Pine man named in list of 50 most influential clinical executives

Monday, July 22, 2019 | 12:01 AM


A Pine resident has been honored for his work with Highmark Health.

Tony Farah, the executive vice president and chief medical and clinical transformation officer at Highmark Health, was named one of “Modern Healthcare” magazine’s 50 most influential clinical executives last month based on reader balloting and editorial input.

The awards specifically target those individuals who help meet organizational goals, help to “establish or contribute to a culture of innovation and transformation” and work toward improving community health and patient experiences while lowering health care costs.

“It is an honor to the extent that folks are — and it’s not just me, because it takes a village — but they’re recognizing the impact we’re having here and the impact we’re having nationally,” Farah said.

Farah was appointed to the newly created position in 2017 in order to “lead the redesign of care delivery in every setting, advancing innovative new models that optimize health care delivery,” according to the Highmark Health website.

Seeking to fix a health care system in which the many different interests aren’t necessarily integrated and working together for the betterment of the patient, Farah said, they began to seek solutions they could put into practice two years ago.

The initiative they put together has not only succeeded in saving money but also reducing some of the issues that can arise when various entities aren’t working together, he said, such as a 30- to 40-percent reduction in inpatient admissions.

Also included in the overall initiative were determining ways to eliminate the 30 cents on every dollar that is wasted when examining health care costs nationally, emphasizing early screening and examining the care model for patients with chronic conditions.

“We said OK, let’s look at the most common medical conditions that people have, whether that’s diabetes, congestive heart failure, COPD and many others, and we put together a team led by physicians but also a clinical team of nurses, pharmacists, social workers and support staff from the health plan and included data that allowed the clinical team to look into how to track the progress of this population,” he said.

So for a patient with congestive heart failure, for instance, Farah explained that they created what they call team-based care that could include not only the primary physician and cardiologist but also perhaps also nutritionist, health coach and social worker.

“All have the same information and all work together in unison,” he said.

A longtime cardiology specialist, Farah earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and his MD from the American University of Beirut before serving his internship, residency and fellowship at Allegheny General Hospital.