West Penn posts widening losses

Pittsburgh's West Penn Allegheny Health System has reported a loss of $55.9 million for the first half of a fiscal year that ends June 30, according to local news reports.

The financial results, which include a loss of $34.1 million between September and December 2011, is attributed primarily to lower patient volumes. Patient revenue fell 4.3 percent to $32.9 million between July 1 and Dec. 31. Admissions at the hospital declined nearly 10 percent, primarily because it closed its emergency room and moved other services to West Penn Hospital.

West Penn Allegheny entered into a deal last June to be acquired by regional insurance giant Highmark. Officials with that organization said that the current financial statement justifies an expedited approval of the deal from the Internal Revenue Service and a variety of Pennsylvania regulators.

"Highmark remains fully committed to this affiliation, and the sooner approvals are received, the sooner we will be able to work to further strengthen WPAHS and provide the people of Western Pennsylvania with continued access to a world-class health system," the insurer said in a statement.

Highmark has put about $150 million into the hospital system during the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years, primarily in the form of grants. West Penn Allegheny did not include a $100 million grant from Highmark last November in its financial results.

For more information:
- read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
- read the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article
- here's the West Penn Allegheny financial report (.pdf)