Fitzgerald Urges Approval of West Penn Allegheny Health System/Highmark Affiliation

PITTSBURGH – Allegheny County Chief Executive today testified before the Pennsylvania Insurance Commission urging the approval of the West Penn Allegheny Health System/Highmark affiliation proposal that is currently under consideration.  His testimony was presented at a public informational hearing being held today in Pittsburgh by the Department of Insurance.

“I urge the Department of Insurance to approve the merger of West Penn Allegheny Health System and Highmark, Inc. for the good of our region and its health care consumers,” said Fitzgerald.  “This affiliation will bring competition to our health care market, will further explore the use of an integrated delivery system for our residents, will improve the quality of care, will provide for additional jobs for our community and will ensure continual patient care.”

Today’s hearing by the Insurance Department is intended to discuss the proposed change in control of Highmark and its Pennsylvania insurance subsidiaries, as well as Highmark’s proposed affiliation with the West Penn Allegheny Health System.  The department received the filing for the proposed change in control and affiliation last November.  In addition to the hearing, the department has engaged a team of legal experts, economists and investment bankers to facilitate the due diligence of the review process.

Fitzgerald, in his testimony, highlighted that Western Pennsylvania is unique, as compared to most markets in the United States, in that it has one dominant provider system.  He emphasized his believe that a West Penn/Highmark affiliation would create regional competition among providers and offer patients a choice in their health care provider – a choice that is better for the consumer.

The hearing began at 9:00 a.m. at the Westin Hotel at the Convention Center and also includes an evening session starting at 7:00 p.m.  The hearing is being streamed live at www.insurance.pa.gov (click on “Highmark/West Penn Hearing).

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