health-care system

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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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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Forbes.com has taken note of Humana’s Bold Goal progress and the importance of addressing social determinants of health to improve well-being.

“A project by health insurer Humana to measure the health of Medicare beneficiaries by asking two simple questions about mental and physical health made progress last year in four of seven cities across the country,” the Forbes story noted. “Humana’s ‘Bold Goal’ initiative uses measures established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track an individual’s physical and mental ‘unhealthy days’ over a 30-day period.”

The story cited the 2018 Bold Goal Progress Report, which found that “Of our original seven Bold Goal communities, Humana Medicare members in Knoxville, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and San Antonio all had improved Healthy Days as well as improved clinical outcomes. Louisville, Tampa Bay and Broward County, Florida saw increases in unhealthy days, but also experienced slight improvements in clinical outcomes and in Healthy Days in Humana seniors living with conditions such as COPD, diabetes and depression.”

The story also noted that “the effort takes time and involves addressing social determinants of health going into communities with town hall meetings and addressing issues like ‘food insecurity’ or whether residents are isolated with mental illness. In the report, Humana describes social determinants as ‘conditions in the places where people live, learn, work and play (that) affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes.’”

Read the full story here.

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In 2015, Humana committed to a Bold Goal to improve the health and communities it serves 20 percent by 2020 by making it easier for people to achieve their best health. Humana is working with local physicians and community organizations to address physical and mental health conditions as well as social determinants of health (food insecurity, social isolation and loneliness) in seven Bold Goal communities. Four of these communities demonstrated improvements in health over the past year.

Humana measures Bold Goal community progress using the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) population health management tool known as Healthy Days, which takes into account the whole person by measuring both mentally and physically Unhealthy Days over a 30-day period.

• Bold Goal markets, on average, managed to reduce their number of Unhealthy Days. Knoxville, Tennessee; Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana; and San Antonio, Texas all had improved Healthy Days as well as improved clinical outcomes. Humana attributes this, in part, to strong relationships between physicians, communities and patients.

• Seniors living in Bold Goal communities continued to make improvements in physical and mental health. Despite the fact that many of these Medicare members are living with multiple chronic conditions, a reduction in Unhealthy Days was achieved.

• Humana employees reduced their number of Unhealthy Days, improving overall by 18 percent. Over the past five years, Humana employees were able to gain 1.8 million more Healthy Days in total.

Read the full progress report here.

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