West Penn Allegheny Health System says UPMC Physicians Want to Switch

Many of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center doctors have inquired about switching to Allegheny Health Network, West Penn Allegheny Health System Chief Medical Officer Tony Farah said Monday.

How many doctors?

“There has been a significant and sustained interest, with a majority from UPMC,” Farah said. “The number of UPMC physicians who would like to join us far outnumber the number we need right now.”

Two hundred doctors have been hired during the Insurance Department’s 18-month review of the Highmark-WPAHS deal, Farah said, despite uncertainties surrounding the future of the hospital system.

UPMC spokeswoman Wendy Zellner said UPMC employs around 3,400 doctors, an increase of about 4 percent in the past year.

“Our reputation for clinical excellence and research advances allows us to attract physicians from around the region, nation and world,” she wrote in an email.

Highmark emerged victorious Monday in its bid to buy WPAHS, which became part of Allegheny Health Network, but Highmark’s contract stalemate continues with UPMC.

Within hours of the Insurance Department decision Monday, UPMC called on Highmark to begin notifying employers and consumers that UPMC doctors and hospitals will be out-of-network providers after Dec. 31 2014. Highmark’s provider agreement with UPMC will not be renewed.

Surprise, surprise: Highmark officials don’t see things the same way.

“We would like to have a relationship with UPMC going forward,” President and CEO William Winkenwerder said Monday at a news conference to introduce Allegheny Health Network. “We aim to work together.”

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May 2nd, 2013