Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa., and Highmark Health, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliate and hospital system based in Pittsburgh, last week signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture.
Under the agreement, the two organizations will explore ways to improve healthcare services and lower costs for patients in north central Pennsylvania. The two are focused on improving population health through value-based payment models.
The partnership will initially focus on the construction of a new facility in rural Montoursville. Both organizations will monitor its success and look to expand services to more areas. The partnership will impact about 65,000 Highmark members that live in north central Pennsylvania, including Medicare Advantage members.
Highmark's rival UPMC Health Plan entered into a similar venture last year with Reading (Pa.) Health System. Highmark President Deb Rice-Johnson said the agreement with Geisinger will allow it to better compete with UPMC.—Maria Castellucci
New Hampshire lawmakers advance plan to add mental health beds
The New Hampshire Senate has given preliminary approval to a plan to significantly increase the number of psychiatric treatment beds in the state.
The plan the Senate sent to its Finance Committee last week would require the state to contract with private hospitals and not-for-profit facilities to set up 68 new beds. Twenty beds would be for those subject to involuntary admission, 40 would be community-based beds to help people transition from hospitalization and eight would be peer respite beds.
As the number of treatment beds has dropped due to budget cuts, a workforce shortage and other factors, the number of people waiting-sometimes in emergency department corridors-for beds at the state psychiatric hospital has increased. In March, the daily average was 46 adults and four children.—Modern Healthcare