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Pittsburgh EMS Chief Becomes Health Insurer VP

Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services Chief Bob McCaughan has taken a job with health insurer Highmark Inc., the Downtown-based company said on Friday.

McCaughan, who will start April 9 as Highmark’s vice president of pre-hospital services, has been EMS chief since 2005.

Highmark said McCaughan will be in charge of emergency patient care for the insurer’s new integrated health care delivery system created to compete with UPMC, Pittsburgh’s dominant health system.

Highmark, which is spending $475 million to acquire West Penn Allegheny Health System, has said it also will invest another $500 million to build the new health care system, which will include urgent care facilities, outpatient centers and medical malls, in addition to hospitals and doctor practices.

The move to buy rival West Penn Allegheny led UPMC last year to break off negotiations with Highmark over new long-term reimbursement contracts, which expire June 30, 2013.

Highmark is the state’s largest health insurer, with more than 4 million members. McCaughan will report to John Paul, Highmark’s Integrated Delivery System president.

McCaughan, who worked for EMS for 36 years, could not be reached for comment.

Joanna Doven, spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, said the city is in the process of finding an acting EMS chief.

“I wish Bob the best of luck as he pursues this new, exciting opportunity, and I thank him for his years of dedicated leadership,” Ravenstahl said in a statement from the city.

Robert Kennedy, a former EMS chief and public safety director, left the city in 2005 to become UPMC’s vice president of government affairs.