Press Releases

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Penn State Health, Highmark celebrate five years of enhancing healthcare quality, access for Central Pennsylvanians

Hershey, Pa. (December 6, 2022) — In December of 2017, Penn State Health and Highmark announced a partnership that would invest $1 billion in the health and well-being of central Pennsylvanians. This collaboration included a shared promise: to create a world-class, network of health care across the south-central PA region — one that provides greater choice, convenience and affordability.

Five years later, Penn State Health and Highmark are delivering upon their shared promise to central Pennsylvanians. Through their partnership, Penn State Health and Highmark have created and expanded healthcare access points throughout the mid-state, bringing more care close to where people work and live; partnered with private practice clinicians to strengthen patients’ health outcomes and lower costs; partnered with community-based organizations to combat COVID-19 and improve health equity; invested in leading-edge cancer research; and launched novel health insurance products.

“We share a common vision with Highmark — to make it easier for patients and families to get the right care in the right setting at the right cost and the right time,” said Steve Massini, Penn State Health CEO. “We have invested in extending Penn State Health’s presence across the region with new hospitals, new physician practices and expanded services in familiar locations to give patients more health care choices closer to home.”

“The Highmark-Penn State Health partnership is built to last,” said Karen Hanlon, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Highmark Health. “Through our partnership, we are

committed to creating remarkable health experiences for generations of central Pennsylvania families, freeing them to be at their best with a full continuum of world-class services close to home.”

Bringing Care Closer to Home, Creating Jobs

Penn State Health has built new hospitals, opened new outpatient clinics and upgraded existing healthcare facilities across central Pennsylvania, adding critical access points where the demand for care has increased. These facilities will help deliver Penn State Health’s goal of ensuring that patients are within 10 minutes of primary care providers, 20 minutes of specialty care and 30 minutes of acute care.

Hampden Medical Center, which opened in October 2021, offers residents of Cumberland and Perry counties, as well as the broader Harrisburg area, enhanced access to Penn State Health’s acute care services without having to make the drive to Hershey. The 300,000-square-foot hospital includes 110 private inpatient beds, an emergency department, imaging and lab services, various specialty inpatient services, women’s health, labor and delivery, and complete medical and surgical capabilities.

Lancaster Medical Center, opened in October 2022, provides residents of Lancaster and York counties with more convenient access to Penn State Health’s nationally-recognized expertise and specialty services. The 341,000-square-foot, six-story medical center includes 142 private inpatient beds, an emergency department, various specialty inpatient services, including a cardiac catheterization lab, labor and delivery and complete medical and surgical capabilities. It also has an attached medical office building for physician practices and outpatient services.

Opened in the summer of 2022, Lancaster Pediatric Center offers area residents comprehensive, high-level pediatric care in an environment designed for and dedicated to children, teens and their families. The facility has 46 exam rooms and offers access to more than 20 medical and surgical pediatric specialty and subspecialty services, including cardiology, dermatology, neurology, ophthalmology, rheumatology, gastroenterology and urology. The facility is also backed by the resources of Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, the region’s only full-service children’s hospital.

Penn State Health has also acquired Holy Spirit Health System, preserving critical healthcare access points for central Pennsylvanians; expanded Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, creating additional pediatric beds as well as a new Women’s and Babies Center with an expanded nursery and newborn intensive care unit; and now operates more than 225 outpatient practices and services sites across the mid-state, including new primary and specialty care or diagnostic facilities in Camp Hill, Lemoyne, East Pennsboro Twp., Upper Allen Twp., Leader Heights, Linglestown, Union Deposit, Lancaster, Leesport, Wyomissing, and Reading.

Partnering with Community Doctors

In 2015, Penn State Health launched Penn State Health Care Partners, a clinically-integrated network (CIN) designed to share best practices and develop standards of primary care across the network. Participating community partners, which include approximately 180 providers who care for more than 230,000 residents, remain independent while working together to design programs and practice standards. The result is better chronic disease prevention and management and greater overall value for the care provided. 100% of the CIN’s independent family medicine providers delivered high quality care that surpassed Highmark’s True Performance Quality threshold in 2021.

Some of the recent CIN endeavors and outcomes include:

  • Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the partnership provided clinical information, tools and services to providers, including access to testing and vaccines
  • The CIN pediatric patient navigator program assists with complex patients; to educate, advocate and connect parents and patients to Penn State Health or other community-based services

Improving Health Equity

Highmark and Penn State Health partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Latino Connection and other central Pennsylvania community stakeholders to create the Community-Accessible Testing & Education (CATE) COVID-19 mobile vaccination, testing and education unit. The CATE mobile unit has reached tens of thousands of people, focusing on areas where access to bilingual resources and education are not readily available.

Investing in Cancer Research

Highmark provided a grant of $25 million into the Penn State Cancer Institute, which continues to see exciting advancements in care—from research to talent to innovative therapies. As one of the nation’s leading cancer research institutions, Cancer Institute researchers from Penn State College of Medicine have contributed to breakthroughs that include the development of a cervical cancer vaccine. Their future work in cancer education, prevention and treatment will benefit generations of patients.

Bending the Cost Curve for Employers

Highmark and Penn State Health have partnered with local employers to develop Choice Blue, a health insurance solution that offers employees robust benefits and lower costs when they receive care through Penn State Health and certain independent providers. Choice Blue creates a seamless experience for patients, including helping them select the right primary and specialty care providers. Choice Blue has grown to cover more than 31,000 members as of September 2022.

About Penn State Health
Penn State Health is a multi-hospital health system serving patients and communities across 29 counties in central Pennsylvania.

The system includes Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical CenterPenn State Health Children’s Hospital and Penn State Cancer Institute based in Hershey, Pa.; Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center in Enola, Pa.; Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center in Camp Hill, Pa.; Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center in Lancaster, Pa.; Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center in Reading, Pa.; and more than 3,000 physicians and direct care providers at 90 unique medical office locations. Additionally, the system jointly operates various health care providers, including Penn State Health Rehabilitation Hospital, Hershey Outpatient Surgery Center, Hershey Endoscopy Center and Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute.

Penn State Health shares an integrated strategic plan and operations with Penn State College of Medicine, the University’s medical school. It employs more than 17,500 people systemwide.

About Highmark Health 
Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh, PA-based enterprise that employs more than 37,000 people who serve millions of Americans across the country, is the parent company of Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, enGen, Helion, and Lumevity. Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates provide health insurance to more than 6 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. Lumevity helps companies transform in ways that drive direct financial benefits while improving quality and increasing employee engagement. To learn more, visit

For more information, contact

Leilyn Perri
Highmark Health

Scott Gilbert
Penn State Health