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Highmark Health to join Penn State Health: 4 things to know

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The boards of Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Highmark Health and Hershey, Pa.-based Penn State Health agreed to form a strategic partnership Dec. 15.

Here are four things to know about the deal.

1. Highmark will become a member of Penn State Health with a minority interest. Highmark representatives will hold up to three seats on Penn State Health's 15-member board of directors.

2. Penn State Health and Highmark will invest $1 billion-plus toward the development of a high-value, community-based care network. The network will be anchored by Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center.

3. Officials said the goal of the strategic partnership is to improve the access, quality and affordability of care for local residents through the creation of a community network to support the population health and local needs of patients. The partnership also aims to expand support for the Hershey-based Penn State College of Medicine through medical and health sciences education funding and advanced research, among other initiatives.

4. Penn State Health's existing health insurance agreements will remain in place. Highmark's insurance arm will also be able to continue contracting with other hospitals. Both institutions' existing health insurance agreements with other providers will remain in place.

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