Press Releases

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield provides $250,000 grant to Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism

PITTSBURGH (June 28, 2017) — Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism has been awarded a $250,000 grant from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to support the expansion of its autism center into a new facility. The expansion will allow the Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism to provide vocational, developmental, and autism services for up to 75 students with autism and their families.

"With the attainment of this generous Highmark grant, Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism, the first licensed site in the world for Cleveland Clinic Children's, will now have the opportunity to impact a greater number of students needing our services in all areas of their academics, functional living skills, communication, socialization, and behavior," said Michelle Cunningham, chief executive officer, Highlands Hospital. "We are grateful for all the continued support to Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism."

Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism provides students with year-round classroom activities that help them reach their highest level of performance in academics, in addition to achieving behavior, social, and emotional growth. The Highmark grant will also support new programs for students and their families, an indoor physical activity area, a vocational training program for older students, and intern opportunities for local college students focused on a career in autism.

"We commend Highlands Hospital for its efforts to address the region's demand for autism services through this one-of-a-kind facility in southwestern Pennsylvania," said Tom Fitzpatrick, Highmark senior vice president of provider contracting and relations. "Through our support of the expansion of Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism, more children with autism and their families will receive the services they need to improve their overall quality of life and well-being."

About Highlands Hospital

Highlands Hospital is an independent, non-profit hospital located in the picturesque Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania offering emergent, inpatient, behavioral and ambulatory care to the region and beyond. Residents are given tools for life-long health at the John P. Murtha Wellness Center. Highlands Hospital in affiliation with Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism helps to provide families with state-of-the art educational and behavioral treatment for autism. Highlands Hospital has proudly served the Behavioral Health needs of the community for over 30 years and has adopted a holistic approach to healing for the mind, body and soul of all patients. Our newest partnership is with WVU Heart & Vascular Institute. WVU's presence at Highlands Hospital reinforces the hospital's commitment of ensuring coordinated comprehensive care close to home. For more information, visit

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Highmark Inc., doing business as Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, serves approximately 3.3 million members through the company's health care benefits business and hundreds of thousands of additional members through the BlueCard® program. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is the market leader in commercial market share, and has strong Medicare Advantage market share as well. Highmark, through its health plan affiliates and subsidiaries, is the largest and highest-rated Medicare Advantage program in Pennsylvania with a CMS rating of 4.5 Stars. In western Pennsylvania, its unaided brand awareness, brand preference and overall brand rating are significantly higher than its closest competitor. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield employs nearly 4,000 people in western and northeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield 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,

For more information, contact:
Vicki Meier
Highlands Hospital

Kristy Cramlet
Highmark Health