health and wellness

By Chad Johnson, Chief Procurement Officer, Humana 

Every day, I try to “Take 10” – a well-being break Humana, my employer, actively encourages all of its employees to do. Depending on my day, my “Take 10” might be some stretches at my desk or a walk with my team. No matter what my well-being break is, it makes me feel connected to a larger sense of well-being and purpose.

That purpose, the vision and goal of improving ourselves and our local communities, is deeply entrenched at Humana. In fact, it’s so deeply entrenched that we’ve given it a name – the Bold Goal – and defined it as our goal to improve the health of our employees and the communities we serve 20 percent by 2020.

While that might sound lofty, the Bold Goal is important to me and my team. The direct connection to Humana’s health plan members and the patients at our medical facilities isn’t always easy to see when you work in Enterprise Procurement and Vendor Services (EPVS). But, the Bold Goal gives us a clear connection to our members and motivates us to inspire health and help people live healthier lives however we can.

We actively encourage our department to take steps to increase health and reduce stress. Walking meetings and standing desks are common sights on our floor. We’ve held Healthy Pot Luck and Team Stretch and Walk events, combining healthy food, team bonding and exercise.

Among my favorite ways we’ve embraced Humana’s Bold Goal as a team is volunteering. Volunteering as a team connects us to our own sense of well-being by giving back and allows us to lend a helping hand to our local community in Louisville, Ky. The EPVS team frequently participates in “Blessings in a Backpack” on Fridays, packing backpacks to make sure school children have food to eat on the weekends. At a recent quarterly meeting, our team wrote more than 100 inspirational cards for seniors living at Little Sisters of the Poor – St. Joseph’s Home. I’m proud to work for a company that cares deeply about its employees and the well-being of all the communities we touch.

In our daily work, the EVPS team furthers Humana’s vision of well-being by the types of vendors we contract with and the kinds of programs we create for members. Shortly after joining Humana in 2017, I traveled to Miami to learn more about one of our enterprise vendors. This particular vendor helps Humana deliver meals to Medicare Advantage members the week following a hospital stay, a time when seniors are often vulnerable health-wise. The program includes three easy, nutritious, fresh meals a day for a week. Walking around the vendor’s warehouse, I clearly felt how my work directly affected our members and improved health in Miami.

Taken together, Humana’s Bold Goal is motivational and inspirational. It gives me and my team a clear connection and purpose in our work. It helps us contribute to Humana’s work to be an outstanding corporate citizen in all the communities we serve. And, the Bold Goal makes us feel good about what we’re working towards each and every day.

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The medical community could improve the well-being of millions of older Americans by addressing how three social determinants of health – food insecurity, loneliness, and social isolation – are prohibiting them from achieving their best health, according to Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Beveridge wrote a blog post for Forbes titled “Are Social Determinants The Missing Key To Improving Health?” He noted that such social determinants of health may be as important as our physical determinants and genetic makeup. And he cited research showing that “consumer behavior (social connectedness), socioeconomic (family and social support) and environmental factors account for 60 percent of what determines a person’s health.”

“Social determinants are creating a more complex health picture for the people they impact, and we need to address them and find solutions,” he wrote. “To do so, it’s important to understand how social determinants differ from clinical diseases and how they impact specific individuals.

“If you’re food insecure, you won’t be healthy. If you’re lonely, you don’t take care of yourself. If you’re isolated, you’re going to eventually become depressed. Social determinants can lower a person’s resolve to make important lifestyle changes, directly impacting his or her health.”

He said the medical community “needs the time, tools and reimbursement to proactively screen for social determinants of health, and this requires evolved payment models that codify and compensate physicians for these screenings. Creative solutions must be developed to seamlessly and effortlessly connect physicians with community resources as part of the patient’s care plan. Feedback mechanisms are critical so physicians know their patients are using these resources.”

He also noted that, “We have a responsibility to expand our understanding of how risk factors like food insecurity, loneliness, and social isolation affect chronic conditions and then work to evolve the ways in which we address them. … As we think of clinical contributors to health, social determinants of health must become equally as important.”

Read the entire blog post here.

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The best leaders accept that they are not perfect, and they don’t demand perfection from those they lead. Instead, great leaders recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and surround themselves with people who have complementary skills, creating an effective team.

That was the message from Walter Woods, Chief Executive Officer of the Humana Foundation, at a recent Leadership Louisville conference. Walter spoke about “The Power of Passion and Perseverance” at the 2018 Leadership Summit – Leading in the New World of Work.

What leaders eventually accomplish depends more on their passion and perseverance for long-term goals than on their innate talent, Walter said. That’s important in a business environment that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA).

He said the best leaders accept VUCA and lead through it with their strengths AND weaknesses. They also understand the leadership capabilities all organizations need:

• Sensemaking – interpreting developments in the business environment
• Relating – building trusting relationships
• Visioning – communicating a compelling image of the future
• Inventing – coming up with new ways of doing things

In short, leaders find and work with others who can provide the capabilities they’re missing. That takes clarity and passion, a fact Walter illustrated through his adventure travels, which have taken him to Antarctica, the North Pole and other far-off places.

Walter is a nonprofit veteran of 30 years and has served in a number of executive-level roles, with organizations ranging from the AARP Foundation, to The World Bank, to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, DC.

He leads the Humana Foundation as its strategy evolves to focus “upstream” on the root causes of illness and chronic conditions – such as social determinants of health — identifying solutions to help people lead their healthiest lives. This approach aligns with Humana’s “Bold Goal” of improving the health of the communities it serves 20 percent by 2020.

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Mary Lou Griffin, a great-grandmother from Olathe, Kansas, is achieving her best health with the help of Partners in Primary Care.

Recently, Griffin went skydiving to celebrate her upcoming 84th birthday. At Glider Sports in Clinton, Missouri, she completed a tandem jump as the sun set on the western Missouri town.

A KCTV5 segment credits Partners in Primary Care in the footage, and Griffin’s story was shared online at KCTV5.com. KCTV included a brief write-up and mentioned that, “Thanks to the medical team at the Partners in Primary Care Center, Mary Lou has her medical conditions all under control, including diabetes, congestive heart failure and arthritis.”

You can check it out here.

Mary Lou was one of the first patients at Partners in Primary Care in Kansas City, and she is well-known and loved by the staff at the Olathe location.

Partners in Primary Care, a subsidiary of Humana, currently has four locations in the Kansas City area and a total of 9 across the country. Each location specializes in providing senior-focused primary care to members of Medicare Advantage health plans.

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Humana’s Maria Hughes, Senior Vice President and Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, has been named to BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 2018 Top Executives in Corporate Diversity List, a roster of the nation’s leading professionals who drive innovation, productivity and profitability by ensuring across-the-board diversity.

The list includes “leading professionals who drive innovation, productivity, and profitability by ensuring across-the-board diversity that includes the workforce, leadership, corporate governance and supply chain,” the magazine said. A special report appeared in the magazine’s latest issue, highlighting the critical role played by Hughes and her peers “in bolstering the global competitiveness of corporate America.”

“I’m honored to be on this list, because it reflects the important work we do at Humana to ensure that inclusion and diversity helps create a culture that drives innovation, improves quality and sustains growth,” Maria said. “Health care is a varied and intensely personal marketplace, and cultivating the uniqueness of our team helps us leverage a broad array of insights and understanding as we guide our members toward their best health.”

To select the Top Executives in Corporate Diversity, BLACK ENTERPRISE editors consulted major corporations and identified the leading corporate executives charged with driving corporate diversity efforts within some of the nation’s largest entities. They selected leaders who drive diversity initiatives vital to their business objectives.

Read the full news release.

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