Highmark discussing 'flat rate' reimbursements for docs, hospitals

Health insurer Highmark and two Pennsylvania-based hospitals are in talks to change the way those hospitals are reimbursed, possibly to a flat rate for groups of people. Dr. Kenneth Melani, Highmark's president and CEO, hopes the new payment method--which could mean anything from offering care to patients with chronic health problems to bundling payments for medical care for "a much larger group"--will make for better quality care that's more affordable.

"We are experimenting [with trying to identify integrated delivery systems] which will become more aggressive in the next five years," Melani said. 

Beaver, Pa.-based Heritage Valley Health System and Crawford County-based Meadville Medical Center are the only hospitals involved thus far, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times

For more information:
- read this Pittsburgh Business Times article