Highmark chief medical officer discusses benefits of meaningful use standards for electronic health records at Washington, D.C.

August 5, 2010 | Pittsburgh, Pa. - Dr. Donald Fischer, Highmark Inc.'s chief medical officer, will join representatives from two other leading health insurers today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to discuss ways to improve health, increase patient safety and reduce health care costs through the use of electronic health records (EHR).

With the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, eligible health care professionals and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified EHR technology and use it to achieve specific objectives. In July, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the "meaningful use" standards and technical capabilities required for certified EHR technology that physicians and hospitals must meet to qualify for the bonus payments.

"Meaningful use standards will ensure that physicians and hospitals are using EHR technology to achieve their goal of providing, high-quality, coordinated care to patients," said Dr. Fischer.

Dr. Fischer was invited to be a part of Thursday's discussion based on Highmark's strong support of national efforts to advance EHR adoption. In fact, the company will be the nation's first insurer to include the adoption of meaningful use standards in its pay-for-performance program, QualityBLUE. Highmark network providers can qualify for financial incentives by incorporating meaningful use standards with the implementation of electronic health records technology.

Meanwhile, Highmark is supporting the adoption of health information technology in other ways. In 2008, the company joined with the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative to offer practice training and coaching to support primary care practices involved in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' EHR demonstration program and in the acquisition of EHRs to achieve quality targets.

In addition, Highmark promotes the adoption of electronic prescribing through its $29 million Health Information Technology Grant program. Highmark has provided 3,140 physicians with more than $19.6 million to assist with health information technology, including electronic prescribing.

About Highmark Inc.
As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.'s mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.7 million people through the company's health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people's health. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. The company provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.

Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

For more information, contact:
Aaron Billger
Highmark Inc.
[email protected]

Phil Neubauer
Highmark Inc.
[email protected]