WVU Medicine, Health Plan take a second look at proposed network deal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — WVU Medicine and The Health Plan are reevaluating a proposed partnership that was already reshaping West Virginia’s medical system.

WVU Medicine put out a statement today that seems to cast doubt on whether the network will come to be as originally envisioned.

“As they continue to work towards that goal, they have agreed to move away from the original transaction and are going back to the drawing board to make sure the partnership is the ultimate win-win and that each is optimally positioned to enter this new model of providing healthcare in West Virginia,” according to a statement released to MetroNews by WVU Medicine.

Under the proposed partnership announced in May, the West Virginia University Health System would integrate with The Health Plan, a managed care organization with headquarters in Wheeling.

So WVU Medicine would provide the healthcare at nine hospitals, and The Health Plan would provided managed care services for people who are insured through the company.

The resulting healthcare footprint was already having a ripple effect.

Charleston Area Medical Center, another major health care provider, in September informed The Health Plan it would terminate its contract at the end of this year.

Jim Pennington

At the time, Health Plan President Jim Pennington said CAMC’s decision was a reaction to the partnership with WVU Medicine.

“CAMC sees that as an aggressive play on WVU’s part. In our meeting they called them ‘the northern aggressor’ several times,” Pennington said earlier this year.

Representatives from The Health Plan weren’t immediately available today to describe the current situation.

Today’s statement from WVU left open the possibility that the partnership could still come together.

“Both The Health Plan and WVU Medicine continue to believe that coming together is critical, as both believe they can better manage the healthcare challenges of West Virginia more effectively together than apart,” WVU Medicine stated.

“To that end, they both remain committed to building an integrated healthcare finance and delivery network, one that will allow for the better coordination of care and management of the population’s health.”

Pennington, The Health Plan’s president, announced in October that he intended to step down at the end of the year.

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