Jan. 19, 2011 | Camp Hill, Pa. In order to give Highmark members more health care options, Highmark is working with certified registered nurse practitioners (CRNPs) to expand their role to serve Highmark members in much the same capacity as a primary care physician (PCP).
“The health care reform legislation that was passed earlier this year will likely mean more people will be getting health care coverage and seeking health care services,” said Carey Vinson, M.D., Highmark’s vice president of quality and medical performance management. “By recognizing CRNPs’ ability to work up to the full scope of their medical license, it will allow greater access for members.”
Highmark is reaching out to several hundred CRNPs across Pennsylvania to determine if they would like the designation to serve Highmark members as a network primary care CRNP.
Currently, Highmark works with CRNPs primarily in two ways. The CRNP may work with a physician now and are not credentialed. They typically work closely with a physician in a primary care or family practice setting or they may work for a specialist. The second area where Highmark engages CRNPs is when they function independently. They do, however, collaborate with physicians in the Highmark network, even when working independently.
A CRNP’s duties may often include diagnosing, treating, evaluating and managing chronic disease. Their duties also could include ordering routine tests and prescribing medication.
“During the next few months, we will see just how many of the CRNPs choose to apply for this designation,” said Vinson. “Over time, we believe this is another way to make the state more attractive to CRNPs.” Highmark is also making various CRNP training programs aware of this change.
Dr. Vinson also noted that in many cases CRNPs work in a retail clinic setting, something Highmark supports. These clinics have proven to be cost efficient and very convenient for members.
About Highmark Inc.
As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.’s mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.7 million people through the company’s health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people’s health. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark’s positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. The company provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.
Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.