Highmark and Saint Vincent Finalize Affiliation - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Highmark and Saint Vincent Finalize Affiliation

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The process of forming an affiliation between Saint Vincent Hospital, Highmark and Allegheny Health Network is now complete.

Doctors, nurses and officials of the health network gathered at Saint Vincent to celebrate closing the deal.  They thanked the sisters of St. Joseph for 183-years of sponsorship and pledged to keep the patient first in the transition to a new sponsor.

The partnership plans were first announced in October 2012 but it took several months to secure all the legal and regulatory approvals.

Erie's first hospital will once again be called Saint Vincent Hospital, no longer health center or health system.  It's the seventh western PA hospital to join the Allegheny Health Network.

According to Highmark President and CEO William Winkenwerder, Jr. M.D., the partnership guarantees health care competition in the Erie region.   "We believe in competition at Highmark and choice, choice of doctors, of health care delivery and insurance provider and we want to offer a choice and let the people choose."

Allegheny Health Network is comprised of 2,100 physicians on its medical staff, covering all of western PA.  The other hospitals in the system include Allegheny General, Allegheny Valley, Cannonsburg, Forbes, Jefferson and West Penn.

Highmark officials say they will not be cutting staff here.  The affiliation means a major investment in Erie.  The deal includes a 20 million dollar cash investment up front to "maintain financial soundness," five million for capital projects, and a one-time $10 million dollar payment to the Sisters of St. Joseph.  The health network will invest another 40 million to improve Saint Vincent facilities over the next three years.

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