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Consultants weigh in on merger

on April 09, 2013 10:40 AM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Two consultants say Highmark Inc.’s planned $475 million takeover of the financially struggling West Penn Allegheny Health System would benefit consumers, but isn’t without financial risks.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department on Monday released the reports by Chicago consultant Margaret Guerin-Calvert and the Blackstone Group of New York.

Among the concerns listed by Guerin-Calvert is whether Highmark can shift enough patients from the competing University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to turn around West Penn Allegheny’s fortunes.

Highmark is the state’s largest health insurer and hopes the deal will make West Penn’s five Pittsburgh-area hospitals the hub of a health system that could compete with UPMC, which has more than 20 hospitals as the dominant health provider in western Pennsylvania.

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