PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Despite the cancelled merger with Highmark, the West Penn Allegheny Health System said that it was here to stay.

But it’s little consolation to its thousands of employees.

Less than a year ago, West Penn Hospital’s emergency room in Bloomfield reopened to applause.

“We are so excited,” said one worker at the time. “It’s about time something happens.”

“This means new life for us,” added another employee. “West Penn is actually the lifeline of this community.”

It was a much different mood on Friday after WPAHS announced it was dropping plans to merge with Highmark.

“I think business has been picking up real good,” a worker told KDKA-TV. “We had been getting a lot of patients. There are still floors getting construction done on them.”

“I’m worried about losing my job – there’s a lot of construction going on,” a man said.

“I’m concerned about my pension – that’s one of my biggest concerns,” added another employee.

When the hospital closure was announced in July of 2010, 1,500 employees were told they would no longer have jobs.

While there’s no news of closure because of Highmark and WPAHS parting ways, there is uneasiness.

“Now all of a sudden here we are less than 12 months later, boom, back in the same boat, full of holes and it looks like she might sink,” a passerby said.

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