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Highmark's Collaboration With Hospitals and Doctors Continues to Yield Benefits for all Patients
Date:11/3/2010

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Whether it's reducing infections for patients, increasing the number of generic drugs to reduce costs or collaborating with hospitals to develop a philosophy and culture of quality, Highmark's QualityBLUE pay-for-performance (P4P) programs continue to evolve to help save lives and health care dollars.

The company's most recent internal report on the hospital and physician P4P program demonstrates a number of positive results.

One of the most successful methods found to reduce health care costs is to increase the rate of clinically appropriate generic drug use substitution. Since 2006, when the measure was implemented, the percent of generic medications prescribed has increased from an average of 46 percent to 73 percent. Using the average Highmark prices for generic and brand medications and calculating what would have been paid if QualityBLUE participating physician practices prescribed brand drugs, it can be estimated that more than $87 million was saved during the past year through increased generic substitution.

In addition to savings incurred through generic substitution, patients also pay lower copayments for generic drugs. These copayments have remained steady during the past five years while copayments for other brand drugs have increased. Highmark's average retail generic price is $14 less than the national average.

"One focus of the physician and hospital programs is clinical quality", said Linda Weiland, Highmark's vice president of provider performance and information management. "We work collaboratively with health care providers to ensure patients receive evidence-based care in accordance with nationally established guidelines."

The QualityBLUE hospital P4P program was started in 2002 with six hospitals and has expanded to 63 hospitals participating in the program today. About two-thirds of all primary care physicians in Highmark's physician network participate in the Qualit
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SOURCE Highmark Inc.
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