Major Changes Could Be Coming To West Penn Hospital

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Highmark said it was buying West Penn Allegheny Health System Tuesday. The KDKA Investigators have learned that the announcement may involve major changes at West Penn Hospital.

A $50 million grant will be given to West Penn Hospital to save it from shutting down.

Sources close to the deal told KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin that there are much bigger plans to re-open the emergency room and more than double the number of beds in use.

If you walk in the front door of any business on Liberty Avenue, folks are smiling.

“I think it’s the best news we’ve heard in a long while,” Tom Papa said.

Papa has been cutting hair just across the street from the hospital for 14 years.

“We need people to do the business. We need the people. No people no business,” Papa said.

Business dropped all over Bloomfield last January when West Penn closed its emergency room, and laid off a couple hundred employees.

Highmark would not discuss the possibility, but did talk about opportunity.

“This is a system that is going to grow. It is only going to grow. So from the community perspective, this will be a win for the community in terms of overall job growth over time,” Highmark CEO Dr. Ken Melani said.

Griffin talked with West Penn and Highmark regarding the plans for the hospital.

They would not confirm any plans to re-open the West Penn emergency room.

Sources close to the deal say the plan could take six months to a year.

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  • UPMC4Life

    UPMC = world renowned hospitals. WPA = failed system that had to be bailed out by an insurance conglomerate. That is all.


      I see UPMC shaking in their shoes HAHAHA!!! World renowned Hospital? Ever hear of Allegheny General Hospital??? Highmark customers will have to go to WPAHS for service or face much higher copays. Watch the giant FALL!

      • Bob

        This might be true only if Highmark commands the majority of customers in southwestern PA as compared to UPMC Heath Plan, Etna, etc. Do they? I don’t know. But if there are more individuals that have a heath insurance provider other than Highmark than those that do, the impact to UPMC would be manageable. In addition, I don’t see the need to mock UPMC. While AGH is certainly a good hospital, it is also true that UPMC is consistently ranked in the top tier by US New and World Report for many of the services it provides.

      • Smith

        Highmark controls 65% of the local market, at least according to KDKA. So, yes, the impact to UPMC will be significant. But, I agree, comparatively, UPMC certainly has more national recognition than WPA. And in a choice between the two, I would pick UPMC nine times out of ten.



  • Jessica

    How can it be legal for an insurance co. to buy a hospital? UPMC not renewing contract with Highmark is scary. Eventually they will have their own insurance.

    • Anonymous

      Jessica – your comment makes no sense. Highmark is an insurance company so your eventuality is today.

  • wpahs

    jessica-upmc already has their own insurance….get ur facts straight first before speaking

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