Skip to main content

Highmark Health Promotes AHN COO to Network President

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   March 22, 2023

James Benedict will lead Allegheny Health Network's daily operations and long-term clinical strategy in his new role.

Highmark Health, the parent company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Allegheny Health Network (AHN), recently announced a new president for the health system.

James Benedict, JD, CPA, MAFIS, who recently served as COO of AHN, was appointed president effective immediately on March 18.

Benedict has three decades of experience in healthcare, including experience leading in hospital operations, physician practice management, and ambulatory operations.

"Jim is an exceptionally talented, highly accomplished healthcare leader with a proven track record of successfully managing complex organizations, building high-performing teams, and helping institutions develop and execute winning strategies to fulfill their mission," Bruce A Meyer, MD, MBA, EVP and Western PA market president for Highmark Health, said in a statement.

Benedict joined AHN in 2017 and is credited as being one of the "chief architects" in the organization's operational turnaround and nearly $2 billion capital investment and market expansion strategy. The campaign, to date, includes the expansion of the network's clinical footprint with the construction of AHN Wexford Hospital and four new neighborhood hospitals, six new cancer centers, and numerous multispecialty and outpatient facilities.

In 2020, he became EVP of Living Health Partnerships and Operations for Highmark Health where he led enterprise efforts in a healthcare delivery system redesign, helped develop the system's "Living Health" model, and also helped with AHN and Highmark Health's COVID-19 pandemic response strategy.

In July 2022, Benedict joined AHN, Highmark Health's western Pennsylvania provider arm, as COO again to help address the current challenges that AHN is facing as a provider organization. He will continue to report to Meyer in his new role as president and will lead the planning, direction, and coordination of the network's daily operations and long-term clinical strategy.

"As AHN's president, Jim and his team will help further transform AHN into the provider pacesetter of our Living Health model, creating and supporting the clinical infrastructure and blended payer-provider solutions that deliver better value, better experiences, and better outcomes for those we serve," Meyer said.

“It is an incredible honor and privilege to lead AHN and be part of this unique journey with Highmark Health to create a more effective, patient-centric, and economically sustainable health and wellness model for the country," Benedict said in a statement. "The challenges we face in our industry have been an inspiration to all of us who have spent the last several years building AHN's foundation, improving the health experiences of our patients, and making Western Pennsylvania a healthier place to live. We still have a lot to do, but I am extremely proud of what our clinicians and the AHN/Highmark Family has accomplished to date and look forward continuing this vital work in improving equitable access to high-quality, affordable healthcare alongside AHN's and Highmark Health's remarkable leadership and caregiving teams."

Melanie Blackman is a contributing editor for strategy, marketing, and human resources at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

Photo credit: Milan, Italy - August 10, 2017: Allegheny health network website homepage. It is an academic medical center located in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Allegheny logo visible. / Casimiro PT /

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.