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Highmark Blue Shield and National Association Name Area Hospitals as Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers
Date:3/11/2008

Two Hospitals in Central Pennsylvania Earn Designation

CAMP HILL, Pa., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Blue Shield is pleased to announce the recognition of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Lehigh Valley Hospital as Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers.

Complex and rare cancers comprise approximately 15 percent of new cancer cases each year, making it difficult for patients to locate or research facilities with oncologists or surgical teams that are experienced in treating these specific malignancies.

Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers are facilities within participating Blue Cross and Blue Shield network service areas that offer comprehensive inpatient cancer care programs for adults, delivered by multidisciplinary teams with subspecialty training and distinguished clinical expertise in treating the following complex and rare subtypes of cancer:

-- acute leukemia (inpatient/non-surgical)

-- bladder cancer

-- bone cancer

-- brain cancer -- primary

-- esophageal cancer

-- gastric cancer

-- head and neck cancers

-- liver cancer

-- ocular melanoma

-- pancreatic cancer

-- rectal cancer

-- soft tissue sarcomas

-- thyroid cancer -- medullary or anaplastic

The Blue Distinction Centers for Complex and Rare Cancers designation is focused primarily on multidisciplinary treatment planning and complex, major surgical treatments.

"This program supports Highmark's consumerism approach to give members a greater hand in their health by providing tools to help members make informed choices about their health care," said Carey Vinson, M.D., vice president for quality and performance management at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. "The Blue Distinction Centers designation offers members reliable quality-based information pertaining to Blue network-participating facilities when selecting a provider."

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SOURCE Highmark
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