Doctors bring patients to hospitals, Briggs said, and significant time and money can be needed to maintain or rebuild physicians' confidence. Management typically must spend time with physicians during the transition to allay concerns, he said, “through a lot of face time and a lot of hand-holding.”
New plans call for Western Pennsylvania Hospital to serve as a community hospital with an emergency room and expanded services for women, Ghezzi said. During the news conference, he said that it's too soon to know when the system would break even but the sooner operations become profitable the more cash from Highmark can be invested in development.
In addition to $100 million awarded last week, Highmark gave the system $50 million just as West Penn Allegheny prepared to close its books in June on a $51.8 million operating loss, which included losses from restructuring of $26.7 million.
The agreement must be approved by state regulators and the Internal Revenue Service. Dr. Kenneth Melani, Highmark's president and CEO, said the organization is seeking contracts, joint ventures or mergers with other provider groups.
In June, Highmark agreed to give or loan up to $400 million to West Penn Allegheny and invest another $75 million in medical education. Terms of the final deal were not disclosed but the agreement is expected to become public this week after it is submitted to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department for review.