Insurer Highmark Inc. filed suit in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court today for a temporary restraining order "to prevent [West Penn Allegheny Health System] from starting affiliation or acquisition discussions with other organizations."
Highmark also said that it wants to protect the sizable monetary investment, hundreds of millions in loans and grants, that it has already made in the financially ailing health system.
The legal filing comes three days -- and one business day -- after West Penn Allegheny caught Highmark off guard with the Friday morning announcement that it would be trying to break off its affiliation agreement with Highmark.
Highmark had hoped to acquire WPAHS as part of a larger plan to build up a provider portfolio, which would allow it to compete with the region's No. 1 health system, UPMC.
In its statement, Highmark said it "categorically denies the WPAHS claim that Highmark has breached the affiliation agreement. Highmark urges WPAHS to change its position and work cooperatively to move forward with the proposed affiliation."
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Bill Toland: email@example.com or 412-263-2625. First Published October 1, 2012 10:00 PM