Interview with PHA Executive Director: From CCA to the Population Health Alliance

Fred Goldstein, interim Executive Director of the Population Health Alliance was interviewed at the HIMSS 2014 conference, in Orlando, about the re-branding of the Care Continuum Alliance to the Population Health Alliance, the association’s research and advocacy priorities, and the annual conference, PHA Forum 2014.

Worth watching:

PHA Forum Logo Final-01

Guest Post: Walgreens Community Based Population Health Management: Targeted, Coordinated and Connected Care

As part of its ongoing efforts to transform community pharmacy, and recognizing the important role its pharmacists are positioned to play in healthcare today, Walgreens in January 2013 became the first retail pharmacy chain to gain CMS approval to operate Accountable Care Organizations in collaboration with three physician partners. The ACOs’ objective is to meet the triple aim of improving healthcare delivery and patient satisfaction while lowering total medical spend.

The current healthcare landscape has paved the way for Walgreens to expand its clinical services to meet the demands for greater access, convenience and affordable healthcare. Walgreens’ ability to help identify, manage and control health issues in the community complements physician care delivery to provide an extra level of care and the ability to coordinate care across the continuum.

Walgreens’ 8,100+ pharmacies, 400+ Healthcare Clinics and 70,000+ trusted health care providers deliver high quality, personalized services and comprehensive care in thousands of communities nationwide. Its retail pharmacy, infusion services, Healthcare Clinics, specialty pharmacy, employer-based health centers, and host of consumer, hospital and gap management programs offer a comprehensive and unique portfolio of healthcare services to support partners’ care models and patient population, while making Walgreens a strategic partner of choice for a growing number of hospitals, health systems and physician groups.

Health Care Reform offers new opportunities for Walgreens pharmacists to play a key role in integrated care teams and work collaboratively with physicians to provide patient centered care. When pharmacists have participated in integrated care teams, there have been reduced hospital readmissions, enhanced care coordination, improved medication adherence and improved outcomes. (Health Affairs, 2013)

The significant opportunities for population health management exist in collaboration between physicians and community providers, such as pharmacists and nurse practitioners. Walgreens community based population health management strategy extends the primary care driven care plan to leverage all of Walgreens nationwide health care assets in a targeted, coordinated and connected fashion.

The value of the community providers offers patients seamless and convenient access to high quality care that is coordinated with the original physician care plan. Where traditional care management focuses on the complex chronic patients only, Walgreens healthcare touch points provide patient engagement opportunities to maintain healthy behaviors, modify high risk behaviors, control chronic conditions, manage acute conditions, provide education for health delivery choice and reduce readmissions.
There is approximately $700B of waste in the American Healthcare system, with 33%-69% of hospital admissions resulting from poor medication adherence (IMS Health, 2013). By working collaboratively with other providers in the healthcare community, and introducing innovative programs and services that foster coordinated care to help meet the triple aim, we can have a significant impact on the nearly $213 billion cost to the U.S. healthcare system that comes from non-adherence to medications (IMS Health, 2013).

Walgreens medication therapy management and adherence programs provide patients with follow-up calls and full medication reviews. Patient engagement is key to success. Patients who are involved in care planning can better understand their options and can be accountable for their care. As more systems take more risk in the health care spectrum, Walgreens looks to partner with more integrated, risk-bearing entities to provide targeted, connected and coordinated approach to care delivery.


Guest Blog Post Disclaimer CCA invites guest bloggers to post on Voice of Population Health Blog as a benefit for our members and the industry and to allow for exchange of ideas and information regarding population health. The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and/or of the company the author represents and do not represent those of the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA), its members, or the industry as a whole. CCA is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this guest post article. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author(s) and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

CCA Research Priorities for 2014 – Get Involved Today!

After a lengthy process of consultation with members and industry stakeholders, CCA Board of Directors have approved the organization’s 2014 research agenda, with a focus on engagement, value on investment and measure development. The research work will seek to address these issues as they apply across markets and to align with health care policy with an increased collaborative efforts with the CCA Government Affairs Committee.

2014 Research Agenda

In October, the Quality and Research area of CCA began the process to develop and seek comment on a 2014 Research Agenda. This three-step process has provided the opportunity for additional feedback from members.

  1. Hosted a strategy meeting with key Quality and Research volunteers in conjunction with CCA Forum 2013. During this meeting a list of draft research priorities was shared with the group for comment, feedback and potential additions to the list.
  2. Distributed the revised draft list in an electronic survey format to the Quality and Research Committee and the CCA database. The survey asked respondents to prioritize the list based on their own perceptions of the research needs of the industry and the CCA membership, as well as to comment on the areas or suggest topics not on the list.
  3. Summarized the prioritization and comments from the survey and convened a small group of members to use this feedback to develop the final 2014 research priorities list.

With feedback from the first group, a list of criteria was developed for the survey respondents and final prioritization in steps 2 and 3. Criteria included:

  • Important to industry.
  • Important to CCA members.
  • Feasible to accomplish within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Leverages existing research.
  • Potential to influence CCA advocacy efforts.
  • Potential for international relevance.

The outcome of this process is the following proposed list of priorities for Quality and Research in 2014:

1. Engagement (individual and organizational)

I.            Definitions & Measures

i.         What does it mean, within the context of population health management?
ii.          How can it be measured?
iii.           How can it be reported?
iv.           How does it relate to other elements of population health management?
v.          How does health improve engagement within the organization?
vi.           Use and effectiveness of technology

II.            How do you increase Engagement?

i.           Communication
ii.           Culture
iii.            Incentives (Outcomes Based)

2. Value on Investment

I.         What is it?
II.           How is it employed in the industry?
III.           Best practices / empirical evidence of concept
IV.            Case studies
V.           Role of technology

3. HERO-CCA Measure Development

I.          Pilot v.1 measures, survey employers to determine adoption, and update measures
II.            New definitions of health

The 2014 research agenda will seek to address these issues as they apply across markets and to align with health care policy (through the CCA Government Affairs Committee) as much as possible.

We also recommend the formation of a Physician Liaison Group. With the physician as the primary caregiver and bearing the burden of risk in the current health care system, CCA will create an advisory relationship with physician and provider groups for guidance on current research initiatives.

In addition, the CCA Data Advisory Board will continue to work toward final recommendation of the next research study and the requisite funding.

Improving Population Health: Creating Healthier Communities to Make Healthcare Better

Brenda Schmidt, MS, MBA, President and CEO of Viridian Health Management

A few weeks ago, I attended the 2013 CCA Forum in Scottsdale, Arizona. I am proud that Viridian Health Management was a CCA Forum contributor sponsorSolution Zone exhibitor and symposium speaker, as this conference is the largest gathering of healthcare professionals in prevention, wellness and chronic care management.

The days started early with the breakfast symposiums and were followed by sessions led by well-known organizations as Accenture, Aetna, Alere, Apixio, Banner Health, Optum, Mayo Clinic, Qualcomm, stickK, Walgreens, Weight Watchers, Zamzee, and many more. The days ended with great networking events in the evening. Despite the long days, I was completely energized and refreshed. Spending three days with over 1,000 innovative thinkers can certainly have that effect. I was fortunate to talk with many of these innovators throughout the duration of the CCA Forum and the common thread was that they all wanted to improve healthcare delivery, positively impact health outcomes, increase quality of care, and make sustainable improvements in healthcare for the future.

Looking back at the many CCA Forum speakers, they all were very aligned to this year’s theme of “The Value of Population Health: Implementation Matters.” Here are a few of those examples that really resonated:

  • Michael Taylor of Accenture: “Maintaining a ‘human touch’ in your engagement methodology is a key component of a successful wellness program. Sustainable engagement is necessary to drive value in population Health.”
  • Nilay Shah of Mayo Clinic: “Big data gives the opportunity to collaborate, to prototype, test new findings and speed adoption.”
  • William Crown of Optum Health: “Creating the right cadence for population health management is the key to success over a shotgun approach.”
  • Dee Edington of Edington Associates: “There is plenty of evidence to show health improvement and improved productivity as a result of a culture of health.”
  • Thomas Parry of Integrated Benefits Institute: “If ROI is your only driver for worksite wellness initiatives, then you’re missing out.”
  • Sean Sullivan of the Institute for Health & Productivity Management: “It’s about a consistent message from the top to create a culture of health at your organization.”
  • Robert Stone of Healthways:  “The things that can be measured the most, oftentimes are not the most important.”
  • Ron Weinert of Walgreens: “It’s not a complicated idea…provide patient care in a community setting. We’re bridging the gap…coordinating care through innovative pharmacy programs.”

It was also an honor to co-present with Marissa Hudson, Viridian’s EVP of Public/Private Partnerships at CCA Forum 2013 to discuss Viridian’s role as a strategic partner of the CDC to deliver the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP); Viridian’s proprietary My Weigh 2 Prevent Diabetes™, a cloud-based technology developed exclusively for the National DPP; our diabetes lifestyle coach training; andMAESTRO™, Viridian‘s proprietary model for the identification, outreach and administration of diabetes prevention.

In addition, I am honored and privileged to accept my appointment as a member of CCA’s board of directors. As one of 10 new members of CCA’s board of directors, I look forward to collaborating with other leaders of the healthcare industry to focus on the implementation of effective population health models and strategies from development to delivery.

It’s not a complicated idea: creating healthier communities to make healthcare better and sustainable for the future. As a value-driven health management company, Viridian powers performance in population health, inspires healthy living and lowers healthcare costs. Our philosophy of integrative health management is an interdisciplinary approach that emphasizes a synergy between health protection and health promotion. This approach extends not only to individuals, but also to caregivers, providers and the larger healthcare system.

CCA Forum 2013 clearly chose a very relevant and timely theme. Without a doubt, there is tremendous value of improving population health…it really does matter.


About the Author

Brenda Schmidt is the president and CEO of Viridian Health Management. As the architect of numerous successful health and wellness programs, Schmidt is widely recognized as an authority on developing best-in-class programs that engage diverse populations. In founding Viridian, Schmidt works in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the National Healthy Worksite Program. This national initiative brings a new level of health to the American workplace to improve the lives of employees while lowering employer healthcare costs. In addition, Schmidt also serves a leadership role in the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Think Tank, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), NIOSH Total Worker Health™ and frequently speaks nationally on integrated health management and worksite health.


Guest Blog Post Disclaimer CCA invites guest bloggers to post on Voice on Population Health Blog as a benefit for our members and the industry and to allow for exchange of ideas and information regarding population health. The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and/or of the company the author represents and do not represent those of the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA), its members, or the industry as a whole. CCA is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this guest post article. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author(s) and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

Guest Post: Implementation matters. Particularly if it relates to what matters to the purchaser

Paul Terry formal photoBy Paul E. Terry, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, StayWell Health Management

I picked up an undercurrent during this year’s Care Continuum Alliance – CCA Forum 2013 that I tested often in break-time conversations. “Do you think there is a connection between the return on investment (ROI) and value on investment (VOI) discussions?” I asked. While the answers I got ranged from technical to philosophical, the general tenor from consultants and purchasers alike was a genuine appetite for broadening the criteria we use to judge success in population health management.

I think three things explain a great vibe at the conference that spoke to a readiness to take population health from what has been an inordinate focus on ROI to a preference for advancing VOI. Many view VOI as richer, if not more meaningful to purchasers, first, because of opportunities that accountable care organization (ACO) and regional exchanges could present; second, because of extant limitations in ROI methodology; and, probably most important, because VOI represents the next level of maturation and opportunity for the field.

Regional exchanges and the VOI of wellness

Most presenters who ventured into whether and how the exchanges could influence population health management acknowledged it’s too early to tell. I found Medical Director for Employers Health Coalition Bruce Sherman’s rendition especially edifying given his postulate that small employers may finally have enough critical mass to reconcile the VOI of prevention. Sherman, a medical director for Ohio’s Employer’s Health Coalition, is able to see more clearly than most how the lack of investment by one employer ultimately disadvantages the collective competitiveness of a region.

A scenario I posed to Sherman that he agreed was viable was one where exchanges and population health management providers become more focused. Businesses generally are adjusting to an era of hyper-specialization, and winning or losing in population health will relate to a VOI that is different from one employer to the next.

What I found telling about the VOI propositions offered by those who discussed exchanges or ACOs was the continued preoccupation with the employer as purchaser. It’s more than ironic that “patient centered” homes and value-based purchasing are watchwords, but that the consumer’s values and needs still get short shrift. When a conference has panels of patients replace experts, I’ll be convinced we are fully embracing patient-centered concepts.

At long last: positive proof that wellness works for everyone all of the time

Would the CCA Forum, or any science-oriented group, organize sessions to support this headline? Of course not, but it’s attention-getting isn’t it? That’s undoubtedly a goal behind the hyperbolic harbingers of the notion that wellness doesn’t work.  Nevertheless, the CCA Forum made room for a “great debate” on ROI so presenters could posit that piece meal programs tested using quasi-experimental methods will yield unimpressive or inconclusive results. Not much grist for disagreement but, ever the optimist, I’m predicting those bent on scaring up controversy will inadvertently help to advance VOI metrics.

Short of more randomized controlled trials for comprehensive, long-term population health programs that balance individual interventions with culture change, today’s ROI methods are about as good as they’re going to get. My Dad taught me that you don’t dignify some criticisms with an answer. If CCA is looking for debate questions, here are some that I’d find interesting: Do wellness programs over-measure and under-intervene? The ratio of incentives to educational program spending is nearing 4:1; could this do more harm than good? The Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules could lead to annual health screening for many who would otherwise not be due for screenings according to clinical consensus guidelines; how should this be reconciled? Qualified debaters would be credible scientists who don’t have a financial interest in proving or disproving the questions.

Taking PHM to the next level

Conferences are at their best when they offer healthy doses of both education and inspiration. That the behavioral economics principles advanced in the book “Nudge” are being successfully applied in a clever product like “StickK” is a grand testament to how research can drive innovation. Seeing how an icon to consumer-based health education such as Weight Watchers is mobilizing its formidable peer-support infrastructure as a population health strategy is also remarkable. Learning how the Joslin Diabetes Center is translating its exemplary results in diabetes management into the diabetes prevention sphere was another example of how champions for change build on their own success.

This year’s CCA Forum was, as usual, masterful at enabling networking. It was during an informal lunch debate I had with three of population health’s most prolific researchers — Ron Goetzel, Ph.D., vice president, Truven Health Analytics, Seth Serxner, Ph.D., MPH, chief health officer, OptumHealth and Dee Edington, Ph.D., Edington Associates — that I was reminded of a fourth tenet for why implementation matters. Thought leaders don’t bemoan the failings of others because looking for bad apples is precious time away from creating ever more effective systems that support implementation excellence. Leaders are problem solvers, not problem describers. What’s more, they have an abiding message advancing what they are for, not merely polemics about what they’re against. On this count, this year’s CCA Forum convinced me that when it comes to implementation matters, the value of population health management is in very capable, and constructive, hands.


Guest Blog Post Disclaimer CCA invites guest bloggers to post on Voice on Population Health Blog as a benefit for our members and the industry and to allow for exchange of ideas and information regarding population health. The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and/or of the company the author represents and do not represent those of the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA), its members, or the industry as a whole. CCA is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this guest post article. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author(s) and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

All Eyes on Alere, CCA Forum 2013 Presidential Sponsor

The CCA Forum’s Presidential Sponsor is Worth WatchingCare Continuum Alliance Forum 2013

As Presidential Sponsor of the CCA Forum 2013, Alere brings acute expertise and advanced solutions to this year’s conference. With a vision of connected health, Alere is an established leader in the healthcare industry for innovation. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to meet several of Alere’s top innovators. Register today!


Weight Talk® from Alere: CCA Members Employee Wellness Showcase

PrintWeight Talk® Successfully Engaging Alere Employees

At Alere, wellness is our business. We practice what we preach. This is why we offer wellness services to our own employees and their eligible dependents free of charge.  One of our newest programs, our Weight Talk® weight reduction program, was rolled out to employees in October 2012 with terrific results.

Within the first month, 194 employees enrolled, and more continue to roll in. Since launch, our employee participants have engaged in 286 phone call interactions with the program’s health coaches and 3,424 web logins, and they have completed 302 online activities. A survey revealed a participant satisfaction rate of 97.6, and best of all, 75% of participants have lost weight! We look forward to seeing that number continue to grow.NEWM_2013_Supporter_Logo_f

How Weight Talk® Works

The program offers participants a new way to approach weight loss by learning the 10 essential practices of:

  • Mastering the art of eating well
  • Sitting less and moving more
  • Managing stress
  • Defeating negative thoughts
  • Gaining control of one’s environment
  • Managing time
  • Navigating difficult situations
  • Keeping weight off
  • Rebounding from lapses
  • Maintaining motivation

Along with learning the essential practices of weight loss, each participant is supported by their own dedicated weight loss coach, an online community, and tools such as a wireless activity monitor to keep them on track with their daily goals.

Employees are Enthusiastic

Testimonials from our employees are very positive. Here are two examples:

  • “Right now, I am 11 pounds lighter and just about to my ideal body weight. I can’t say enough good things about the program and the coaches. It is a very solid program. I am a “professional dieter” and knew a lot, but learned even more. The support offered through the program was just what I needed to be successful with weight loss. I hope a lot of people take advantage of this program.”
  • “The weight talk program was great!  I enjoyed having the same coach for the majority of the sessions.  It gave consistency and she knew what to focus on and target to assist me with my goals.  In fact, my objective was just to get more motivated to do the activities I enjoy doing and minimize excuses to keep from doing them.  I believe I was so successful that even though I was looking to tone up my body, not really lose weight, I have lost weight, kept it off and continue to lose weight based on the tactics and techniques my coach offered.”

Social Media Channels

Twitter: @alerehealth


U.S. Preventive Medicine: CCA Members Employee Wellness Showcase

The Prevention Plan from U.S. Preventive Medicine

U.S. Preventive Medicine, Inc. Prevention Plan LogoU.S. Preventive Medicine, Inc. (USPM) has created an innovative information technology solution for a personalized prevention program. USPM’s The Prevention Plan is based on the clinical practice of preventive medicine with engagement in primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.  Users complete a health risk appraisal, receive virtual coaching, live coaching and social challenges to reduce their risks, participating at self-determined levels of engagement.           NEWM_2013_Supporter_Logo_f

The two-year study, “The Association of Technology in a Workplace Wellness Program with Health Risk Factor Reduction,” recently published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (March 2013), concludes that active Prevention Plan participants show significant improvements in health risk reduction. The study proves the relationship between level of engagement in workplace wellness programs and health risk reduction. Engaging technology and interactive Web-based tools can empower individuals to be more proactive about their health and reduce their health risks.

From 15 employer groups, 7,804 employees completed health risk appraisal and laboratory testing at baseline and again after two years of participating in their personalized version of the USPM Prevention Plan. Of those participants who started in a high-risk category at baseline, 46% moved down to medium risk and 19% moved down to low risk after 2 years on The Prevention Plan. In the group that only engaged through the Web-based Prevention Plan technology, 22% of those individuals significantly reduced their health risks.

Dr. Ronald Loeppke, M.D., M.P.H., USPM president and vice chairman and lead author of the study, noted that The Prevention Plan tool used to initiate awareness of health, raise consciousness and determine health risk status is the health risk appraisal. The Prevention Plan’s interactive technology also displays an individual’s Prevention Score and reveals risk reduction visibly to the participant, as actions are taken and lifestyle changes are made.

“The study yields more evidence for the business case for employers that prevention is an investment to be leveraged rather than a cost to be justified,” added Dr. Loeppke.

The study was authored by: Ron Loeppke, MD, MPH; Dee Edington, PhD; Joel Bender, MD, PhD; and Ashley Reynolds, MSN, RN. Review the full published research study: “The Association of Technology in a Workplace Wellness Program with Health Risk Factor Reduction”

Engage with U.S. Preventive Medicine in Social Media



Twitter: @USPM

Healthways – OPM: CCA Members Employee Wellness Showcase

NEWM_2013_Supporter_Logo_fInnovative Onsite Support With Effective Communications and Incentives Help OPM Improve Well-Being and Win Awards

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is a federal agency that works to recruit, train and retain government employees while upholding fair practices, policies and benefits. It’s one of a group of government agencies that Healthways began working with in 2010.

Striving for a world-class workforce, OPM committed itself to improving the health and productivity of its federal employees and creating a culture of well-being. It pursued these goals with an innovative strategy and program called WellnessWorks—developed in collabo­ration with Healthways—which aligns traditional telephonic and online well-being support with several modes of onsite engagement. This comprehensive and meaningful program is available to nearly 1,800 OPM employees in Washington, D.C.

HWAYprofessional_300x200A comprehensive team approach to driving healthy choices

Healthways provided OPM a dedicated onsite account manager, an onsite wellness special­ist, and two onsite coaches to comprise its onsite WellnessWorks team. This team encourages employees to participate in risk identification tools, including the Well-Being Assessment and Biometric Screening, and has found that their five most prevalent behavior risks include ap­pointment adherence, healthy eating, self management, weight management and exercise.

To reduce risks and improve well-being, OPM offers various options for personalized support. Eligible employees can choose from an online Well-Being Plan, health coaching for lifestyle management and disease management, general wellness promotions, and rigorous onsite programming, which includes more than 12 fitness classes, weekly education classes held by the WellnessWorks team or local experts, and onsite challenges with up-to-date results posted in their lobby.

A focused communications and incentives strategy

Healthways launched and continues to reinforce the WellnessWorks brand through a focused marketing and communications strategy that includes traditional, digital and other onsite channels. Recurring campaigns let employees know the different times of the year that the

Well-Being Assessment and Biometric Screening are offered as well as the other various resources available, including general wellness promotions that provide education and en­couragement for a range of topics like good nutrition and stress management.

Incentives are an important part of OPM’s strategy, encouraging and rewarding employee participation. OPM offers multiple incentives for almost every event, ranging from individual prizes, like a $50 visa gift card for completing the Well-Being Assessment, to raffles for items like a wellness gift basket for completing the Biometric Screening.

“Healthways is a true partner in our pursuit of improving the well-being of our employees. Their experience with behavior change and creativity in developing thoughtful, compelling marketing campaigns has enabled us to see impressive and sustained engagement rates among our population. And with Healthways assistance, we were pleased to receive Health Care Leadership Council’s inaugural Wellness Frontiers Award.”

–Jonathan Foley, Director, Planning and Policy Analysis, Office of Personnel Management

Visible results in the workplace and the community

Through the integration of multi-modal program components, robust engagement marketing support, and a continual focus on innovation, OPM’s Well-Being Index® score has increased from 62.5 to 65.7—while the national average and federal employee population’s average has declined.

In terms of participation since launch:

  • More than 40% of the population has completed the Well-Being Assessment.
  • 79% who completed a biometric screening and/or WBA had sufficient behavior risks to qualify them for coaching.
  • 39% of the population has participated in coaching. Among other areas:
  • 41% have participated in weight management
  • 38% have participated in tobacco cessation
  • 61% of all risks were either eliminated or improved in the coaching program.
  • There has been a steady increase of people attending onsite classes, especially those attending together.

Through direct, daily engagement, the WellnessWorks program is making a cultural impact, too. With additional initiatives, like creating a mini-farmer’s market in the main office courtyard, access to healthy choices not only reaches eligible OPM employees, but it also draws in employees of surrounding government buildings.

The entire program is well-supported by OPM’s leadership and has been recognized by the Health Care Leadership Council (HLC), who issued their inaugural Wellness Frontiers Award to OPM in 2013 for the agency’s innovation, improvements in population health and wellness culture.

Engage with Healthways in Social Media
Twitter: @Healthways

Healthways: CCA Members Employee Wellness Showcase

NEWM_2013_Supporter_Logo_fIncentive Structure Drives Unprecedented Wellness Program Participation in a Large Metropolitan Area 

Rapidly increasing health risks in a large metropolitan area call for action.

The declining health of city workers in a large U.S. metropolitan population was resulting in one-half billion dollars per year in the city’s healthcare costs. To reduce its rapidly increasing health risks—including a high rate of obesity, tobacco use, and unhealthy habits associated with nutrition—the city partnered with Healthways to provide a new, comprehensive wellness program that focused on non-participation penalties.

Healthways launches a comprehensive wellness program.

In 2012, Healthways launched a compressive wellness program supporting more than 80,000 city employees and eligible lives representing a wide array of positions across the city, including more than 30 unions and five agencies. While all program participants are located in the vicinity of the city, the city itself is geographically large and complex with several hundred sites and a significant number of individuals at each site.BLD079536

The program is comprised of the Healthways Well-Being Assessment®, biometric screenings, the Well-Being Connect® online behavior change portal (complete with a personalized Well- Being Plan), the QuitNet® tobacco cessation program, and a staff of onsite and telephonic health coaches who conduct health education as well as fitness sessions at specific locations. The majority of coaches are available for telephonic interactions six days per week during afternoon and evening hours. Healthways collaborated with the city’s health plan vendor to include referrals to other available programs as well.

Wellness Program Eligibility and Participation

80,000 eligible city employees and spouses/domestic partners
Incurring $500 million/ year in healthcare costs for the city
87% took a biometric screening
84% completed the Well-Being Assessment
High participation in other program components to maintain incentive eligibility

Strategic incentive and engagement strategies set the program up for success.

To be both attractive to and approachable by a broad population, Healthways and the city worked closely together to develop and execute effective incentive and engagement strate­gies, which held the support of the mayor and key stakeholders, including labor unions.

The strategy includes the following key elements:

  • A distinctively branded identity, including a name and logo, that establishes the program as a citywide initiative that will save taxpayers money and create and a more livable community
  • A compelling incentive structure which assesses a monthly fee to eligible participants who do not enroll or who do not maintain eligibility requirements, such as completing a promise and assessments, and maintaining ongoing eligibility through coaching, onsite activities, and/or active use of Well-Being Connect. The fee can double if neither the employee nor spouse participates.
  • Numerous town-hall meetings with labor unions and more than 200 benefit liaisons (middle management in various departments) who were charged with getting the word out to the city’s eligible population
  • A streamlined online registration process initially focused on three easy steps to enrollment
  • Training materials to assist benefit liaisons with outreach

Program launches with unprecedented participation.

With a strong emphasis of the city’s cost-saving and community-building initiatives, coupled with a strong buy-in from key stakeholders, the multi-phase program launched with unprec­edented participation:

  • 87% participation in the biometric screening—the first phase of the program
  • 84% participation in the Well-Being Assessment—the second phase of the program

Engage with Healthways in Social Media

Twitter: @Healthways



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