BRENTWOOD (KDKA) — Jefferson Regional Medical Center has been an independent medical facility serving tens of thousands of patients in the South Hills for decades.

Now, it is about to become part of the Highmark health care provider system.

“This decision to align with Highmark is a recognition that we share a common vision to meet the health care needs of the southern region of western Pennsylvania,” John Dempster, CEO of Jefferson Regional Medical Center, said.

Jefferson and Highmark officials characterize the relationship as an affiliation or strategic partnership similar to Highmark’s relationship to the West Penn Allegheny Health System.

“It’s fair to say that these companies, West Penn and Jefferson, will appear as if they were sisters on our organization structure,” Dr. J. Robert Baum, Highmark board chairman, said.

In exchange for $75 million to support Jefferson’s foundation and a new state-of-the-art emergency room and expanded clinical services, Highmark will get control of 75 percent of Jefferson’s board of directors.

“None of us own these institutions and they’re community assets,” Dempster said.

Dempster says they trust Highmark to expand quality medical services so fewer will feel the need to cross the river to other hospitals.

“And our pledge to our community is that not only do we want you to stay close to home, we really want to take care of you,” he said, “so that will mean there will be a significant investment on both Highmark and Jefferson’s part to make sure that those services are A-plus.”

Both organizations hope to finalize the deal by the end of the year, pending regulatory approvals.

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