PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The agreement between Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System includes reopening the emergency room at West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield.

“This affiliation provides peace of mind for the tens of thousands of patients who have established relationships with physicians and who depend on the West Penn Allegheny System for their health care services,” Dr. Kenneth Melani, CEO of Highmark, said.

The ER was shut nearly a year ago, but the Highmark acquisition is changing that.

“Well, the people of West Penn Allegheny Health System continue to deliver outstanding patient care each and every day and the community will soon be able to witness the transformation of our system,” Dr. Keith Ghezzi, CEO of WPAHS, said.

The ER will open sometime in early 2012.

“I think that’s a great idea,” Joe Lazarski, of Overbrook, said. “I think it definitely needs to be done in this area.”

Rosemary Thomas has worked at West Penn Hospital for 38 years.

“Everybody’s ecstatic,” she said. “We are just so excited. We knew it could happen one of these days, but never thought it was going to be this soon, so everybody’s real happy here.”

The final merger must still be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, the Attorney General and the Internal Revenue Service.

For the people in Bloomfield, it can’t happen soon enough.

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