There’s nothing like the unconditional love of a dog – and that love can be life-changing. Now, dog lovers across Humana, who have connected for years on the company’s intranet to share their experiences with man’s best friend, have gone public with their pooches in a new book released on Amazon in February.

The 200+ page book, titled “The Dog Lovers of Humana: How Employees of a Well-being Company, With Their Canine Companions, Take the Journey Towards Happier and Healthier Lives,” is packed with heartwarming stories contributed by 82 Humana employees, each of whom shares how a dog has made a difference in their well-being. The stories represent 146 dogs and include 500 pictures. Authored by “Humana Employees and Their Best Buddies” and edited by Sarah Stephens, Business Consultant in IT, the e-version made its debut on Amazon on February 11, with a bound version following a few days later.

“Our dogs are such important partners in our lives,” says Sarah, an animal rescue advocate who currently lives with eight dogs of her own. “They help us gain better health, safety, a purpose to life, and a sense of belonging.”

The support the group received as they worked on the book was impressive, with a variety of teams and leaders reacting with enthusiasm and lending guidance throughout the process. An incredibly tightly knit group, the Dog Lovers intranet group believes Humana’s culture is enhanced by the ability to connect online in a personal way about something other than work that matters to them.

All proceeds from the sale of this book will be given to three dog rescue operations within the U.S.

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When Humana started Project San Antonio (the precursor to its Bold Goal), the company recognized Pattie Dale Tye, who was serving as president of Humana’s Large Employer Group Business, as an ideal leader. Pattie Dale’s love of community has been evident throughout her 13 years at Humana. She is now being recognized by Today’s Woman magazine as one of their “Most Admired Woman” finalists.

The award recognizes women in Kentuckiana who have excelled in their careers and community service, making them role models to many. In addition to Pattie Dale’s many contributions to Humana as a respected and admired leader and mentor, she has contributed significantly to the Louisville community through Board service roles with Metro United Way, the Louisville Zoo, Trees Louisville and the Kentucky State Chamber.

Please support Pattie Dale by voting daily between now and March 22 by clicking this link and searching for Pattie Dale in the Corporate category (one vote per email address per day). *Note that the ballot works best in Chrome, Edge, Safari or Firefox internet browsers.

Winners will be honored at an event on June 26 and featured in the June issue of Today’s Woman.

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Bruce BroussardIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His latest — Is a Positive Nudge Better than Fear? — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

Fear is used to influence how we behave, how we shop, how we save, what we eat, how much we exercise. From purchasing the safest car to baby-proofing our homes, fear drives us in many ways.

But is fear effective in health? Yes, people will lose weight because they’re afraid of having a heart attack. Yet others will lose weight because they want to have more energy to do the things they love and have a longer, more fulfilling life. When it comes to changing behaviors, is fear the best motivator?

In health care, our ability to change unhealthy behaviors – and thus improve outcomes and lower costs – will determine the sustainability of the system. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “86 percent of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.”

Chronic conditions are the most preventable of health issues because they’re the result of unhealthy decisions made over time. This leads to a question: How do you “nudge” people toward positive behavior change?

I recently finished the revised and expanded edition of a book called Nudge, by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. The authors offer several insights on how unhealthy behaviors can be corrected.

Here are four concepts from the book that grabbed my attention and how each can be used to change unhealthy behaviors among seniors and those living with multiple chronic conditions:

#1: Frame the choice without the negative. Thaler and Sunstein examine how a person with a serious heart disease is presented with a “grueling operation.” They state the following:

“The doctor says, ‘of one hundred patients who have this operation, ninety are alive after five years.’ What will you do? If we fill in the facts in a certain way, the doctor’s statement will be pretty comforting, and you’ll probably have the operation. But suppose the doctor frames his answer in a somewhat different way…‘Of one hundred patients who have this operation, ten are dead after five years.’” Thaler and Sunstein go on to say, “If you’re like most people, the doctor’s statement will sound pretty alarming, and you might not have the operation.” The same goes for doctors themselves. “When doctors are told that ‘ninety of one hundred are alive,’ they are more likely to recommend the operation than if told that ‘ten of one hundred are dead.’”

The Nudge: Physicians, nurses, care professionals and caregivers who care for seniors living with multiple chronic conditions have much influence. It’s natural for a senior not to want to undergo an operation where there is risk. Thaler and Sunstein note that “a good way to increase people’s fear of a bad outcome is to remind them of a related incident in which things went wrong; a good way to increase people’s confidence is to remind them of a similar situation in which everything worked out for the best.” Nudges that frame the positives, while highlighting the ideal outcome, will help people take steps to evolve from unhealthy behaviors.

#2: Don’t underestimate the power of priming. Referred to by the authors as “the somewhat mysterious workings of the Automatic System of the brain,” the concept has been proven to show that “subtle influences can increase the ease with which certain information comes to mind.” The authors write:

“With respect to health-related behavior, significant changes have been produced by measuring people’s intentions. If people are asked how often they expect to floss their teeth in the next week, they floss more. If people are asked whether they intend to consume fatty foods in the next week, they consume less in the way of fatty foods. The nudge provided by asking people what they intend to do can be accentuated by asking them when and how they plan to do it.”

The Nudge: Consistent patient engagement is essential, especially when focused on sustaining behavior change. Physicians don’t have a lot of time outside the office for helping patients make better daily decisions. But by nudging the patient, the care team shows an active interest in the patient’s health and can improve outcomes.

#3: Incentives are a better option than talking down to someone. Thaler and Sunstein describe how a simple nudge can lower the teen pregnancy rate, saying teenage mothers “often become pregnant again within a year or two.”

The two cite a “dollar a day” program, “by which teenage girls with a baby receive a dollar for each day in which they are not pregnant…A dollar a day is a trivial cost to the city, even for a year or two, so the plan’s total cost is extremely low, but the small recurring payment is salient enough to encourage teenage mothers to take steps to avoid getting pregnant again. And because taxpayers end up paying a significant amount for many children born to teenagers, the costs appear to be far less than the benefits.”

The Nudge: Sustaining action requires sustained commitment. For seniors living with chronic diseases like Congestive Heart Failure, where the heart weakens over time, life is already difficult. Positive encouragement, through nudging from the care teams, can help them stay the course.

#4: People can make good decisions when presented with non-biased facts. In the bonus chapter, Thaler and Sunstein discuss how New York City adopted a law requiring fast-food chains to display the caloric intake of each of their foods. The authors applaud the preference of mandating information vs. mandating ingredients.

The Nudge: Many of us have experienced this nudge by reading the information in fast-food restaurants. It’s a powerful influence because it doesn’t pass judgment on an option; it merely states the impact of the decision. Making someone feel guilty for his or her unhealthy decisions over a lifetime won’t change behavior.

For far too long, health in our country has been marketed through fear. Given how unhealthy our country has become, it’s time for a change.

Health is hard, especially for seniors living with multiple chronic conditions, limited financial means, and often limited support from family and friends. We have to avoid talking down to people and painting dire scenarios.

At Humana, we’re responsible for the health and well-being of 14 million Americans; 3.3 million of them are Medicare Advantage members, and many of them are living with chronic conditions. I’ve seen firsthand how a nudge – not fear – from a physician, nurse or other care team member can help a person change behavior for the better.

Let’s build a healthier country with helpful nudges, not fear.

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Great healthcare is personal. Because each person’s health is unique, each member needs something different from their care. Sometimes that’s as simple as having an easy process in place to keep different treatments organized and coordinated. Sometimes that means having a caring person to talk through options during a difficult time. But every time, great healthcare means helping people live more healthy days, providing high quality care, and keeping costs down—so members can focus on living their best lives.

Humana works with this single goal in mind: helping our members get, and stay, healthy.

That’s why we’ve set a bold goal: to improve the health of the communities we serve 20 percent by 2020. And we’re making steady progress with an early focus on communities like San Antonio, Texas, and Tampa Bay, Florida … places where Humana has large member populations.

Here are just some of the ways we’re getting there.

Our efforts to save you money

At Humana, we want to keep costs down so our members can focus on living healthy lives. We work hard to make sure we’re succeeding. Here’s what we do to help our Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan members save almost $500 in prescription drug premiums this year:*

•  We check that the drugs we cover are prescribed and used according to clinical guidelines. We help people choose less expensive but clinically equivalent drugs including generics or OTC. We choose drugs for our formularies that are effective and provide value to consumers.

•  We monitor new drugs entering the market and forecast when drug patents will expire and generic drugs will enter the market.

•  We negotiate drug prices with drug manufacturers and work with them to get better clinical outcomes.

•  We help members take their drugs as prescribed and not miss doses, and warn members of possible harmful drug effects such as drug to drug interactions, high risk drugs, or duplicate therapies.

•  We use clinical research and analyze data to compare drugs and clinical outcomes to help us place the most clinically and cost effective drugs on our formularies. We also try to predict and detect possible risks or overutilization of certain drugs.

Innovating to keep you healthy

You can’t always measure what a healthy day feels like. But at Humana, the measurements of our innovative technologies tell us we’re on the right track:

1.9 million Humana members had high health risks. Humana used predictive modeling to find them and connected them to their doctors to close potential gaps in their care.

In one study, we saw an average 8.7 percent reduction in body weight using digital health tools—and we’re planning more.

Promoting integrated care

Humana helps doctors spend their time keeping members healthy, rather than just treating them when they get sick. We’re doing it in a few key ways:

•  We’re emphasizing primary care and working to slow the progress of chronic conditions. By closing gaps in care, we’re making life a little better for members and helping them keep their costs low.

•  We’re rewarding doctors and other healthcare providers for great results—like our 42,000 primary care partners in integrated care arrangements. When we conducted a national survey of our partners, 87 percent of those medical providers were pleased with our partnerships.

•  We’re identifying chronic conditions before they develop using predictive models and data analysis to connect the dots between early symptoms … before they turn into long-term issues.

•  We’re making it easier for people to achieve their best health with in-home care and technology that encourages them to stay healthy on their own time.

We believe in a simple premise: Doctors should be able to keep you healthy, not just focus on treating you when you get sick. And doctors agree.

But in many cases, doctors are reimbursed for the procedures they perform, not health outcomes they help influence. That’s why we’re partnering with doctors across the country to move toward accountable, integrated care. It means we’re focusing on the quality of care you receive and how healthy you are.

And that model is working: In 2013, we compared Humana’s Medicare Advantage members who received care from doctors whose reimbursement focused on health outcomes to those members who received care from doctors reimbursed for the procedures they perform. The members who saw providers with health outcome focused reimbursement had seven percent fewer emergency room visits per thousand and four percent fewer inpatient admissions, too.

Healthy behaviors, healthy living

At Humana, we’re committed to helping our members achieve their best health. HumanaVitality, which now has 3.9 million members, gives members rewards for making healthier, active choices—and that helps lower their health costs. People engaged in the HumanaVitality program had 6 percent lower healthcare costs than those outside the program after one year.

Keeping costs in check


Keeping people healthy saves money. It’s as simple as that. By helping Humana members live their best, healthiest lives, each of these programs contributes to keeping their costs down.

*How we calculate our cost-savings for members:

February 2016 Internal Humana calculation of total projected premium value from Humana’s drug rebates, management, and quality programs divided by [projected 2016] Humana Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan membership, as applicable.

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Humana has been named one of the 50 Best Places to Work for New Dads by Fatherly, an online resource that aims to be “the most robust source of practical parenting advice on the Internet.”

The publication cited Humana’s four weeks of paid paternity leave, our Health Savings Account, our PTO policy and “some of the most competitive salaries in the industry made even better with recognition pay for good performance.”

The article also mentioned our tuition-reimbursement and 401k policies, which helped make Humana “the top-ranked insurance company on this year’s list.”

Read more about Humana here.

See the full list here.

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