West Penn Allegheny narrows loss

| Friday, March 1, 2013, 3:45 p.m.

West Penn Allegheny Health System narrowed its loss slightly in the October-December quarter last year.

But Pittsburgh's second-largest hospital network still managed a net loss $30.3 million, compared with a net loss of $34.1 million in the same quarter the year before.

Its loss on operations also was reduced in the quarter, which is the second of its fiscal year, to $33.1 million, compared with losing $36.8 million on operations the year before.

Highmark Inc., the state's largest health insurer, is trying to buy West Penn Allegheny as it builds a new integrated health system to compete against UPMC.

As part of its strategy to turn around the finances of West Penn Allegheny, which owns five hospitals in the Pittsburgh region, Highmark funded the reopening of West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield and helped the system recruit new physicians.

Both those moves brought in new patients, which helped West Penn Allegheny boost revenue to $385.8 million during quarter, up from $365.4 million the year before, the system said. Increased reimbursement rates from insurers also helped increase revenue.

Yet competition from UPMC in Monroeville continues to reduce patient volume at Forbes Regional Hospital, the system said. UPMC opened a new $250 million hospital about a mile away from Forbes last summer.

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or anixon@tribweb.com.

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