Saturday, April 08, 2006

Humana Collaborates with AstraZeneca & University of Miami to Improve Consumer Health

AstraZeneca, University of Miami, and Humana Collaborate to Improve Consumer Health
MIAMI, FL - Mar 14, 2006 - AstraZeneca, the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and Humana Innovation Enterprises, Inc. announced today the creation of a multi-year research collaboration to improve consumer health by addressing the growing nationwide problem of patients not taking their prescribed medication or getting the treatment they need for chronic health problems. The problem of medication non-adherence adds an estimated $100 billion to healthcare spending in the United States every year, according to a study from The New England Journal of Medicine.

Research shows that 43 percent of adults, 54 percent of children and teenagers and 55 percent of seniors do not take their medication as prescribed by their physicians. The research for this collaboration will be conducted through the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine–Humana Health Services Research Center on the school’s Miami campus. “We are pleased to be part of this important research project that I believe will make a positive difference in American’s health outcomes,” said Lawrence Gardner, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Miller School of Medicine. “I’m looking forward to the results of this research collaboration and the innovative actions we can take to make that happen.”
Key preliminary areas of focus for this research collaboration may include how to predict which patients with multiple chronic conditions have the most difficulty adhering to complex medication schedules; how physician-initiated care management might help with this problem; and, how technology might be used in offering patients needed support.

AstraZeneca, Humana and the UM Miller School of Medicine each have been pursuing opportunities to develop research to identify and implement methods to improve the care of patients with multiple chronic conditions.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, in 2002 chronic disease was responsible for a global mortality of more than 40 million people. By 2020, it is expected that chronic disease will contribute to nearly 70 million deaths with direct medical costs escalating to more than a trillion dollars. “Humana’s ability to engage consumers in managing their health, no matter what their individual circumstances, will help in developing and testing solutions as this research delves into the reasons behind non-adherence,” said Humana Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Jonathan T. Lord, M.D. “We are excited to have this opportunity to collaborate with the University of Miami and Humana to focus our efforts on providing a more personal and meaningful health care experience for both patients and physicians,” said Adele Gulfo, Vice President, Healthcare Innovation & Corporate Strategy, AstraZeneca.
Humana’s own database, along with its behavior change programs, consumer health and outcomes research capabilities, have been matched with the skills of the largest private research university in the southeastern United States, the University of Miami, in the creation of the Health Services Research Center. The Research Center provides an ideal environment to strengthen AstraZeneca’s commitment to developing treatments for chronic conditions and promoting appropriate pharmaceutical care through research.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Cigna's New Oncology Program

CIGNA HealthCare Launches a New Oncology Condition Management Program

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., March 31, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

To help those at-risk or living with cancer manage and treat their complex condition, CIGNA HealthCare today announced a new CIGNA HealthCare Oncology Condition Management Program, which will provide prevention, wellness and condition management assistance for members.

According to the Institutes of Medicine (IOM), approximately half of all men and one-third of women will develop cancer in their lifetimes. Advances in detection and treatment have greatly improved chances of recovery and survival, but even after overcoming the illness, cancer survivors must often manage potentially lifelong consequences and risks associated with their illness. "Cancer is a complex condition that can significantly impact a member and his or her family physically, emotionally and financially," said Jeff Kang, MD, chief medical officer, CIGNA HealthCare. "Our goals are to both help prevent cancer and help members living with cancer - no matter what stage of recovery or treatment they are in - to survive or improve their quality of life while managing their condition." The new program, which will be available for plans that take effect beginning January 1, 2007, aims to support cancer victims and survivors through prevention, diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

The program will provide access to specialized nurses, health educators and behavioral health experts equipped to assist members and their families with preventive care, understanding treatment options, coordination of care and lifestyle issues affected by their condition.
Members who are diagnosed with cancer will be enrolled in CIGNA's specialty case management program to work with a nurse case manager, who can help explain treatment options recommended by providers and coordinate care among different providers.

Members undergo a comprehensive screening to develop a personalized plan, and they will have access to web-based tools to help them effectively manage their care. The costs of cancer care are significant. According to the National Cancer Institute, direct medical costs for cancer care in 2004 totaled more than $72 billion. When considering the impact of indirect costs, such as lost productivity due to illness or premature death, the total economic burden reached $190 billion in 2004. The CIGNA HealthCare Oncology Condition Management Program will offer members support to help diagnose potential cancerous conditions early and prevent the development of the disease. CIGNA HealthCare nurses and health educators will actively remind at-risk members overdue for recommended screenings to schedule appropriate tests. They will also provide counsel and support to help at-risk members adopt healthier lifestyles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of new cancer cases can be reduced and many cancer deaths prevented by adopting healthier lifestyles and by making cancer screening, information and referral services available and accessible.

For example, periodic screening tests for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers can reduce the number of deaths from these diseases by finding them early, when they are most treatable. In some cases, screening tests can detect treatable precancerous conditions, and therefore prevent the development of cancer.
The program will also address the needs of members who have recently completed treatment or have ongoing maintenance treatment and medication needs. Specialized health educators will work with members to help them learn more about medically indicated health screenings, managing potential side effects and needed lifestyle changes. The nurse case managers will assist members and their families in coping with the emotional impact of their condition, including helping them receive family counseling, organizing and preparing for treatment and end-of-life planning, as needed.

The CIGNA HealthCare Oncology Condition Management Program will draw upon data and resources available through CIGNA HealthCare and CIGNA business units specializing in behavioral health, pharmacy management and disability management.

With the integration of information from all these health-related areas, CIGNA HealthCare clinicians will be able to understand the full scope of a member's condition and care to coordinate the appropriate resources from many health disciplines for the member.

CIGNA HealthCare, headquartered in Bloomfield, CT, provides medical benefits plans, dental coverage, behavioral health coverage, pharmacy benefits and products and services that integrate and analyze information to support consumerism and health advocacy.

"CIGNA HealthCare" refers to various operating subsidiaries of CIGNA Corporation (NYSE: CI). Products and services are provided by these operating subsidiaries and not by CIGNA Corporation.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Kaiser Permanente to Sponsor Los Angeles Triathlon

April 3, 2006
Contact: Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Andy Gallardo

Kaiser Permanente Announces Three Year Title Sponsorship of the City of Los Angeles Triathlon...Premier West Coast Triathlon Open to Recreational and Professional Triathletes at All Levels

Los Angeles, CA -- Kaiser Permanente has signed on for a three-year commitment to sponsor the City of Los Angeles Triathlon. Beginning with this year's event on September 10, 2006, the City of Los Angeles Triathlon will be titled the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Triathlon.

Kaiser Permanente physicians and health professionals will be onsite to meet the basic medical needs of participants for the entire course.

Kaiser Permanente will also host the 2006 Health & Fitness Expo at the Marina Del Rey Marriott on September 8 and 9. The Fitness Expo features celebrity athlete appearances, the latest trends in triathlon apparel, technology and fitness equipment along with seminars on training, racing and nutrition. "We are thrilled Kaiser Permanente is partnering with us for this great event," said Jack Caress, Race Director for the Los Angeles Triathlon.

“Participating in an athletic challenge is about committing to total health and Kaiser Permanente exemplifies this commitment in everything they do as an organization,” added Caress. “We look forward to a great partnership and are excited about the health expertise they bring to the table. This triathlon will be exciting for the entire family!” “The Los Angeles Triathlon represents what Kaiser Permanente is all about, encouraging people to take a more active role in their health,” noted Jeffrey Weisz, MD, Executive Medical Director of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Physician Group.

“Our dedication to quality care extends beyond the walls of our medical centers,” added Weisz. “The Triathlon encompasses everything we stand for; commitment, dedication, and a passion for health. We hope the entire family gets involved.” The featured event of the weekend will be the Olympic distance professional race, which is international in flavor. The overall winners last year were Canadian Michael Simpson in the men’s division and American Sarah Haskins in the women’s division. Designed for athletes at all levels, the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Triathlon has a competition level for everyone. Triathletes can choose between two distances: Olympic distance (swim 0.9 miles; cycle 24 miles; run 6.2 miles) and the Sprint distance (swim 0.4 miles; cycle 20 miles; run 3.1 miles).

For the amateur, recreational and first-time triathletes, there are also swim-only and bike-only segments, as well as three-person relay teams. In 2005 nearly 3,000 triathletes from 22 states and nine countries participated.

About the Los Angeles Triathlon...Voted the #1 triathlon by Competitor Magazine, the Los Angeles Triathlon is one of the west coast’s premier triathlon events and is the third largest triathlon in the world. Starting in Venice Beach, the event course travels through scenic Los Angeles passing such noted landmarks as the LA County Museum of Art, Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame and the Disney Concert Hall before finishing at Staples Center.

For more information or to register for the September 10, 2006 event, log on to www.LATriathlon.com.

About Pacific Sports LLC...The City of Los Angeles Triathlon is produced by Pacific Sports LLC, a sports consulting firm specializing in event production and management for triathlons, marathons, adventure races, running races and multi-sport events in the United States and Europe.

Included among Pacific Sports’ more than 400 events are 12 U.S. Championships and the Triathlon World Championship in 1996. In addition to event production, Pacific Sports consults for a number of corporate clients. More information about the Pacific Sports and the City of Los Angeles Triathlon can be found at www.pacificsportsllc.com.

About Kaiser Permanente...Kaiser Permanente is America’s leading integrated health plan. Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Region is a nonprofit, group practice prepayment program headquartered in Pasadena, California. Kaiser Permanente serves the health care needs of 3.1 million Southern California members from Bakersfield to San Diego. It encompasses the nonprofit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the for-profit Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Region includes more than 47,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 5,000 physicians representing all specialties. More information about Kaiser Permanente can be found at www.kaiserpermanente.com.