Highmark Health Receives $5 Million Grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to Enhance Behavioral Health Support Programs and Access to Social Services

PITTSBURGH, May 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Highmark Health announced today that a $5 million grant from the Richard King Mellon…

PITTSBURGH, May 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Highmark Health announced today that a $5 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation will be used to leverage its partnership with Google Cloud and Verily to develop and deploy holistic, digitally enabled personalized health support programs and increased access to such services as part of its Living Health Strategy.

Funds from the grant will be used to address the chronic medical and behavioral health needs of patients and members across Highmark Health’s core markets in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and northeastern and western New York through the development of state-of-the-art personalized healthcare solutions. This will enable access to individualized options for digital solutions and care tailored to their specific needs and preferences.

The focus will be on the whole person, considering the presence of multiple chronic conditions with particular emphasis on behavioral health, a major need in the community which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Behavioral health includes mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety; the treatment of addiction and substance use disorders; and an individual’s overall resilience and wellbeing. Currently, many individuals fail to seek treatment due to a lack of awareness of where to go for help, a problem exacerbated by the spate of digital offerings now available. The customized solutions will personalize care and support options based on member and patient needs and preferences.

“Health care as it exists today is complex, fragmented and reactive. Our goal is to develop curated data based, personalized, clinician prescribed and fully integrated solutions for promoting and preserving a person’s whole health – physical, mental and social. This will enable us to deliver a more sustainable improvement in the health and quality of life of the communities we serve,” shared Tony Farah, MD, FACC, FSCAI, executive vice president, chief medical and clinical transformation officer of Highmark Health.  “By using technology to enable new options of care, not only will we have the opportunity to improve the health of our patients at scale, but we will reduce costs of care by more effectively addressing physical and behavioral health needs in a timely and efficient manner.”

Highmark Health will also enhance the services offered to individuals who are negatively impacted by social determinants of health (SDoH) through the creation of a High Performing Social Care Network (HPSCN) for residents in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The HPSCN will bring together Community Based Organizations and other social care providers using an incentive model to address the confluence of medical and non-medical drivers of poor health outcomes. The HPSCN will include the integration of Aunt Bertha, the digital platform that currently powers Allegheny Health Network and Highmark’s Community Support tool.

The grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation will promote healthier communities throughout the region with improved access to social services and access to innovative behavioral health support programs, resulting in lower healthcare utilization rates, less substance use, and improved medical outcomes.

“We know the pandemic has led to dramatic increases in anxiety, depression and substance-use disorder,” said Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “The impacts on the lives of our neighbors in Southwestern Pennsylvania are profound, as are the impacts on the work of the social-service agencies and health-care providers who seek to help them. But too often, social-service agencies and health-care providers work in silos. This initiative will utilize an abundance of data from Highmark combined with technology from Google Cloud and Verily to better connect our social-service and health-care providers, resulting in a new model for improving health and well-being both locally and nationally.”

About Highmark Health: Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh, PA-based $21 billion enterprise that employs more than 35,000 people who serve millions of Americans across the country, is the parent company of Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, and HM Health Solutions. Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates provide health insurance to more than 6 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and New York as well as dental insurance, and related health products through a national network of diversified businesses. Allegheny Health Network is an integrated delivery network comprised of thirteen hospitals, more than 2,500 affiliated physicians, ambulatory surgery centers, an employed physician organization, home and community-based health services, a research institute, a group purchasing organization, and health and wellness pavilions in western Pennsylvania. HM Health Solutions is focused on meeting the information technology platform and other business needs of the Highmark Health enterprise as well as unaffiliated health insurance plans by providing proven business processes, expert knowledge, and integrated cloud-based platforms. To learn more, visit www.highmarkhealth.org.

About the Richard King Mellon Foundation: Founded in 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation is the largest foundation in southwestern Pennsylvania, and one of the 50 largest in the world. The Foundation’s projected 2020 year-end endowment was $3.1 billion, and its Trustees in 2020 awarded grants and Program Related Investments totaling $130 million. The Foundation focuses its funding on six primary program areas, delineated in its 2021-2030 Strategic Plan.

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SOURCE Highmark Health