Fitch raises financial outlook for West Penn Allegheny

| Thursday, June 21, 2012, 8:12 p.m.

Fitch Ratings on Thursday raised its outlook on West Penn Allegheny Health System's credit to “stable,” up from “evolving.”

The move comes about a week after another credit rating agency, Moody's Investors Service, reaffirmed its negative outlook on the ailing health system.

Fitch said its view on West Penn Allegheny improved because the system's losses are narrowing and the planned acquisition by health insurer Highmark Inc. is moving toward approval by the state Insurance Department.

Highmark has given the five-hospital network $200 million of the $475 million it committed to the deal, which has helped the system bring in new patients and improve its balance sheet, Fitch said.

In its report last week, Moody's said it didn't expect the $475 million to be enough to bail out West Penn Allegheny.

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