Pittsburgh health insurer develops own provider network to stem “unsustainable” treatment costs
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports insurer Highmark Inc. will spend up to $500 million to develop a new network of doctors, community hospitals and outpatient locations in Western Pennsylvania in addition to the $475 million it has promised to prop up West Penn Allegheny Health System. According to the newspaper, the network will include medical malls, ambulatory care centers, a health information exchange, partnerships with community hospitals and primary and specialty care centers. The deal is pending approval from Pennsylvania regulators.
“We believe this investment on behalf of our customers is crucial to address the unsustainable increases in health-care costs that are making health insurance less affordable for our customers and the community,” explained Highmark spokesman Michael Weinstein.
While not mentioned in the story, another likely driver of this payer-provider consolidation is to ease the establishment of an accountable care organization (ACO) among the involved entities.