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Highmark bids to improve quality of care with patient-centered medical homes Posted: April 20th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

The latest health insurancecompany to test the waters of patient-centered medical homes is Highmark, Inc.


The Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate announced a pilot program to roll out the medical homes in 13 physician practices across Pennsylvania and West Virginia.


Patient-centered medical homes are an emerging health-care trend. While some argue traditional health care is fragmented, the medical home model creates a single point from which all patient care can be managed. Physicians working under the model are responsible for coordinating all aspects of care, including diagnostic testing, treatment and preventive services.


A bid to improve patient care


The Highmark program will include 13 physician practices serving 29 locations. Approximately 160 physicians and 450,000 subscribers will be a part of the study.


"We are confident that these practices will improve patient care for Highmark members," said Highmark medical director of quality management Mary Goessler, M.D., in a press release.


Proponents of patient-centered medical homes state say health-care improvements can be obtained while also containing health insurance costs. Highmark anticipates the initiative will reduce hospital readmissions as well as emergency room visits.