WILKES-BARRE – Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield announced today that Brian Rinker, formerly the senior vice president and chief administrative officer at Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA), has been named Highmark’s senior vice president of the NEPA region of Pennsylvania. Highmark merged with the Wilkes-Barre based BCNEPA in June. Rinker will serve as Highmark’s senior leader in the market. His responsibilities will include providing senior management support for business performance and new business development, as well as serving as the chief liaison with the newly created, local Regional Advisory Board, community stakeholders and other regional business partners. "We are fortunate to have an executive of Brian’s caliber joining our senior management team,” said Deborah Rice-Johnson, president of Highmark Health Plans. “His extensive knowledge of the health care industry and the northeastern Pennsylvania market, as well as his relationships with key stakeholders in the community, make him perfectly suited for this new role." In more than 25 years of service with BCNEPA, Rinker held a broad range of senior leadership roles involving both internal operations and managing external relationships with key stakeholders. Rinker has also served as vice president for planning and managed care with the former Community Medical Center Healthcare System in Scranton, and spent several years in federal and state sponsored community health planning with both the Health Systems Agency of NEPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Rinker holds a bachelor’s degree from King’s College and a master’s degree in health administration from Wilkes University, serves on advisory councils for several local colleges and universities, and is active on several local community boards. About Highmark Blue Cross Blue ShieldHighmark Blue Cross Blue Shield serves approximately 3.2 million members through the company’s health care benefits business and employs more than 4,700 people in western and northeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.