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Independence Blue Cross Finalizes New Multi-Year Agreements with Mercy Health System and St. Mary Medical Center

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Independence Blue Cross announces it has signed new three-year contracts with Mercy Health System and St. Mary Medical Center, both part of Catholic Health East health care system, effective July 1, 2007.

The Mercy Health System includes Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia, Mercy Suburban Hospital, St. Agnes Continuing Care Center, and Nazareth Hospital, as well as Mercy Home Health and many physician practices and other ancillary services. St. Mary Medical Center is a comprehensive medical center in Langhorne.

Mercy Health System and St. Mary Medical Center were the first hospitals in the region to participate in a quality-based pay for performance program with Independence Blue Cross. This merit-based compensation approach measures quantitative criteria such as minimizing health care acquired infections and reducing surgical complications to improve performance on patient safety and quality of care. The new agreements reflect the hospitals' continued interest in receiving appropriate incentives for the delivery of increasingly high-quality health care to Independence Blue Cross members in Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.

"The new agreement is consistent with Mercy Health System's commitment to providing quality patient care and access to health services in the communities that we serve," said H. Ray Welch, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Mercy Health System. "The agreement with Independence Blue Cross provides an opportunity to continue our five-year trend of meeting or exceeding quality objectives that were assigned by IBC in the merit-based performance program."

"Mercy Health System and St. Mary Medical Center play a key role in providing exceptional health care for our members," said Joseph A. Frick, president and chief executive officer of IBC. "We value the opportunity to engage more hospitals in our pay for performance program to achieve this level of care in all areas of the region."

About Mercy Health System

Mercy Health System (part of Catholic Health East health care system) is a diverse, integrated system providing comprehensive health care services to people in all stages of life. Mercy Health System includes Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, Mercy Suburban Hospital, Nazareth Hospital, St. Agnes Continuing Care Center, and Mercy Home Health Services as well as several wellness centers, physician practices, a skilled nursing facility, an independent living facility and managed care plans. Mercy Health System is the largest Catholic healthcare system serving the Delaware Valley and is a member of Catholic Health East, a multi-institutional, Catholic health system co-sponsored by 13 religious congregations and Hope Ministries. To learn more about Mercy Health System, visit

About St. Mary Medical Center St. Mary Medical Center (part of Catholic Health East health care system) in Langhorne, Penn., is a comprehensive medical center in Bucks County. With a staff of more than 500 physicians and 2,400 employees committed to providing excellence in patient care, St. Mary offers a comprehensive cardiovascular program, the only state-accredited Level 1 Trauma Center in Bucks County, a Joint Commission-accredited Primary Stroke Care Center, specialized diagnostic capabilities, obstetrics, exceptional surgical and orthopedics and a Joint Commission-accredited Joint Replacement Center, rehabilitation therapy, and the St. Mary Regional Cancer Center. To learn more about St. Mary Medical Center, visit

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania. IBC and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For nearly 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals.

In 2006, IBC was nationally recognized by the Disease Management Association of America for Connections(SM), its outstanding disease management program that improves the health and wellbeing of people with chronic illnesses. IBC's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.

For more information on Independence Blue Cross, visit

SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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