Highmark to Acquire WPAHS

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , June 29, 2011

He said the board was attracted to Highmark because it is a nonprofit and its mission and values match the hospital system's. He added, "Highmark is well-capitalized, it's local, like us,  and it understands the western Pennsylvania insurance market."

While terming the acquisition as a "win for everyone," both sides were cautious regarding future job losses. Melani said no decisions would be made until company officials look at the health system's efficiencies and resources.  It was announced, however, that WPAHS president and CEO, Chris Olivia, M.D., left that position effective Monday. He will consult with Highmark.

In December Olivia voiced his concern about the potential lack of competition healthcare in the region under the specter of consolidation. "To not have a second health system in a city this size, Pittsburgh will descend into the Dark Ages of monopolization from which it will not emerge for a long, long time," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

Dianne Dismukes will replace Olivia. She was previously executive vice president for hospital operations at the health system.

Although Cleveland Clinic was rumored to be in-line to manage the health system for Highmark, it is not part of the acquisition. In a telephone conversation a Highmark spokesperson said that "although Highmark has been in discussions about partnering opportunities with Cleveland Clinic, it is not part of this arrangement."

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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