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Living Proof

Highmark Health bridges the gap from medical innovation to covered therapy

Exciting new medical therapies are being developed every day. And Highmark Health is dedicated to bringing the positive impact of these innovations to people who need them to improve their quality of life.

To fast-track life-saving treatments to a point of broader acceptance, Highmark Health created the VITAL Innovation Program (Verification of Innovation by Testing, Analysis and Learning). VITAL provides the additional scientific proof that commercial insurers require before approving coverage of FDA-approved technologies.

Giving patients the VITAL medical breakthroughs of tomorrow, today, is living proof.

VITAL makes the connection

Launched in 2015, the VITAL Innovation Program was designed to provide the missing link between FDA approval of a new technology and its full reimbursement by commercial insurers.

VITAL's overall goal is to make new technologies and services available through commercial insurers to the public sooner. Through VITAL:

  • Participants get access to innovative, safe technologies that can help them, before these procedures are approved for coverage, without a high out-of-pocket cost.
  • Highmark Health can more quickly understand the full impact of new technologies, procedures and protocols on patient outcomes and overall costs of care. This may accelerate the adoption of formal changes to insurers' medical policies.
  • Technology vendors and specialist providers can prove the benefits of their new innovations to patients and health plans.

Managing Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) with LINX

VITAL is currently supporting the testing and validation of several leading-edge medical breakthroughs at Allegheny Health Network and other hospitals. One of them is the LINX® Reflux Management System, a new minimally-invasive method to control severe acid reflux and avoid esophageal cancer and other diseases.

LINX is a ring of tiny magnetic titanium beads that restores the stomach's natural acid barrier. LINX Is surgically placed around the area where the stomach and esophagus meet. Once in place, it:

  • Opens up to let in food and liquids when patients swallow.
  • Quickly closes to keep stomach acid from traveling up the esophagus and causing heartburn.

After the surgery, patients can eat normally within an hour and no special diet is required. Over 90 percent of patients no longer need daily medications for reflux.

Learn more

LINX is living proof of how Highmark Health's VITAL program delivers tomorrow's technology and treatment to patients — today.

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