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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Under a new agreement, Highmark health insurance will maintain in-network access to UPMC hospitals in western Pennsylvania.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf thanked both health systems in an announcement Thursday. Wolf praised the rival companies for reaching the agreement following their 2014 contract. In-network access to UPMC facilities for Highmark patients had been set to expire in 2019.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, UPMC Altoona, UPMC Bedford and multiple other hospitals and specialty facilities will remain open to Highmark patients. The locations include centers that specialize in transplant services, cancer treatment and psychiatric health.

UPMC executive vice president David Farner praised the agreement.

Highmark president Deborah Rice-Johnson says the pact helps preserve community-based care for patients across the state.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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