PITTSBURGH— A federal judge ordered Pittsburgh’s rival health systems to mediation over a lawsuit by West Penn Allegheny Health System that claims UPMC conspired to stifle competition. U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab said the health systems and insurer Highmark would each pay one-third of the mediator’s expenses. Highmark was originally named in the lawsuit as a conspirator, but was dropped by West Penn Allegheny after the insurer agreed to rescue the failing health system. The lawsuit was first filed in April 2009 and dismissed in October that year. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision in November 2010, which the defendants sought to challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court declined to review the case. CARBONDALE, Pa.— Maxis Health System, a subsidiary of Catholic Health East, announced plans to close its hospital by the end of February. Maxis principally consists of 35-bed Marian Community Hospital in Carbondale, which operated in recent years with “multimillion-dollar annual losses,” Mary Theresa Vautrinot, president and CEO of Maxis, said in a news release. The hospital had 20 patients a day, on average, too few “to sustain fully staffed operations for the long term,” the release said. Officials have notified the state health department of the hospital’s pending closure. Maxis Health System also includes a foundation and a medical group. WASHINGTON, Pa.— The Pittsburgh-based UPMC system and Washington (Pa.) Hospital announced a joint venture to own and operate urgent-care clinics. The joint venture starts with Washington Hospital’s existing urgent-care clinic in Mcmurray, Pa., and will add two more clinics within 18 months, according to a news release. The financial terms and the ownership split in the joint venture were not disclosed. Emergency Resource Management, a division of UPMC, will staff and manage the clinics. UPMC and Washington Hospital already are joint venture partners in a cancer center, according to the news release. Like UPMC’S five current urgentcare clinics, the joint venture sites will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. The clinics will include laboratory and X-ray services. MORRISTOWN, N.J.— Atlantic Health System said it has acquired a stake in Qualcare, a New Jersey managed-care company owned by hospitals and physician organizations. Joseph Trunfio, CEO of Atlantic Health System, and Dr. David Shulkin, vice president of the system and president of Morristown Medical Center, were named Qualcare directors. A spokesman for Atlantic Health, which owns three hospitals, referred questions about the value of the deal to Qualcare. A Qualcare spokesman said in an e-mail that the companies would not disclose financial details of the deal. The health system’s effort to become an accountable care organization requires an insurer be able to provide data to manage cost and quality, according to a news release announcing the deal.