Officials from Highmark Inc. and West Penn Allegheny Health System, both of Pittsburgh, announced late Wednesday an agreement with West Penn bondholders on a debt-mitigation plan that they said would clear a path for an affiliation agreement without putting West Penn Allegheny into bankruptcy.

Under the agreement, Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer Highmark has offered to purchase the outstanding Series 2007A bonds that the Allegheny County Hospital Development Authority issued for West Penn for cash at 87.5 cents on the dollar.

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