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Highmark's Affiliations With West Penn, Jefferson Regional Receive County Approval

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Pittsburgh-based health insurer Highmark got one step closer to creating its regional health system, as the Orphan's Court of Allegheny County has approved Highmark's affiliations with West Penn Allegheny Health System in Pittsburgh and Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Jefferson Hills, Pa.

Jefferson Regional will officially become part of Highmark no later than March 1, but the West Penn deal still needs final approval from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. If approved, West Penn and Jefferson Regional would be the hospital arms of the new non-profit health system — temporarily known as the "ultimate parent entity" — while Highmark would be the insurance arm. Highmark is also attempting to acquire St. Vincent Health System in Erie, Pa., for $65 million.

Highmark and Jefferson Regional signed an affiliation agreement in August 2012, in which Highmark agreed to invest $100 million in the 370-bed hospital for a new emergency department and other capital projects.

Highmark's takeover of West Penn has been a roller coaster ride since 2011. Highmark originally proposed to purchase West Penn in November 2011 for $475 million. Since then, the deal had been called off, then back on after Highmark agreed to buy West Penn's massive debt.

The PA Insurance Department, which expects the West Penn transaction will cost Highmark $1.6 billion, will release financial and economic reports on the West Penn-Highmark deal this spring.

More Articles on Highmark:

Highmark to Give Jefferson Regional $21M Upon Finalization of Affiliation
S&P: West Penn Deal Weakens Highmark's Financial Profile
West Penn-Highmark Transaction Costs to Surpass $1.6B

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