; Arthritis & Rheumatic Disease Associates (ARDA) Physician Group Joins Highmark Inc.’s Integrated Delivery System
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Press Release

Arthritis & Rheumatic Disease Associates (ARDA) Physician Group Joins Highmark Inc.’s Integrated Delivery System

ARDA will bring expertise in rheumatology to the Integrated Delivery System

April 4, 2012

PITTSBURGH – Highmark Inc. announced today that Arthritis & Rheumatic Disease Associates (ARDA), a leading rheumatology group in western Pennsylvania, has chosen to affiliate with its growing Integrated Delivery System. ARDA physicians, Leo P. Bidula, M.D.; Paul J. Killian, M.D.; and Lindsay J. Lewich, D.O., began working as Highmark providers on March 12.

ARDA, which specializes in the treatment of patients with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, is the second major provider group following Premier Medical Associates, from the Monroeville area, to join Highmark’s Integrated Delivery System. ARDA physicians and staff will continue to practice from the same locations in Monroeville, Brackenridge and Greensburg, Pa.

“The mission of our Integrated Delivery System is to have a patient-centric and physician-led system with high levels of patient engagement,” said John W. Paul, who leads Highmark’s provider division. “By working with successful provider groups such as ARDA, we are able to fulfill this mission.”

All ARDA physicians are diplomats of the American Board of Internal Medicine and are certified in internal medicine and rheumatology.

“Our entire practice, including all of our employees, is very excited to join the Highmark team,” said Dr. Leo Bidula, M.D. “We are fully supportive of Highmark’s vision, and this had a strong influence on our decision to align with Highmark.”

Highmark Inc.’s Integrated Delivery System was launched with the announcement of the planned affiliation with the West Penn Allegheny Health System. With that announcement, Highmark is committed to building a world-class delivery system that improves value for its customers and the community. Highmark’s integrated delivery and financing system is a patient-centric and physician-led system with high levels of patient engagement. It will deliver high-quality health care services at more affordable costs by partnering with employed and contracted physicians and hospitals that share the Highmark vision to transform health care in our region by aligning incentives between physicians, hospitals and other health care providers to focus on quality and outcomes with a focus on wellness and prevention.

This delivery system will provide differentiated services and experiences and improved health outcomes, while lowering costs for our health plan members and our patients. This means creating a vibrant network for independent community hospitals; an aligned network of physicians, both primary care and specialists; broader choice in health service; and more convenient access to innovative outpatient services.

About Highmark
Highmark Inc., based in Pittsburgh, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. Highmark serves 4.9 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware through the company’s health care benefits business and is one of the largest Blue plans in the nation. Highmark has 19,500 employees across the country and provides a broad range of health and wellness related services through subsidiary and affiliate companies. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.