ShareThis Page

Highmark and Penn State Health invest $1B in central Pennsylvania health network

Ben Schmitt
| Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, 5:09 p.m.
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Insurer Highmark Health and Penn State Health on Friday announced they will invest $1 billion in a partnership to create a “community-based health care network” that will serve central and south central Pennsylvania.

“This is a game changer,” said David Holmberg, president and CEO, Highmark Health. “We want to collaborate with forward-thinking partners who, like us, are committed to creating a positive health care experience for members and patients. Penn State Health shares this vision and, together, we're going to lead the change for a better model of health care in the heart of Pennsylvania.”

Detailed financial terms were not released. A news conference with officials from both organizations is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday in Hershey.

Highmark Health will join Penn State as a member of Penn State Health, with a minority interest, that will provide up to three seats on the 15-member board of directors, according to a news release.

The network will be anchored by the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, which is an accredited Level 1 trauma center for both adult and pediatric patients, according to its website. It has more than 1,100 doctors and providers and 548 beds.

The partnership's goals include:

• Developing new facilities in central and southcentral Pennsylvania.

• Reinforcing the role of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Children's Hospital a destinations for advanced care in the region for adults and children.

• Exploration and development of innovative, patient-focused co-branded health care insurance products.

“This exciting partnership is a commitment by our organizations to ensure that health care delivery in our region remains patient-focused, enhances overall health and wellness and creates increased opportunity for collaboration with community physicians,” said Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier, dean, Penn State College of Medicine; chief executive officer, Penn State Health; and senior vice president for Health Affairs, Penn State.

The partnership does not affect patients' care or insurance coverage, officials said.

“Under the terms, Penn State Health remains free to contract with other health care insurance companies, now and in the future,” the news release said. “Penn State Health's existing health insurance agreements will remain in place. Likewise, Highmark Health's payer arm, Highmark Inc., will be free to contract with other hospitals and health systems, and its existing agreements with other health care providers in the region will remain unchanged.”

Highmark Health is the parent company of Allegheny Health Network.

Last month, Highmark rival UPMC announced plans to invest $2 billion as part of an expansion that includes building three specialty hospitals in Pittsburgh focused on cancer, organ transplants, and heart and vision care.

UPMC President and CEO Jeffrey Romoff said the hospitals will be built on the campuses of UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland, UPMC Mercy in Uptown and UPMC Shadyside.

“UPMC desires to be the Amazon of health care,” Romoff said at the time.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me