Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The medical centers are waiting on the judge’s choice.

Today, a judge in Harrisburg is expected to come to a decision concerning the consent decree between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. That decree is set to expire at the end of the month.

What the judge is considering now is whether to extend or change the June 30 expiration date. The main issue concerns Highmark customers and how they could be denied lower costs of in-network use of UPMC doctors and its facilities.

Earlier this week, a dozen lawyers from the attorney general, UPMC and Highmark presented testimony in Harrisburg. After that hearing, the parties filed pages of facts and findings for the judge to consider. The judge requested them to keep those written materials short and to-the-point so he could make a decision very quickly. Unfortunately, the lawyers did not do that.

Now UPMC is claiming that there was no agreement to extend that June 30 termination date. However, the attorney general and Highmark say that the provisions of the agreement were open, especially because they were concerning public interest.

It’s unclear exactly when it will happen today, but that judge will ultimately have to make a decision on whether to change the June 30 expiration date.