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Article published December 19, 2012
Medical site still possible in county
Kelly B. Garrett Butler Eagle
Just because Highmark is building a medical mall in Wexford doesn’t mean the insurance giant has given up on a possible facility in Butler County. Aaron Billger, spokesman for Highmark, said Friday that the company’s first step is to get the Wexford mall operating, and that Highmark can replicate it in other communities. In June, Billger and Kevin Stansbury, Butler Health System’s vice president of Business Development and Corporate Image, said the two entities were in preliminary talks about developing a similar type of medical mall on 25 acres owned by Highmark in Cranberry Woods Business Park in Cranberry Township. Jerry Andree, township manager, said Friday there had been talk after the June announcement that perhaps a medical mall would not be the best fit for the office park. “But the property could be used for offices or research or many other things, and we are ready to work with Highmark on the development,” Andree said. “We have a great relationship with all of the health care providers and look forward to the same with Highmark.” Ken DeFurio, Butler Health System president and CEO, said Friday in an e-mail, “While there was preliminary discussion, there are no current discussions between Butler Health System and Highmark regarding the Cranberry property acquired by Highmark. “Butler Health System considers any opportunity with any potential partner on its own merit, driven by the requirement that it must contribute to BHS’s mission, improve the health care of the community, and lower overall health care costs,” he added. Billger said Wexford was chosen for the medical mall because of the site’s “accessibility to other resources and growth patterns.” Although the mall, scheduled to be open in 2014, will be a Highmark facility, it will be open to people with different insurance companies. To be at 12311 Perry Highway-Route 19, the 174,000-square-foot Wexford facility, which is about 5 miles south of Cranberry Township, has planned services that will include medical and radiation oncology, basic and advanced imaging, physical and occupational therapy, a women’s care center, a lab and pharmacy, primary and specialty care, pediatrics, as well as a drop-off child care center, and a resource library. Billger said the drop-off child care center will be for patients visiting doctors or receiving services.