Penn State Health, Highmark expand collaboration with private practice physicians

More than 100 physicians in five counties join Care Partners clinically integrated network

Delivering on a commitment to partner with community physicians, Penn State Health and Highmark today announced that 23 primary care physician practices across five Pennsylvania counties have joined Penn State Health Care Partners, a clinically integrated network designed to share best practices and develop standards of care across the network. The 23 practices join 13 existing physician group partners, bringing the total number of community practices participating in Penn State Health Care Partners to 36.

The practices, based in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster and Lebanon counties, include more than 100 physicians and provide care to more than 200,000 residents across the region. Each physician practice will continue to own and operate their practice independent of Penn State Health and Highmark but, through participation in the Care Partners network, will be able to work collaboratively with both entities and each other to design programs and practice standards aimed at managing chronic illness as effectively as possible and increasing the overall value of the care provided.

“Our goal is to work as partners with physicians across our region to best serve the health care needs of our communities,” said Dr. Peter Dillon, executive vice president for Penn State Health and president of Penn State Health Medical Group. “This collaboration is about sharing information and developing best practices that lead to better health and improved outcomes for patients, particularly for those managing chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. That’s what doctors want, it’s what patients want and it’s what our communities deserve.”

By becoming members of the network, these practices can also participate together in incentive programs designed to reward physicians and practices for exceeding quality care benchmarks. This includes participation in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and Highmark’s True Performance program.

“This partnership among Highmark, Penn State Health and community physicians has the potential to drive broad population health improvements in Central Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Charles DeShazer, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Highmark Inc. “By expanding physicians’ access to clinical and data insights and aligning their efforts, the network positions primary care practices—the first line of defense in health care—to better prevent and manage health conditions. The network furthers Highmark Inc. and Penn State Health’s commitment to ensure that all Central Pennsylvanians have access to world-class, affordable and convenient health care.”

Penn State Health Care Partners is recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a clinically integrated network (CIN). A CIN is defined as a collection of health providers—such as physicians, hospitals, and post-acute care specialists—that join together to improve care and reduce costs.

CINs are designed to collect and share data from participating practices, hospitals and other care facilities in order to achieve higher quality and greater cost-effectiveness than they likely could accomplish on their own. These clinical integration programs contain initiatives with measurable results of clinical performance, reduction of unnecessary service utilization, and the effective management and support of high-risk patients.

The list of practices participating in Penn State Health Care Partners clinically integrated network can be found on the Care Partners website.

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