State regulators in Pennsylvania on Monday approved Highmark Inc.'s $1 billion acquisition of West Penn Allegheny Health System, clear ing the way for the creation of what its backers says will be one of the nation's largest integrated healthcare systems.
Approval from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department came laden with conditions, but Highmark President/CEO William Winkenwerder, Jr., MD, said leadership at the newly named Allegheny Health Network was 'comfortable that we will be able to well comply with all the conditions that have been outlined in the commissioner's order.'
'Let me just say that many of these conditions were things that we would have done in any event,' Winkenwerder told reporters at a Monday afternoon teleconference. 'We also believe that certain of the conditions are very positive in that they set forth certain behaviors and characteristics of a more competitive marketplace in healthcare and are really meant to assure that monopoly-like behavior doesn't occur. That is very consistent with our own thoughts.'
The Allegheny Health Network will employ about 1,200 physicians and will include the five hospitals in the West Penn Allegheny system, Saint Vincent Health System in Erie, pending court approval, and Jefferson Regional Medical Center in suburban Pittsburgh, Winkenwerder said.