Penn State Health, Highmark Health sign $1B value-based care network deal

Business executives shaking hands
A Highmark and Penn State deal will focus on value-based care and population health. (Getty/Martin Barraud)

Penn State Health and Highmark Health have inked a $1 billion deal to form a value-based community care network that aims to improve population health and protect market share by keeping more patients in the region, especially for complex care.

Anchored by the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the plan also calls for collaboration with community physicians and will include new facilities and co-branded health insurance products.

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The move doesn’t affect existing agreements: Penn State Health can still partner with other health insurance companies, and Highmark will continue to partner with other providers.

“Penn State Health will offer more primary, specialty and acute care locations across central Pennsylvania so that [patients] will have easier access to our care, right in the communities where they live,” A. Craig Hillemeier, CEO of Penn State Health, said in an announcement. “Our two organizations share the belief that people facing life-changing diagnoses should be able to get the care they need as close to home as possible.”

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Highmark Health will join Penn State as a member of Penn State Health with a minority interest. The payer will get up to three seats on the 15-member board of directors.

“We want to collaborate with forward-thinking partners who, like us, are committed to creating a positive healthcare experience for members and patients,” Highmark Health CEO David Holmberg said in the announcement.

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Value-based care and population health continue to drive deals such as this one, including in the competitive Pennsylvania market. Earlier this year, PinnacleHealth announced that it would partner with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the state’s largest integrated health system, and also agreed to acquire four Central Pennsylvania hospitals from Community Health Systems.