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Imagine going to get your hair done and also being able to get your blood pressure checked at the same time at no extra cost. It is possible now at 15 salons and barbershops across Kansas City. The new “More Healthy Days” Barbershop and Beauty Salon Tour creates a one-stop shop for hair and health serving people living in Kansas City with limited access to care.  In partnership with the Black Health Care Coalition, Humana is tackling barriers to care like cost and accessibility at the local level. 

Earlier this month, Humana and the Black Health Care Coalition hosted a panel discussion and health screenings at Diana’s Hair Care and Styling in Kansas City. The discussion highlighted how meeting people where they are and leveraging relationships between stylists and customers encourages people to take steps toward better health.

“This initiative makes screening for a few common health issues — like high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension — accessible for anybody in the community,” said Marvin Hill, Corporate Communications Lead for Humana.  “Improving population health is a long-term investment, so partnering with local grass-roots organizations is essential.”

This effort is part of the Bold Goal initiative and brings healthcare to people who have not always had easy access in the past. It is a step toward addressing the significant health disparities that currently exist in minority populations. Each stop on the tour will provide free medical screening and wellness resources at participating salons in the area, including biometric testing, Parkinson’s screenings, social determinants of health screening, exercise classes and more.  Part of Humana’s Bold Goal is screening 1 million people by the end of 2019.

This arm of the “More Healthy Days” campaign will also address other social determinants of health, such as social isolation and food insecurity, which are associated with adverse health outcomes. Click here to view the list of participating barber shop and beauty salon locations.

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In 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 — A culture of well-being— is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

We all have heard that a life well lived is one filled with purpose. Yet getting focused and persevering toward that purpose is tough for each of us at times. Do I have the belief and optimism to commit fully? Do I have the energy to change? Do I have support from others along the way?

I continue to admire the will and the spirit of our employees, watching them work together to improve their own health and well-being, as well as that of the people they serve. It’s a purpose we share in common, and their dedication to our members and each other is inspirational.

As we’ve experienced first-hand, there is a strong link between optimism and well-being. Together, our collective spirit has fostered an internal social movement toward better health and well-being because our focus as an employer is on the whole health of our team. We work at it and stay committed. By nurturing that culture over time, lives change for the better. So does our future as a collective team committed to caring for others.

Peter, a Humana employee, is an example of a life changed for the better. He wanted me to share his personal journey to convey how much our well-being movement has meant to him.

Peter’s success story

Peter is an employee who has struggled with his weight his entire life. He got married to his high school sweetheart, whom he had known since sixth grade, and had tried to get his weight under control. Peter repeatedly set goals to lose weight…before his wedding, at the birth of his first child and his second child, but like many of us, he struggled to make it happen.

As Peter’s weight continued to grow, he eventually stopped weighing himself. That was until he and his wife sat down one day to talk about their retirement plan. You see, he was getting involved in our well-being efforts, but mostly focusing on financial well-being aspects…admittedly avoiding his physical health needs. She looked at him and said, “You’re over 300 lbs. I have to plan a contingency plan for when I retire without you.”

This struck a nerve with Peter, because it was the first time she had spoken of a future without him. It was a real moment of clarity – and also the spark he needed to change for his wife, his children and their future.

Peter started eating better and running. It wasn’t easy at first, but he grew with it and now loves to run. Peter and his wife now run together each week, and physical activity plays a central role in their lives. He knows he is still on a journey toward being his best, but he’s filled with the energy and optimism of knowing he’s living in line with his purpose.

Across the company

In addition to Peter’s story, Humana has been supporting the whole-person health and well-being of our employees, which includes financial aspects, from contributing to a 401(k) (93 percent of employees currently do) or engaging in financial education that helps strengthen their day-to-day financial security, and other aspects of their lives.

Chronic disease remains a massive challenge to workforce health and productivity. We’re engaging our employees to help them better self-manage their existing chronic conditions by providing digital-enabled tools that incorporate contextual coaching. We’re especially focused on healthier lifestyles that prevent chronic conditions. In addition, we’re deeply leveraging our Go365 wellness solution, which engages and rewards people for positive behavior changes.

On the emotional health side, the U.S. workforce is among the most stressed in the world. Building resilience is important, so we’re trying to foster a sense of belonging and purpose through our Bold Goal: improve the health of our communities 20 percent by 2020. We’ve found that employees in teams with a high sense of belonging have six times fewerUnhealthy Days.

Lastly, the workforce today is more distributed than ever. Like many companies, a portion of our employees work from home or are agile. We’re focused on providing them with virtual care, both physical and behavioral, as well as ways of keeping them deeply connected to their teams and our culture.

Never stop learning

Such stories are empowering, so we share many of them each year in our annual Well-Being Report, an interactive journey through some of the lessons we’ve learned (and are still learning) along with data-driven insights over the prior year. We share this report internally to inspire and connect our community. This year, for the first time, we’re sharing the report publicly.  

Here are a few learnings and insights that I took away from our report:

Importance of internal well-being champions – At Humana, we have a group of employees who volunteer to serve as “Well-being Champions.” They are a group of heroes who are responsible for localizing well-being initiatives and inspiring their colleagues to take action. They have played such a critical role in fostering a culture of whole-person health and well-being.

Leverage our executive team commitment – If you want to inspire change, leaders must set the tone. They must walk the walk, or you’re not going to foster a culture of health. I’m proud of how our executive team has helped foster this climate across the company. I know that we can always raise the bar, and it starts with me and my team.

Simplify the path to better outcomes – The health care industry is undergoing a significant transformation, where it’s rebuilding itself around the consumer. People need help removing barriers and finding a simpler path to their best selves. For example, we cover the cost of various preventive medications and even deliver them across campus for employees to manage their health. The report is a reminder that if we stay focused on keeping health and well-being at the heart of our culture, we can measurably improve health outcomes for our members, many of whom are living with multiple chronic conditions or are already proactively taking steps to change their lifestyles.

It’s a never-ending journey

Health and well-being is a journey for each of us – and one we don’t make alone. Much can be done to build healthier cultures today, where positive change is more often “caught than taught.” 

For us, we know that to help our members live healthier and happier lives, we must keep learning and striving in our own journey together. We need to stay focused on the whole health of our team, from financial security to behavioral health.

For more on Peter’s path to well-being and other inspirational stories, please check out the Humana Well-being: 2018 Annual Report.

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Humana was recently named the No. 4 company on the new 100 U.S. Companies Supporting Healthy Communities and Families list, a list from JUST Capital and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranking companies on key issues related to community health and well-being.

Companies on the list are scored by JUST Capital on 16 different social, economic and environmental factors defined by the American public, which shape how businesses contribute to healthy outcomes for workers, their families and the communities in which they operate. The list examines how companies address core determinants of community health and their efforts to be good neighbors with supportive and sustainable business practices.

Humana’s inclusion on this list can largely be attributed to the company’s treatment of its workers, relationship with healthcare providers in local communities and customer service practices.

  • Employees – Ranking No. 1 in the Health Care Providers industry, Humana offers its employees extensive and generous benefits including adoption assistance for part-time and full-time employees, flexible work arrangements and onsite fitness centers, and is one of top three highest paying companies in its industry.
  • Products – Ranking No. 1 overall, Humana has strong health provider relationships with more than 50,000 physicians across the U.S. providing care to its members. And, the company has not been tied to issues related to services or products that are harmful to health or the environment.
  • Customers – Again ranking No. 1 in the Health Care Providers industry, Humana is rated highly for its customer service practices, based on net promoter scores and survey data, receives excellent scores for disclosure of customer privacy practices, and has not been the subject of major customer privacy controversies.

For more on Humana’s CSR efforts, read the 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

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Research published in the American Journal of Health Promotion shows evidence that health coaching can support healthy changes in lifestyle, reduce health risks and increase Healthy Days. Healthy Days is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assessment tool that Humana uses to track the mentally and physically Unhealthy Days of their members over a 30-day period.

To better understand how to support the health of our members, Humana sponsored a study which found significant reductions in average total Unhealthy Days across all goal categories.

Healthy Days is a reliable, validated assessment tool, designed to measure perceived health-related quality of life. Healthy Days provides a holistic view of health and well-being that reflects both  physical and mental domains and can appropriately capture the complex and subjective experience of individuals in health coaching programs.

As Humana explores ways to help members achieve their best health, health coaching and navigation is one way they are seeing success in reducing hospital admissions and improving medication adherence.   

Humana’s Bold Goal, a business and population health strategy to help improve the health of the communities the company serves 20 percent by 2020 and beyond, uses Healthy Days to track and trend progress at the local level.

Read the study here.

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A group of physicians and healthcare leaders at a recent event convened by Humana aimed to to understand what the medical practitioner’s role should be in addressing food insecurity as part of improving patient outcomes. This article appeared in Healthcare Innovation.

By Drs. Toyin Ajayi and Andrew Renda

It’s an unfortunate truth that in our current healthcare system, too-short, too-packed appointments often mean that providers do not have time to understand all that is going on with their patients beyond the walls of their practices.While the treatments we prescribe address their physical symptoms, we know little about the social, economic and environmental challenges our patients face that impede their health. These social determinants of health (SDoH)—like reliable transportation, nutritious food, stable housing, community and human connection—are critical to health and well-being. Yet, the way that medicine is still widely practiced, especially in lower-income communities, is extremely costly, fragmented, and fails to produce the health outcomes and cost efficiencies we all want.

One of the most prevalent and harmful barriers to good health is lack of access to enough nutritious food. Food insecurity leads to higher rates of chronic disease, emergency department visits and hospitalizations, driving $77.5 billion in related healthcare costs. We cannot expect to improve health and reduce costs if we do not first ensure that patients eat well. This is no small issue: adults experiencing poverty, who presumably lack consistent healthful food, have a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke, depression, disability—even premature mortality.

So why is food insecurity not considered a clinical gap in care? Shouldn’t all providers have a responsibility to diagnose social determinants of health, as they would other medical conditions?

These were the questions posed to a group of physicians and healthcare leaders at a recent TEDMED event convened by Humana, aiming to understand what the medical practitioner’s role should be in addressing food insecurity as part of improving patient outcomes.

This will require a major restructuring of the roles and responsibilities of healthcare providers. Beyond that, we need to implement interventions using technology platforms, validated screening tools and referral sources, as well as new code sets and payment models, to enable physicians to make it standard practice.

How do we make this work?

Community provider-driven care teams. For physicians to feasibly address SDoH requires a significant shift to a team-based approach that reaches well beyond the walls of the medical practice and into the communities where patients live.

This team-based, flexible approach is the foundation that Cityblock Health is built on. Multidisciplinary care teams are led by Community Health Partners – individuals from within the community who understand the experiences of people living there. Community Health Partners meet members where they are, taking time to understand what is going on in patients’ lives and connecting them to the right resources. They enhance the clinical team’s understanding of members’ realities and design interventions for their specific needs. Team-based models necessitate a significant role change for physicians, one that embraces working closely with non-medical, community-based partners.

Value-based care. Few reimbursement systems are currently set up to adequately pay medical practices for time and resources spent treating social determinants of health like food insecurity. Value-based models, where reimbursements depend on patient outcomes, encourage and allow room for care teams to address all aspects of health—from medical and behavioral health conditions to social needs— as equally critical in every patient’s care.

In value-based care models, we then need to develop clear measures tied to addressing social determinants of health and their impact on outcomes.

Evidence and outcomes. Currently, there is limited evidence of which approaches are most effective at improving health outcomes and providing a return on investment. However, one example showing real benefits are medically-tailored, home delivered meal programs for the elderly. These programs have been shown to improve clinical outcomes including blood pressure and diabetes control, and help to curtail emergency department visits and inpatient admissions for adults who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare.

It’s critical we establish methods and metrics to expand evidence-based programs and measure various approaches that address SDoH. As part of that effort, Humana is currently working with the National Quality Forum to define quality measures around food insecurity. This will enable us to standardize benchmark measurements and expectations to help physicians effectively address food insecurity; and to incentivize and reward based on validated measures tied to patient outcomes.

We’re in the early stages, but there is growing momentum for treating these issues as clinical gaps in care. To make real progress toward that end, decision-makers across healthcare—from policymakers to health plan and health system executives— will need to align on a shared vision and efforts to address patients’ comprehensive health and social needs. Physicians alone cannot cure food insecurity; but we can be powerful partners in holistically addressing the needs of our patients and communities.

Toyin Ajayi, M.D., is the chief health officer at Cityblock Health and Andrew Renda, M.D., is the corporate strategy director, population health, at Humana.

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