ShareThis Page
Editorials

Trib editorial: AHN Hempfield provides more options, but at what price?

| Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, 10:45 a.m.
Allegheny Health Network President and CEO Cynthia Hundorfean  talks about the need for more local emergency care in Westmoreland County during a joint press conference with Highmark Health and Emerus. AHN announced on Monday the opening of a new community hospital in Hempfield. (Trib photo)
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Allegheny Health Network President and CEO Cynthia Hundorfean talks about the need for more local emergency care in Westmoreland County during a joint press conference with Highmark Health and Emerus. AHN announced on Monday the opening of a new community hospital in Hempfield. (Trib photo)

The provision of medical care in Westmoreland County is entering a new era, just as it did years ago when independently operated hospitals in Greensburg and Latrobe consolidated under the Excela Health banner. Except now it's Excela Health's market share that's being eyed, if not challenged, by Allegheny Health Network and Highmark Health.

As part of the health system's $700 million expansion, AHN unveiled plans Monday for a 10-bed, for-profit community hospital in Hempfield — about two miles from Excela Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg. Excela President and CEO Bob Rogalski called AHN's move “predatory.” AHN President and CEO Cynthia Hundorfean said there's enough “business to accommodate everyone.”

This, after AHN and Highmark opened a new, 23,000-square-foot outpatient center east of the Westmoreland Mall and a few miles away from the 115,000-square-foot Excela Square At Latrobe outpatient health-care center.

At that time, Jim Jordan, a health-care professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College, remarked, “The strongest argument to be excited (about) for Westmoreland is that competition between two organizations for patients will create incentives to provide innovative services to attract patients or clients.”

Access to more health care options is fine. Our concern is how the addition of these new facilities, in close proximity to each other, along with existing walk-in clinics in Westmoreland County, will ultimately affect the cost of patient care.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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