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Don't snag patient switch

I just read your article about the angst patients are having when they want to follow their physicians who leave one practice for another ("Patients May Suffer As Doctors Switch Practices, Health Systems," Sept. 26). Withholding information, preventing continuity of care to patients and interfering with the patient/doctor relationship is ethically and morally wrong.

The last thing patients need is to have to start all over with a new physician just because the one they've worked with for decades has moved across a river or down the street to a new health care system. Having to have multiple appointments so the "new" doctor gets up to speed on their care, having repeat tests adds to the economic burden patients DON'T need and only fills the coffers of the health system.

The PA Medical Association has been vocal about the UPMC/Highmark contract disputes when it comes to continuity of patient care.

As a large number of the physicians belong to the PA Medical Association, (an unbiased medical organization) perhaps with a little prompting by a reporter/consumer advocate, the PAMA (or some other professional organization) might consider posting announcements on physician relocations so that other colleagues/patients can find them. It may be a way to get around the restrictive contract clauses that prevent physicians from contacting their patients. And would put the onus on patients to look them up on the website. It would be helpful if it were one website.

Thank you for putting faces and names to this regional crisis and facilitating caring back into health care.

PATRICIA SCHAEFER
RN BSN M.DIV
Edgewood


We are proud of Highmark

As the leader of Independence Blue Cross, I want to acknowledge the Post-Gazette's informative article "Highmark To Handle Data For Philly Insurer" and provide some background about how our decision to select Highmark as our operating platform vendor fits into our business strategy as one of the nation's leading health insurers.

We considered other national vendors during a thorough selection process, and chose Highmark because its system proved to be the best, hands down.

By contracting with Pittsburgh-based Highmark, we are investing in the commonwealth and keeping jobs here in our great home state to support our expanding portfolio of businesses and products.

Also, by capitalizing on one of Highmark's strengths, we can continue to focus on serving our 3 million-plus (and increasing) customers in southeastern Pennsylvania and across the country.

Right now, Independence Blue Cross is one of the fastest growing health insurers in the country. For example, recently we led a transaction with other Blue health insurers and the leading technology company Lumeris to purchase NaviNet, the nation's largest real-time communication network for physicians, hospitals and health insurers. We are also pioneering innovative ways to reward hospitals and physicians for higher-quality care and more effective care coordination.

In fact, a recent report in HealthLeaders InterStudy named the top five health plans "best positioned for 2014 reforms." We are proud that Independence and our national Medicaid subsidiary are listed as one of those leading organizations.

We are pleased to include Highmark in our ambitious efforts to change the game!

DANIEL J. HILFERTY
President and CEO
Independence Blue Cross

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