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Highmark launches new supply chain business

A new supply chain services organization started by Pittsburgh-based Highmark Inc. already has secured multiple hospital contracts, the health insurance giant said today.

ProtoCo Supply Chain Partners is part of Highmark’s new integrated delivery system. Its charter is to reduce hospital costs and help health systems achieve higher standards of patient care.

The company will manage the supply chain and purchasing for the West Penn Allegheny Health System, which could potentially save the health system more than $100 million over the next five years, Highmark said. West Penn spends about $480 million annually.

A Highmark takeover of West Penn is pending regulatory approval.

ProtoCo also has finalized contracts with St.Vincent Health Center in Erie and the West Virginia United Health System, which includes five hospitals throughout West Virginia. Other contracts are under negotiation, Highmark said.

The company launched with 50 employees in Pittsburgh and is expected to grow to 80 by the end of the year, Highmark said.

Highmark is the parent company of Cumberland County-based Highmark Blue Shield.

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