Allegheny Health Network forming home health care unit with Celtic Healthcare in Pennsylvania

The Allegheny Health Network is teaming up with Celtic Healthcare to form a for-profit home health care company to compete with the rival University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Under the deal, Allegheny Health will merge its hospice and home health care operations with Celtic, which also runs hospice and home care operations in Illinois, Maryland and Missouri, as well as central and northeastern Pennsylvania. Only Celtic's western Pennsylvania operations will merge with Allegheny Health to create the new company.

Allegheny Health, the nonprofit hospital network run by health insurer Highmark Inc., will own 60 percent of the new company, which will operate under the network's brand. Celtic will own 40 percent, but will manage the still-to-be-named company.

The combined company will serve about 300 hospice and 1,500 in-home patients using 375 combined employees.