Hitting a Higher Mark

In this podcast, Highmark explores topics that are transforming how health care is delivered, used and paid for. Hear from experts on innovations in the health industry like using artificial intelligence to detect fraud, supporting the well-being of communities by considering social determinants of health, expanding access through provider partnerships and leveraging analytics to understand consumer trends. Each episode is hosted by a member of Highmark’s leadership team.

The views and opinions expressed in this program are those of the participants and do not reflect the views or opinions of Highmark, its subsidiaries or affiliates. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. 


Episode 15

Launching Lumevity

In this episode, we discuss how organizations can transform by delivering enhanced outcomes for customers, improving financial results, and increasing employee engagement with Lumevity.

Featuring: Deb Rice-Johnson, president and chief growth officer at Highmark Inc., Larry Kleinman, chief human resources officer for Highmark Health, and Chris Little, senior vice president of strategic partnership growth at Highmark

Episode 14

Medicare Advantage 101

In this episode, hear from our experts on who is eligible for Medicare, and the benefits of Medicare Advantage plans. Did you know Medicare Advantage provides comprehensive coverage including vision, dental, and hearing services not included in traditional Medicare? Tune in to learn more about what factors to consider when choosing a health plan.

Featuring: Lori Schoonmaker, market president, National Markets, Highmark Inc., and Ellen Galardy, senior vice president, Consumer Markets, Strategy and Sales.

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Episode 13

Scaling Up with Penn State Health

Highmark Health and Penn State Health are teaming up to change the way health care is delivered. Through new facilities, medical research, and value-based care, this partnership is increasing both accessibility and affordability for members and patients. Hear more from the experts on how we’re scaling up to bring high-value care closer to home with Penn State Health.

Featuring: Tom Doran, chief operating officer for Highmark Health Plan, Steve Seftchick, vice president of Network Partnerships at Highmark Health, and Dr. Safa Farzin, senior vice president of Community Practice Division at Penn State Health.

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Episode 12

Dynamic Duo: Medical and Rx

What are the advantages of integrating medical and pharmacy benefits? Reduced costs, increased convenience, and improved health outcomes for members. Listen in to learn more about how streamlined care can maximize your benefits.

Featuring: Tom Doran, chief operating officer and Sarah Marche', senior vice president of Pharmacy and Clinical Strategy at Highmark Inc.

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Episode 11

Social Determinants of Health

Great health care doesn't end when a patient leaves the doctor's office. Social determinants of health (SDoH) are the unseen social factors that affect a person’s health, like where they live, what they eat, and even their education level. Learn more from expert Nebeyou Abebe about how health care and insurance providers can address SDoH to treat the member's whole health.

Featuring: Nebeyou Abebe, senior vice president of Social Determinants of Health, and Lori Schoonmaker, market president of National Markets at Highmark.

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COVID-19 Series Episode 5

Vaccine Equity

Hear how data fueled the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. From identifying vulnerable members through the CDC's Social Vulnerability Index to activating outreach and vaccination efforts, listen in to learn how data can make a difference.

Featuring: Matthew Rhenish, senior vice president of Pharmacy and Market Strategies at Highmark Inc., and Richard Clarke, senior vice president and chief analytics officer at Highmark Health.   

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COVID-19 Series Episode 4

Vaccine Rollout

Get your top questions around the COVID-19 vaccine answered — from how it works and vaccine efficacy, to the rollout and building herd immunity. Special guest Dr. Amy Crawford-Faucher of Allegheny Health Network shares how you can play a part in keeping our communities safe and healthy.

The COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson protect many people and have very little risk. It’s far safer to get vaccinated than to get COVID-19.

Featuring: Dr. Amy Crawford-Faucher, vice chair of Allegheny Health Network’s Primary Care Institute and medical director for Telemedicine at AHN.

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Episode 10

The Power of Clarity

The adage "knowledge is power" couldn’t be more true when it comes to health care. This episode highlights how Highmark Inc. is empowering both consumers and employers with meaningful data to ultimately change the way they engage providers and make informed health care decisions. Through the introduction of Well360 Clarity, Highmark is helping members secure the highest-quality providers and support them to find the optimal site of care.

Featuring: Lisa Marsh, director of Clinical Sales Consulting and Dr. Philip Majewski, senior medical director of Clinical Strategy & Analytics for Commercial Markets.

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Episode 9

Youth Mental Health Matters

COVID-19 has triggered a rise in mental health and behavioral health issues across general populations, but its impact is exacerbated for children, adolescents, and young adults. Hear from our panel of mental health professionals to learn how you can identify risks, start conversations, and seek care for mental health across this age group.
For immediate mental health care or referrals, please call your pediatrician or primary care provider.
For more mental health resources, check out Magination Press, the BoosterBuddy app, and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

Featuring: Dr. Alicia Kaplan, Psychiatry, Allegheny Health Network, Dr. Doug Henry, VP of Allegheny Health Network’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Institute; and Dr. Tania Kannadan, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Allegheny Health Network.

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Episode 8

Health Care and a New Administration

Host Jeff Bernhard is joined by Mike Warfel, vice president of Government Affairs at Highmark Inc., to discuss the Biden administration’s impact on health care. They cover anticipated changes to the COVID-19 action plan, Medicare expansion, adjustments to health care costs, and more.

Featuring: Mike Warfel, vice president of Government Affairs, Highmark Inc.

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Episode 7

Introducing Living Health

Host Jeff Bernhard is joined by Highmark Health guests Tracy Saula, senior vice president of Living Health Solutions, and Richard Clarke, chief analytics officer, to dive into their ambitious strategy to transform the future of health. Living Health is all about reinventing the health experience between a person and their clinician. They also discuss the world-class analytics powering this endeavor, the impact on the patient and clinician relationship, and the role of technology in long-term care.

Featuring: Tracy Saula, senior vice president, Living Health Solutions & Strategy Enablement at Highmark Health, and Richard Clarke, chief analytics officer at Highmark Health.

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Episode 6

Actionable Analytics

This week, join host Jeff Bernhard and guests Lisa Schaffner and Jim Brown to discover how data and analytics are transforming our healthcare experience. Our experts use these powerful tools to understand current performance and anticipate future trends, creating a blended approach to providing appropriate, cost-effective care.

Featuring: Lisa Schaffner, Vice President, Healthcare Analytics, Highmark Health and Jim Brown, Vice President, Enterprise Financial and Patient Analytics, Highmark Health

Episode 5

Collaborative Care

The relationship between the healthcare payer and provider is critical to blending information to view a total health situation. Learn more about how we're improving capacity to manage the quality and cost of healthcare through clinical and financial alignment.

Featuring: Gerry Walsh, Vice President, Provider Contracting and Relations, Highmark and Mark Wendling, MD, Executive Director, Physician-Hospital Organization, Lehigh Valley Health Network

COVID-19 Series Episode 3

Testing 1, 2, 3

Testing for COVID-19 is essential to quickly identify, isolate, and treat infected patients. Host Jeff Bernhard is joined by Dr. Brian Parker, Chief Quality Learning Officer for Allegheny Health Network, to discuss the different types of tests, including the best time to get tested if you suspect you've been exposed to the virus. They also explore what it means to have COVID-19 antibodies and the likelihood of being reinfected. To learn more, visit the CDC testing website or

Featuring: Brian Parker, MD, Chief Quality Learning Officer for Allegheny Health Network

COVID-19 Series Episode 2

(Re)Open for Business

As we adjust to the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are eager to reopen to employees and customers. Host Jeff Bernhard is joined by Dr. Susan Manzi, chair of the Medicine Institute at Allegheny Health Network, to discuss how businesses can safely reopen while protecting their employees, customers, and community. For more information, please visit To watch Highmark's back to school webinar, click here.

Featuring: Susan Manzi, MD, Chair of the Medicine Institute at Allegheny Health Network

COVID-19 Series Episode 1

Mask Up

Wearing a mask and social distancing are two of the simplest ways to protect yourself and others from contracting and spreading coronavirus. Host Jeff Bernhard is joined by Dr. Don Whiting, chief medical officer for Allegheny Health Network, to learn the facts around wearing a mask and social distance. They also discuss the emergence and impact of a potential vaccine. To learn more, visit

Featuring: Don Whiting, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Allegheny Health Network

Episode 4

Getting Better Together

We all want the highest quality healthcare for ourselves and our families. Learn how we are shaping the future of quality reporting through collaboration with value-focused providers and industry experts. Read more at National Committee for Quality Assurance and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Featuring: Diane Gilworth, Former Senior Vice President, Clinical Services, Highmark Health and Sricharan Chalikonda, MD, Chief Medical Operations Officer, Allegheny Health Network

Episode 3

Health – More Than Healthcare

Social determinants of health play a big part in our overall wellness. Access to healthcare, healthy food, and important life resources impact our health beyond the care at a doctor's office. Learn more about how we're supporting the health and well-being of communities by looking at its socio-economic factors such as safety, food security, and health literacy.

Featuring: Barbara Gray, Senior Vice President, Social Determinants of Health, Highmark Health and Erine Gray, Chief Executive Officer, Aunt Bertha

Episode 2

AI vs. Fraud Schemes

How does AI detect billions in fraudulent medical spend? Learn how we use artificial intelligence to investigate fraud earlier and lower healthcare costs. Read more at or the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association.

Featuring: Kurt Spear, Vice President, Financial Investigation and Provider Review, Highmark and Musheer Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, FraudScope

Episode 1

War on Opioids

Opioid Use Disorder effects millions of Americans each year. Our experts share how we are implementing ways to reduce the addiction rate in the regions we serve. Read more.

Featuring: Charles DeShazer, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Highmark and Caesar DeLeo, MD, Vice President and Executive Medical Director, Strategic Initiatives, Highmark.

Meet our host:

Jeff Bernhard

Senior Vice President, Commercial Markets, Highmark Inc.

“I am very proud to work for a company that is committed to positive transformation of health and the healthcare industry. This podcast series highlights some of the innovative things being done. I hope you find this series of value and thanks for listening.”

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