WPAHS plans for Highmark affiliation approval by autumn

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West Penn Allegheny Health System hopes to get regulatory approval for its affiliation with Highmark by the fall and, if that goes through, it expects to be on good financial footing in two or three years, interim president and chief executive officer Keith T. Ghezzi said today.

But he cautioned that getting there will require incremental steps starting with the expected reopening of West Penn Hospital's emergency department in Bloomfield by the end of March and continuing efforts to recruit more physicians.

Dr. Ghezzi told reporters that the health system is "very close" to announcing some key medical staff hires.

Dr. Ghezzi said they have met state Department of Insurance officials in the past month about the planned affiliation with Highmark, which has committed $475 million to stabilize the ailing health system.

"We're hearing that they want to do a comprehensive and thorough review" and expect to hold public hearings in the spring, with necessary approvals coming by September, he said. "We're asking them to do it as quickly as possible."

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


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