March 8, 2013
, has received national recognition for its work in reducing health care disparities among its employees and with its client groups. Highmark was the only Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan in the country, and one of three national employers to be honored at a ceremony in
today by the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit association of more than 360 large, U.S. employers with its third annual "Innovation in Reducing Health Care Disparities" award.
"Highmark has a longstanding commitment to recognizing and valuing diversity and inclusion, and for years, our Health Equity & Quality Services team has lead the company's efforts to reduce disparities and improve the delivery of culturally and linguistically appropriate services," said
Highmark Medical Director Rhonda Johnson, M.D, MPH
. "Our programs advance our members health and wellness, and we are dedicated to reducing health care disparities by enhancing health literacy and providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services for our members."
In addition to its work with members and providers, Highmark's employees receive ongoing diversity and inclusion training. The company provides its employees with an online database of cultural information to increase the capacity and skills needed to address the health care needs of all individuals Highmark serves.
According to the National Business Group on Health, more and more companies understand just how important it is that their health care benefit programs meet the needs of a culturally diverse workforce, and Highmark recognizes that by addressing health care disparities and improving the value, quality and effectiveness of the health care services provided.
Direct data collection from Highmark members and employees who provide information voluntarily has helped the company make an impact on reducing health disparities. In addition, employee representatives from various business areas within the company serve on an advisory committee that oversees enterprise efforts dedicated to enhancing health literacy and providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) for members.