- Associated Press - Friday, January 29, 2016

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP) - A mediator has cleared the way for a long-delayed merger between UPMC and Jameson Health system in western Pennsylvania, pending a consent decree with the state Attorney General’s Office.

The attorney general had previously opposed the $80 million merger over concerns that it could reduce competition and drive up costs.

Jameson then issued a new request for proposals seeking affiliate partners. But the retired federal judge mediating the dispute determined that two other merger bids didn’t fit the criteria for a partner that Jameson and the attorney general agreed on last year.

A spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office says they’re disappointed, but plan to honor the ruling. A draft agreement of the consent decree is being reviewed by the office.

UPMC declined to comment.

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