Health Network Announces New Affiliation

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    BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 05: A doctor holds a stethoscope on September 5, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Doctors in the country are demanding higher payments from health insurance companies (Krankenkassen). Over 20 doctors' associations are expected to hold a vote this week over possible strikes and temporary closings of their practices if assurances that a requested additional annual increase of 3.5 billion euros (4,390,475,550 USD) in payments are not provided. The Kassenaerztlichen Bundesvereinigung (KBV), the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, unexpectedly broke off talks with the health insurance companies on Monday. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

    The Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network plans to announce "a formal affiliation" with what the seven-hospital network is describing as "one of the world's most prestigious academic medical centers."

    The hospital network, which is owned by health insurer Highmark Inc., planned a Wednesday news conference to announce the deal at the cancer center of its flagship, Allegheny General Hospital.

    The move comes as Allegheny Health and Highmark continue to compete with the much larger University of Pittsburgh Medical Center network, the western Pennsylvania region's dominant health care provider.

    Allegheny Health was created last year after Highmark bought the West Penn Allegheny Health System and two other western Pennsylvania hospitals.