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Population Health - Emergency Department Utilization

Emergency Department (ED) utilization contributes significantly to medical expenditure in the United States. Over the past 3 decades, increases in ED visits in the U.S. have been documented despite decreases in active or operational emergency departments.1,2 Addressing avoidable ED utilization is a focus for Highmark Health, which has implemented interventions in partnership with providers to reduce preventable ED use.

Learn More: Appropriate Emergency Department Utilization Leading To Better Care Coordination

As part of Highmark's Population Health University, we held a panel discussion on how Emergency Department utilization effects patient care. We also discussed the need to address ED utilization to support care coordination and collaborative efforts from various Highmark departments. In the second segment, we talk to representatives from Mt. Nittany Medical Center about their initiatives to reduce ED utilization.


  • Jo Clark, BSN, RN; Vice President, Value Based Care, Endorsed LLC.
  • Rachel Ombres, M.D.; Medical Director, Enhanced Community Care Management Network, Allegheny Health Network
  • Dawn Lobick, MSN, RN; Manager, Population Health, Highmark Health
  • Sehrish Panjwani, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP; Population Health Pharmacist, Highmark Health
  • Amanda Mihalko, M.A., Director, Social Determinants of Health for Allegheny Health Network, Highmark Health
  • Erin VanLuven, LCSW; Director, Behavioral Health Operations, Highmark Health

Moderator: Phil Majewski MD, MPH; Medical Director, Population Health, Highmark Health

*Here’s a breakdown of the topics discussed and time into each recording where you can listen to each topic: ED Utilization Panel Discussion

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Segment 2: Initiative Sharing with Mt. Nittany Medical Center


  • Suzanne Zeman, MS, RN; Population Health Performance Specialist, Highmark Health
  • Kevin Boyles, MHSA; Clinical Transformation Consultant CPA-PCP, Highmark Health
  • Jacqueline Hahn, RN, BS, CCM, CPUR; Director of Population Health and Case Management, Mt. Nittany Medical Center
  • Amanda Pighetti-Marshall, BSW; Clinical Lead in Emergency Room for Case Management, Mt. Nittany Medical Center
  • Bevin McVey, BS; Clinical Transformation Consultant - Hospital, Highmark Health

Moderator: Phil Majewski MD, MPH; Medical Director, Population Health, Highmark Health

Last updated on 5/20/2024 1:38:28 PM


  1. Gandhi SO, Sabik L. Emergency department visit classification using the NYU algorithm. Am J Manag Care. 2014;20(4):315-320.
  1. Nguyen CA, Shih JA, Lin KV, Aladesanmi OA. Targeting national emergency department overuse: a case for primary care, financial incentives, and community awareness. Harvard Health Policy Rev. 2014;14(1):23-26.
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