Jan. 23--Highmark Inc. will expand a pilot project that sought to lower health care costs by paying doctors for keeping their patients healthy, the company said on Wednesday.
Highmark, the state's largest health insurance company, said the expanded program will include 1,050 primary care physicians who treat about 171,000 Highmark members in Western and Central Pennsylvania.
The one-year pilot program, which started in 2011, included 160 doctors and showed a 2 percent reduction in health care costs for 45,000 of Highmark's members, the insurer said.
"We demonstrated a number of positive outcomes from the pilot practices, including lowering per member per month overall cost," said Michael Fiaschetti, president of health markets. "Our overriding goal is to work with physicians to improve the quality of the patient experience and overall outcome for the member."
The program, which is known as a patient-centered medical home, requires physicians to take greater accountability in coordinating the care for patients.
Typically, this type of "pay-for-performance" model gives physicians a set dollar amount for treating patients during a year rather than paying for each individuals various medical costs, like office visits, lab tests, and other procedures.
During the next three years, Highmark said it hopes to have about 75 percent of its members in some kind of pay-for-performance arrangement.
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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