Jul 30, 2014
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WPAHS and Highmark Make Progress With Agreement

Officials with WPAHS and Highmark have reached an agreement on a debt reduction deal with bondholders, and now it's important for the insurance department to act, Robinson-area state Sen. Fontana says.

WPAHS and Highmark Make Progress With Agreement


Last November, I expressed my concerns with the news that Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) had ended negotiations to finalize their affiliation agreement.

The two entities appeared in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court in October after WPAHS claimed Highmark breached their affiliation agreement by insisting WPAHS file for bankruptcy prior to executing the agreement. As a result, WPAHS began searching for other suitors in place of Highmark, which prompted Highmark to ask the Court to block WPAHS from talking to other potential partners. A Common Pleas judge ruled on the matter and blocked WPAHS from talking to other potential affiliation partners.

Recently, we have come to learn that after re-starting the negotiations, officials with WPAHS and Highmark have reached an agreement on a debt reduction deal with bondholders.

This is a significant development towards these two organizations completing their affiliation agreement. Upon agreeing on the debt reduction deal, Highmark submitted an amended filing to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, which must approve the affiliation agreement for it to take effect.  While these developments are encouraging and both Highmark and WPAHS are to be commended for their efforts in reaching a deal, the Highmark acquisition of WPAHS is not yet complete. It is important that the Insurance Department act expeditiously in reviewing the agreement and offering its approval.

A strong and united partnership between WPAHS and Highmark will solidify the integrity and delivery of health care in our region. Consumers deserve quality and affordable health care and this partnership will help maintain a high quality of care while offering consumers much needed choices. It will also preserve thousands of good jobs for employees.

I strongly urge the Insurance Department to expedite this matter so our region can enjoy the benefits that this partnership will bring. You can view Highmark’s amended filing at the Insurance Department website. You may also offer public comments ( click here to see what your statement should include) on this filing via fax (717-787-8557), email ( rbrackbill@pa.gov), or mail:

            Robert Brackbill, Chief

            Company Licensing Division

            Insurance Department

            1345 Strawberry Square

            Harrisburg, PA  17120


—Senator Wayne D. Fontana

42nd Senatorial District




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