Highmark Inc. and PinnacleHealth are working together to improve care for area residents

Aug 01, 2012, 08:50 ET from Highmark Inc.

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Inc. and the PinnacleHealth System are collaborating to increase the focus on quality and ultimately help improve health outcomes for people. The companies announced today that PinnacleHealth has continued to steadily improve patient care by a variety of measures during the last several years as they participated in Highmark's Quality Blue hospital program. As a result, PinnacleHealth is proud to receive the maximum reward possible through the program.

"Highmark's pay-for-performance program pushes hospitals to continue to raise the bar on quality. By emphasizing this and putting financial incentives as part of the program, we have seen significant improvements in a number of areas," said Andrew Bloschichak, M.D. Highmark's senior medical director in Central Pennsylvania. "PinnacleHealth has been an outstanding partner. They continue to improve quality in numerous areas including reducing infections and readmissions."

During the past several years, PinnacleHealth continues to demonstrate benchmark results in areas such as central line bloodstream infections (CLABSI).  In the last two years, they have had no ventilator-associated infections in its adult critical care units. In addition, PinnacleHealth has seen a six percent decrease in readmission rates for patients discharged to skilled nursing facilities.  

"PinnacleHealth continues to focus on leadership in improving quality through collaboration and teamwork," said Michael A. Young, CEO of PinnacleHealth. "PinnacleHealth is committed to providing a patient-centered, integrated health system focused on quality, access and coordination of care."

"We don't just care for people when they are within our walls, but also when they leave," said Joan Silver, vice president for Organizational Quality and Performance Improvement at PinnacleHealth. "We make certain patients have proper discharge instructions, review their medications with a pharmacist and, when they get home, we also make sure they have follow-up appointments as needed."

Highmark's program is now a decade old and works with 90 hospitals in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. During that past 10 years the program has saved hundreds of lives and also millions of dollars.

"We hear from our members and customers that health care is too expensive. We are working with partners like PinnacleHealth to improve quality and lower costs," said Bloschichak. "By aligning payments to health care providers based on quality and not just volume, Highmark continues to build in excellence into every day operations."

Highmark's Quality Blue team collaborates with PinnacleHealth and other hospitals' quality teams to support the organization throughout the year. Highmark will be holding a best practice forum on Nov. 8 in Harrisburg for all participating hospitals. It is an opportunity for hospitals to share information on what has worked well during the year so other providers may benefit.

About PinnacleHealth System

PinnacleHealth is a pioneer not-for-profit healthcare system dedicated to providing and improving the health and quality of life for the people of Central Pennsylvania since 1873. A proven leader in medical innovation, PinnacleHealth offers a wide range of services from primary care to the most complex surgeries and Magnet recognition for nursing excellence. The healthcare network includes four campuses (Community, Cumberland, Harrisburg and Polyclinic) and medical services, including family practice, imaging, outpatient surgery and oncology, at multiple locations throughout the region. For a complete list of services, visit our website at www.pinnaclehealth.org.

About Highmark Inc.

Highmark Inc., based in Pittsburgh, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. Highmark serves 4.9 million members in Pennsylvania and West Virginia through the company's health care benefits business and is one of the largest Blue plans in the nation. Highmark has 20,000 employees across the country. For more than 70 years, Highmark's commitment to the community has consistently been among the company's highest priorities as it strives to positively impact the communities where we do business. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

SOURCE Highmark Inc.