The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Montour County

April 25, 2013

CEO: Highmark's claims about Geisinger value wrong



Brennan and Steele both cited several accolades, past and present, bestowed on Geisinger Medical Center, including receiving the Thompson Reuters Top 100 Hospitals National Benchmarks Awards for the eighth time in 2012, as well as being noted for its safety nursing care. Steele also made note how the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, of which Highmark is a member, has recognized GMC more times than any other regional hospital with its “Blue Distinction Center” for specialty care expertise.

“Any attempt to insult a product in this manner is inappropriate,” said Brennan.

He compared the situation faced by Geisinger to those smaller hospitals might be put through.

“Quite frankly, many of these small hospitals really don’t have the size of network and coordinating capabilities we have and frankly don’t have the ability to ever object strongly to any contract offering that someone with Highmark with all their clout makes. We think they really take advantage of those facilities,” said Brennan.

A call has already been placed by Geisinger executives to Highmark’s CEO to discuss the matter. “I’ve left the door open for a resolution,” said Brennan.

Dave Jolley, Geisinger Health System’s vice president for system public affairs, did not think the matter was related to Highmark’s recent interest in purchasing healthcare systems. Highmark is currently in the planning stages of an acquisition of West Penn Allegheny Health System of Pittsburgh.

“I’m not sure it’s related…it’s just the introduction of a new product,” said Jolley.

“I don’t know their motive, I would be speculating,” said Brennan, when asked on the topic.

Currently, eight percent of Geisinger Health System’s patients are on a plan offered through Highmark, with most of those patients being treated in the Geisinger Medical Center region, said Jolley.


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