WPAHS testimony: Highmark said affiliation agreement 'was history' without bankruptcy

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A longtime West Penn Allegheny Health System board member testified today that Highmark Inc. president and chief executive officer William Winkenwerder Jr. said at two different meetings that the companies' affiliation agreement "was history" and a new deal would require a WPAHS bankruptcy.

Testimony wrapped up today in the suit brought by insurer Highmark to block West Penn Allegheny from talking to other parties about a possible affiliation. Both sides will be making additional filings to Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward next week.

"They didn't want to do this deal unless there's a bankruptcy," long-time WPAHS board member and former board chair David McClenahan testified today.

WPAHS' assertion is that Highmark breached the original affiliation agreement signed Oct. 31, 2011.

Dr. Winkenwerder has said he believed a restructuring of WPAHS debt was necessary to receive state insurance department approval for the partnership.

Following today's testimony, the Highmark CEO said "we remain confident on the outcome of this hearing" and committed to finalizing an affiliation with West Penn Allegheny.

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Steve Twedt: stwedt@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1963.


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