Highmark Inc. honored for innovative program that helps consumers live healthier lives

Oct. 7, 2010 | Pittsburgh, Pa. -

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), in collaboration with the Harvard Medical School Department of Health Care Policy, has recognized Highmark for its innovative and successful approach to improving access to high quality, safe and affordable health care for consumers.

Highmark was awarded a Best of Blue Clinical Distinction Award for QualityBLUE, its hospital pay-for-performance program. The Best of Blue Clinical Distinction Award program is presented in collaboration between BCBSA and the Harvard Medical School Department of Health Care Policy, through which Harvard researchers evaluate and select programs by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies for recognition based on their innovation, effectiveness and potential for replication.

"Through the development of this winning program, Highmark has delivered on the Blues' commitment to deliver the greatest value through innovative, consumer-focused solutions resulting in healthier lives and affordable access to safe and effective care," said Scott P. Serota, BCBSA president and CEO. "And most importantly, this program shows that patients win when there is a strong collaboration between insurers and the provider community."

Highmark's hospital pay-for-performance program emphasizes safety and reducing health care costs. The program started in 2002 and today, 64 hospitals participate in the program covering Central and Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia hospitals. The program saves hundreds of lives each year and reduces costs by millions of dollars.

"Harvard is pleased to recognize Highmark for developing a program that sets such high standards for its effectiveness in improving patient care," said Barbara J. McNeil, Ph.D., head of the Department of Health Care Policy of Harvard Medical School. "The Blues' focus on quality, safety and access plays a critical role in improving the health care delivery system and enhancing quality and value for consumers."

"This program has been so positive because it focuses on collaboration between hospitals and Highmark that ultimately creates a safer clinical environment," said Linda Weiland, vice president of provider performance and management at Highmark. "We continue to grow and evolve our program, and at the same time, are excited because this is one that can be replicated by other plans across the country."

The Best of Blue Clinical Distinction Awards were presented in Chicago on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at the BCBSA Blue National Summit, a gathering of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans designed to share best practices and recognize programs that can lead to improvements in health care delivery throughout the country.