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Highmark's doctor's office on wheels connects doctors and nurses with members who face barriers getting to the doctor

Highmark Inc.

PITTSBURGH (May 12, 2016) — Highmark is launching a doctor's office on wheels to bring healthcare directly to its Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and Affordable Care Act (ACA) members who need medical tests and preventive health screenings but have difficulty getting to the doctor. Highmark's Health Care on the Go mobile clinic will begin visiting communities where members face such challenges and bring the doctor to them.

"Mobile healthcare is not a new concept, but our approach is new and different," said Barbara Gray, R.N., senior vice president of clinical services at Highmark Inc. "We are targeting our most at-risk members — ones that, for one reason or another, we know are not getting the care they need. We are identifying and working to remove the obstacles in their way. We are partnering with local network physicians and nurses to staff the mobile clinic in order to help members build connections with doctors familiar with their community and the health care resources it offers. This bridge of connection is the real strength of the program. Making it convenient for our members to connect to and navigate the healthcare system can change lives."

The mobile doctor's office contains two exam rooms separated by walls instead of curtains for patient privacy. It has a wheelchair lift, a fully functioning bathroom which can accommodate a wheelchair and is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It has the appropriate refrigeration needed to store medicines and lab specimens. A wall of glass windows lends a bright, airy and inviting feel. There is even the traditional doctor's office waiting room complete with flat screen TV.

Like any doctor's office, care will be by appointment. Highmark will reach out to members it identifies as having a specific medical need and make appointments for them. Medical staffing in the mobile clinic will depend on that day's range of appointments. In addition to local Highmark network physicians, members can expect to see nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Medical services provided will include annual wellness visits and immunizations, osteoporosis testing for women who have recently had fractures, retinal eye exams for diabetics, colorectal cancer screenings, postpartum care, medication reviews, smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling, as well as blood draws and urine samples needed to test for chronic medical conditions.

Mobile clinic appointments will begin in June.

According to Gray, working in partnership is the most effective way to assist Highmark members navigate the health system, use the services available to them as health plan members, and achieve better health outcomes. The mobile unit is one of many new initiatives within Highmark's care management program.

"We are excited to work with our providers to bring to bring this new service to our members," she said.

About Highmark Inc.

Highmark Inc. and its health insurance subsidiaries and affiliates collectively are among the ten largest health insurers in the United States and comprise the fourth-largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield-affiliated organization. Highmark and its diversified businesses and affiliates operate health insurance plans in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia that serve 5.2 million members and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the Blue Card program. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance, vision care and other related businesses. Highmark is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

For more information, contact:
Wendy Morphew
Highmark Inc.
412-544-3616 (office)
917-697-1782 (on site cell)
wendy.morphew@highmarkhealth.org