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AHN, Warren General Hospital and LECOM Health Sign Affiliation Agreement

Monday, September 24, 2018

Officials from Warren General Hospital (WGH), Highmark Health, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and LECOM Health joined community leaders and hospital employees today to celebrate the signing of an affiliation agreement that will strengthen and expand the services that WGH provides.

Last November, WGH, AHN and LECOM Health announced plans to establish an affiliation that would help advance their respective missions and strategies for delivering high-quality, high-value health care in the Northwestern Pennsylvania region.

“After much due diligence, we chose partners that share the longstanding values of Warren General and our commitment to both high-quality medical care and the promotion of overall community health,” said WGH Board President, Carmen Ferranto, MPS. “The Board is confident that this affiliation will help solidify the future of WGH as a vital link in the comprehensive array of high-quality primary and tertiary health care services available close-to-home for the residents of Warren and the surrounding area.”

As part of the affiliation agreement, a joint venture between AHN and LECOM Health will have a membership interest in WGH.  WGH will receive support from AHN, LECOM Health and Highmark Inc., for capital investments and for community health reinvestment projects.

Physicians employed by WGH have also joined AHN’s clinically integrated network (CIN), Physician Partners of Western Pennsylvania LLC.  Participation in the CIN will enable WGH to work closely with AHN to develop regionally integrated, value-based clinical programs and reimbursement models, as well as to establish an ambulatory and post-acute network that provides access to more effective chronic disease management.

Since 2016, WGH’s obstetrics program has been staffed by physicians from AHN’s Saint Vincent Hospital.  WGH will move to AHN-affiliated clinical support for emergency and hospitalist care as well in the coming months.

“Warren General Hospital is an extremely important asset to the many communities that it serves in Northwestern PA, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to help strengthen that proud tradition for current and future generations,” said Cynthia Hundorfean, President and CEO of AHN.  “In Warren General and LECOM Health we are aligning ourselves with partners who are committed to transforming health care around quality, value and innovation.”

AHN’s commitment to the region is also supported by its hospital in nearby Westfield, NY, which provides a variety of services to the community, including a recently renovated and expanded emergency department, diagnostic care, a small number of in-patient beds for short hospital stays, outpatient surgery and access to primary and specialty care physicians.

With an eye on the future health needs of the community, WGH, AHN, Highmark Health and LECOM will work together to develop a medical education program that supports community care and is linked to a long term physician recruitment and retention strategy for the region. 

WGH will be established as an affiliated clinical site for LECOM medical students as part of the agreement, and WGH physicians and pharmacists will have the opportunity to obtain adjunct faculty appointments with LECOM.  WGH will provide clinical clerkships for LECOM students in the areas of family medicine/primary care, emergency medicine, internal medicine/hospitalist services and specialties such as gastroenterology, orthopedics, urology and obstetrics/gynecology.  The hospital will also work with LECOM to develop clerkships in other disciplines, such as pediatrics and psychiatry.

“We look forward to Warren General physicians and pharmacists joining our adjunct faculty where they will provide LECOM students with the clinical experience they need to become skilled and compassionate health care providers,” said John Ferretti, DO, President and CEO of LECOM Health. “This also is an incredible opportunity for our institutions to collectively develop and inspire the future medical leadership of Warren County.”

Earlier this month, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield also announced that it is expanding its Connect Blue EPO product to Warren County, effective Sept. 1. Connect Blue EPO is a high value, lower cost Community Blue Plan with a three-tiered network design available to large group customers.  Tiered networks allow insurers to offer customers access to high-value providers like WGH at more affordable rates.

”Strong partnerships are a key component of Highmark Health’s strategy to transform health care and deliver value-based care,” said Highmark Health President and CEO David Holmberg.  “We are confident that the affiliation between Allegheny Health Network, LECOM and Warren General, as well as the recent expansion of our Connect Blue EPO product in Warren County, will deliver an unparalleled, affordable patient experience to our customers, members and patients in northwestern Pennsylvania.”