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With its new contract with Independence Blue Cross, the Penn Health System has forged a new  partnership with the largest health insurer in Philadelphia.

The contract is set to become effective July 1, 2017, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. The agreement includes a provision that Penn will join Independence’s Facilitated Health Networks model of health insurance, which includes exchanges of health care data and a no-charge guarantee for readmissions within 30 days of a surgery or other extended stay. 

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Independence chief executive Daniel Hilferty believes that the agreement will advance Independence’s ability to provide high-quality coverage for those in the Philadelphia area — a number totaling 2.5 million people, according to Independence.

“This is a significant advancement in how we collaborate with hospitals and doctors to ensure our members, and the community-at-large, receive quality care at an affordable price,” Hilferty said in a statement to the Inquirer.

The contract comes at a time when both Penn and Independence have been expanding their partnerships. 

In 2015, Independence announced a contract with the Jefferson Health system, the second largest health system in Pennsylvania after the Penn Health System, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. 

Likewise, the Penn Health System recently expanded by signing a deal to acquire the Princeton Health System in 2016 according to the Inquirer.

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