Highmark Inc. and West Penn Allegheny Health System, both of Pittsburgh, have poached a group of five obstetricians and gynecologists previously affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer Highmark and West Penn, the second-largest health care provider in Western Pennsylvania behind University of Pittsburgh, are in talks regarding a $475 million affiliation agreement. West Penn's $726 million of bond debt makes it one of the largest junk-level issuers in the municipal marketplace.

The Post-Gazette reported that when the ob-gyn doctors informed UPMC and its Magee-Women's Hospital of their departures, officials asked the doctors to clean out their desks the next day and revoked their hospital privileges.
According to the newspaper, UPMC has added 400 doctors of its own over the last year, including some from struggling West Penn. A non-compete clause restricts four of the five defecting UPMC doctors from practicing within Allegheny County in 2013.

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