News | Published July 15, 2014

Mount Nittany Medical Center, Highmark Blue Shield working together to improve care for area residents

Mount Nittany Medical Center and Highmark Blue Shield are collaborating to increase the focus on quality and ultimately help improve peoples’ health outcomes. The companies announced today that Mount Nittany Medical Center has continued to steadily improve patient care by a variety of measures as a participant in Highmark’s Quality Blue, pay-for-performance hospital program. As a result, the Medical Center is proud to receive the maximum reward possible through the program.

“Highmark’s pay-for-performance program pushes hospitals to continue to raise the bar on quality. By emphasizing this goal and by implementing financial incentives as part of the program, we have seen significant improvements in a number of areas,” said Andrew Bloschichak, MD, Highmark senior medical director. “Mount Nittany Medical Center has been an outstanding partner. It continues to improve quality in numerous areas, most notably in catheter-associated urinary tract infection rates.”

“Our nurses remain engaged advocates for our patients, especially when it comes to taking the necessary actions to provide their needed care when working with the healthcare team for CAUTI interventions,” said Patricia Watson, RN, MSN, vice president for nursing, chief nursing officer, Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Among these actions include a nurse-driven protocol for daily assessment, management and removal of urinary catheters; an electronic medical record alert for urinary catheter removal; an enhanced competency education program for catheter insertion and care simulation exercises for new nurses employees and ancillary staff; and house-wide daily discharge briefings to discuss catheter protocol helped the Medical Center achieve a 34 percent CAUTI reduction.  

“We appreciate the hard work of everyone involved, from our environmental services and education departments to nursing, case management, information services and others, for their dedication to best practices in CAUTI prevention,” said Gail Miller, RN, MS, CPHQ, vice president for quality, Mount Nittany Medical Center. “I would like to especially commend Marlene Stetson, infection control and prevention coordinator, Mount Nittany Medical Center, for her tremendous work in leading this project.”

According to Bloschichak, higher quality can actually lead to lower healthcare costs for consumers. “We hear from our members and customers that healthcare is too expensive. We are working with partners like Mount Nittany Health to improve quality and lower costs,” said Bloschichak. “By aligning payments to healthcare providers based on quality and not just volume, Highmark continues to build excellence into everyday operations.”

Likewise, Miller states, “We strive to achieve the ‘triple aim’ of providing high-quality, cost-effective care while improving the health our community as a whole. Programs like Quality Blue help us prioritize the safety and quality of our care, moving us even closer to that goal.”