Highmark, West Penn Allegheny leaders meet to resurrect merger
The on-again, off-again merger talks are apparently on again between Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System, the two systems jointly announced.
Highmark CEO William Winkenwerder, Jr. and West Penn Allegheny Chair John S. Isherwood said in a joint statement that they'd "held productive discussions" last week just days after a judge ruled that West Penn could not leave the merger.
"A very productive session was held that focused on efforts the parties could take to address the financial condition of WPAHS to secure approval of their affiliation agreement by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. Both parties realize there are significant issues that must be addressed and that prompt action is essential," the joint statement read. "Highmark and WPAHS continue to believe that an affiliation between them is in the best interests of both organizations and of the greater community. The parties agreed to work diligently in the days ahead to finalize their efforts and to work together to gain PID [Pennsylvania Insurance Department] approval.
"The parties and their advisors met recently with representatives of bondholders of WPAHS. Further meetings are planned. In addition, both parties are committed to initiating actions now that can improve the operating performance and finances of WPAHS. In particular, the parties agreed to focus on assisting and supporting the physician retention and recruitment with WPAHS, and to improving ongoing communications and coordinated actions prior to any regulatory approval."