Press Releases

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Highmark Wholecare recognized for health equity leadership by National Committee of Quality Assurance

  • Distinctions signify health plan’s strong commitment to providing culturally appropriate and inclusive care.
  • Accreditations recognize community-facing programs and initiatives that address identified social risks and social needs.
  • Recognition builds upon Highmark Wholecare’s long-term support of cultural diversity and inclusivity.

PITTSBURGH (May 9, 2024) – Highmark Wholecare, a leading Pennsylvania-based Medicaid and Medicare managed care organization, was recently awarded Health Equity Accreditation and Health Equity Accreditation Plus distinctions from the National Committee of Quality Assurance (NCQA). Highmark Wholecare was awarded Multicultural Health Care (MHC) Distinction in 2020 and maintained that designation until 2022 when MHC was retired and Health Equity Accreditation and Healthy Equity Accreditation Plus were launched.

Health Equity Accreditation and Health Equity Accreditation Plus are a guide of industry best standards to advance health equity. They are a framework for health plans to continually improve and prioritize member needs and the communities served by the plan.

"We are proud to be recognized by the NCQA for leadership in cultural diversity and inclusivity, both within our own organization and the communities that we serve,” said Ellen Duffield, president and CEO, Highmark Wholecare. “This accomplishment reflects years of intentional focus and the hard work of team members who breathe life into our goals and ideals, including health access and equity for all.”

Health Equity Accreditation focuses on a health plan’s internal processes such as building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce, while Health Equity Accreditation Plus applies to organizations further along on their health equity journey and focuses on community. The intent of Health Equity Accreditation Plus is to recognize programs and partnerships that address the identified social risks and social needs of the communities served by the health plan.

Highmark Wholecare was an early adopter for Healthy Equity Accreditation and Health Equity Accreditation Plus, completing both programs within the first year of their release by NCQA.

As a community-based health plan that prioritizes whole person care for its 350,000 members, Highmark Wholecare addresses barriers to care through its many social determinants of health (SDoH) programs, making it well-positioned to meet the community standards set by Health Equity Accreditation Plus – a position strengthened by team member commitment to volunteerism. Community SDoH needs met by programs managed, funded or otherwise supported by Highmark Wholecare include food and housing insecurity, transportation, education and employment.

Duffield added, “We believe strongly that healthy communities support healthy individuals, which is why we pride ourselves on meeting people in the communities where they live. We partner daily with many frontline nonprofits and community organizations to address the social needs of our members. Our commitment to volunteerism, and its ability enhance our community impact, is a source of pride for every member of the Highmark Wholecare team.”

The Health Equity Accreditation and Health Equity Accreditation Plus distinctions are presented every three years by NCQA.

About Highmark Wholecare

We believe in caring for the whole person in all communities where the need is greatest. We see a future in which everyone has equal opportunity to achieve their best health. Through our leading Medicaid and Medicare programs, we are coordinating health care that goes beyond doctors and medicine that helps members achieve not just physical health, but also delivers whole person care. Our team members are helping to drive this new kind of health care for our 340,000 Medicaid and Medicare members in collaboration with a network of 29,000 primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, and other ancillary providers. We are also committed to supporting our neighbors through our many community outreach and engagement programs.

About Highmark Health

Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh, PA-based enterprise that employs more than 44,000 people who serve millions of Americans across the country, is the parent company of Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, enGen, and Helion. Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates provide health insurance to 6.9 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, and New York, as well as dental insurance, and related health products through a national network of diversified businesses. Allegheny Health Network is an integrated delivery network in western Pennsylvania comprised of 14 hospitals, more than 2,600 affiliated physicians, ambulatory surgery centers, an employed physician organization, home and community-based health services, a research institute, a group purchasing organization, and health and wellness pavilions. enGen is focused on meeting the information technology platform and other business needs of the Highmark Health enterprise as well as unaffiliated health insurance plans by providing proven business processes, expert knowledge, and integrated cloud-based platforms. Helion works with payers to cultivate high-performing networks while empowering providers to operate at their best. To learn more, visit

For more information, contact

John Pepper
Highmark Wholecare