West Penn Allegheny, Highmark deal unraveled gradually
West Penn Allegheny Health System officials say they were startled when, at an Aug. 30 meeting, Highmark president and CEO William Winkenwerder Jr. and his staff told them they wanted the health system to file for bankruptcy. The two parties had signed an affiliation agreement last November, with both sides saying they were committed to stabilizing and preserving the region's second-largest health system as it labored under nearly $1 billion in debt obligations. Since May 2011, Highmark had infused $400 million, half in loans and half in grants, to help WPAHS reopen West Penn's emergency department in Bloomfield and renovate Forbes Regional in Monroeville, where it is competing with the newly opened UPMC East hospital.
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