013, and it intends to continue pursuing a long-term contract that maintains access for its members.
UPMC today said the "Keep Your Doc" campaign wasn't misleading because separate contracts between its physicians and Highmark can be terminated at any time with 60 days notice. While it was running the advertising, UPMC planned to have the contracts expire June 30, 2012. But it has since agreed to extend physician contracts to June 30, 2013. …