healthy living

Look beyond sheer permission space and build the right culture

William Fleming, President, Healthcare Services at Humana, recently posted this blog on LinkedIn:

We all have an idea of what our specific roles are at work and how we should perform our jobs. We also know there are times when we see opportunities to do more – or better. Maybe it involves going out of the way for our customer, doing something atypical or beyond the scope of our routine duties. Perhaps it involves more time, expense, or engaging others outside of our primary work teams. It might even mean we make a decision outside of our normal purview. So, when these circumstances present themselves, do we forge ahead? Or, do we fear repercussions? Can we summon the right resources? Or do we stop short because it seems to be too much trouble, too complicated, or too risky to go the distance?

Ultimately, the answer lies in the type of culture we’ve established in our workplace, and it goes far beyond simple permission to act with autonomy. It’s a multi-layered approach that comes with time, continuous leadership support, and an organization’s transparent commitment to always do the right thing, even if there are short-term costs to get to the greater goal. Once you “get there,” though, your employees have what I like to call the “freedom to serve,” perhaps the pinnacle of a healthy service organization. To me, it means your employees, regardless of role, feel unfettered by red tape, doubt or fear and, instead, are empowered to take the reins and do well by doing good – serving their customers the way they are naturally impassioned to do. Here are some ingredients for making it happen.

Step 1: Encourage authenticity

At Humana, we’ve made great strides in the right direction, culturally speaking. Part of our journey has included the foundational idea of “bringing your whole self to work” – being comfortable in your own skin, as much in the workplace as in your personal life. It goes beyond simply knowing that it’s “okay” to come to work with different backgrounds, experiences, and ideas, but being proud of it, believing that your employer and colleagues relish such diversity. It means understanding that your work culture acknowledges the unequivocal value of having a robust and varied team that can relate to its robust and varied customer base. It also means you realize your company values your own health and well-being as a priority and wants you to feel good about who you are and what you do. It’s the first step, I think, in creating this safe environment where your employees can be authentic, feel appreciated, and start to feel free to work in their best capacity.

Step 2: Eliminate fear

This is not an easy task – this work of creating a sustainable safe environment. It’s easy to establish so many rules, processes, and guidelines – especially in a highly regulated industry like health care – that your employees worry about speaking up when they see a problem, have a suggestion, or want to step outside of bounds to do a better job. Keep in mind, we all come from the “real world.” We’ve likely been ostracized or reprimanded for standing out or standing up before – if not in a past job, maybe during our school years. So, there is a reason why we put up our guard and are skeptical of being open, forthcoming, and assertive in the face of potential judgment. That’s why it becomes imperative as leaders in an organization to show our own vulnerability, step outside of our own comfort zone, and repeatedly relay the benefits of innovative thinking and doing. Invest in efforts that show it’s okay to “test, fail, and scale.” Challenge the status quo. Or, as I often say, think like a rookie, asking the sometimes weird or uncomfortable questions. If your organization sees this as your leadership style, your employees will quickly get the message that sometimes real progress comes as the result of taking chances and abandoning fear.

Step 3: Champion the “changers”

If you want a culture of people who bring their authentic selves to work, do not operate in fear, and who feel free to fully serve others – including customers – you really have to acknowledge and support the bold ones who stick out their necks. Let me give you an example:

Recently, one of our Humana Pharmacy Solutions employees was talking to a Medicare member by phone. She found out that this member was not only struggling to pay his pharmacy bill but was also struggling to buy the right food for his diabetic condition. Knowing about Humana’s Bold Goal work (helping people whose health and well-being are jeopardized due to negative “social determinants of health,” such as food insecurity, loneliness and isolation), this employee took it upon herself to connect our member with another Humana team and with community resources, resulting in groceries being delivered to him that same day! The point here is that, had we not established a culture in which this employee felt the freedom to extend herself beyond her routine duties, this member may not have been helped in all the ways needed. She felt comfortable not only thinking outside of the box but finding and connecting to resources in a different part of the organization, while keeping the end goal – helping our member – her North Star.

The other key thing to note is that, after this story made the rounds, the Humana Pharmacy Solutions team decided to update their own workflows to better support our members in the future. Thus, if one of their telephonic service employees suspects a member may have needs beyond the original nature of their phone call, they now have a built-in green light to take more time on the call to connect them to the right resources.

Did the story die after this particular customer was helped and some process changes occurred? Not at all! Our CEO, Bruce Broussard, regularly shares this story. It’s been shared at leader meetings and on our Intranet. We also just did a podcast about it, while promoting it via our internal social network. Four months later, we are still championing the people and the proactivity, clearly expressing to others that this is part of our company values.

Set up the steps but, then, step out

Ultimately, you’ve hired a great workforce to do a variety of jobs, and you hired them because you trust that they have the skills and experience you need to provide high-quality service to your customers, growing your business along the way. Hopefully, you’ve also hired them because you trust their judgment and want them to be able to execute the best way they see fit. So while we have a responsibility to provide structure, steps, and guardrails to keep everyone focused and on track, we also have a responsibility to “get out of the way” and let our teams make real headway. Those who are on the front lines of care, especially in our industry, often know the customer the best. They listen day in and day out; they care for them day in and day out; they also have the quickest and easiest route to make a real difference in their lives – if we let them. So let’s let them!

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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 — What does 2019 look like for health care? — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

In the current environment, constant and negative debate over health care makes it easy for us to be down on our industry. But I’m excited about health care’s potential, and I’m proud of the progress we’ve made.

I believe we are at the pivot point of greatly improving health care. More people are being treated under reimbursement models – like Medicare Advantage – that incent complete health, not just the delivery of care. In addition, advancements in digital technologies – such as home-based monitoring devices and personalized science – are increasing the opportunity to leverage the growing sophistication of analytics, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning.

Progress today and on the horizon

I’ve seen promising advancements in interoperability, which is empowering patients and resulting in better care. Interoperability gives doctors and other clinicians a complete view of the patient’s medical history, which increases the personalization and timeliness of care interventions.

We have been critical of electronic medical records, but EMRs have digitized millions of paper medical records, increasing the velocity and volume of information and allowing for more complete and timely decisions.

I see parallels in the history of banking. Interconnecting and digitizing bank transactions – and implementing interstate banking laws — permanently changed the banking structure, creating a more convenient and cheaper system. An example is how stock trades decreased from $75 to $.05 per trade. In health care, that degree of cost reduction would greatly expand the affordability of care and significantly reduce our federal and state deficits.

As I’ve written before, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has challenged the health care industry through the Blue Button initiative, which was designed to drive the necessary, useful interoperability to enable all physicians and all consumers to manage their health online, like they do with their bank accounts and investments.

Patient information needs to be shared, and we can’t encourage business models that impede the process. The good news is we’re moving in the right direction.

Experiencing it myself

For the last few months, I’ve experienced the future of interoperability firsthand by using my Apple Health Kit to download my own health data to my iPhone. Thanks to FHIR, which helps enable this process, I can easily view my patient information — from annual checkups to data such as blood pressure, weight and BMI.

Apple Health Records was launched just 11 months ago, and the company has been the first to gain traction on the EMR. Imagine what will happen when more iPhone users like me do this and the 100 million Android users in the U.S. catch on.

Such data doesn’t just help patients; it’s helping the physicians who care for them. At Humana, we’ve asked our 3.5 million Medicare Advantage members for permission to access their Medicare information – scripts, doctor visits, etc. We can then use this information to design and price health products specifically for them.

Data sharing, fueled by true interoperability, will stimulate innovation. Yet for adoption to increase, our industry must ensure that the experience is on par with online shopping, travel and financial experiences. In health care, this might show up as a primary care physician having real-time access to a list of all the drugs a patient is taking. That’s especially important in treating seniors, many of whom are living with multiple chronic conditions.

So what’s in store for 2019?

More companies will access data to create consumer-engaged business models that encourage competition, foster innovation, and, ultimately, disrupt and force our industry to evolve. We’ll see new and innovative products that help people with their health.

Successful innovations won’t be siloed; interoperability will help physicians make decisions supported by analytics. But technology will only take this so far. It’s up to physician and clinician offices, health plans, and government to help consumers have a real-time, detailed understanding of their health. Physicians, too, will have a truly holistic view of their patients.

Let’s continue to construct a competitive system that fosters a climate of innovation. In the end, we’ll make it easier for physicians to help their patients and for patients to help themselves.

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The Humana Foundation, philanthropic arm of Humana for the past 37 years, is awarding grants to 30+ nonprofit organizations in Louisville as part of the foundation’s new Community Relations program. The $2 million in grants is in addition to $7 million the Humana Foundation is contributing to other organizations in seven cities, as part of its new Strategic Investing initiative.

The Louisville Community Relations grants – which add up to $2.4 million – will provide opportunities for growth and development of local nonprofits on a programmatic and organizational level, ultimately contributing to health and well-being in Louisville.

“The organizations receiving these new grants from the Humana Foundation all made clear that they will be able to make a difference in the Louisville area with the contributions,” said Walter Woods, CEO of the Humana Foundation. “Quality of life and quality of place programs like those funded by our Community Relations program are key to making our hometown a healthier, safer place to live for everyone.”

The Humana Foundation’s Community Relations program grants seek to improve the quality of life in Louisville by addressing food security, housing, safety or healthcare issues, or make metropolitan Louisville a more appealing place to live by addressing the environment, arts and culture, inclusion and diversity, or equitable access for all.

Of the 30+ Louisville organizations receiving Community Relations grants from the Humana Foundation, the following seven will receive $100,000 grants:

Home of the Innocents will use its grant to help children and young adults experiencing homelessness via its Aftercare Program.

Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center will use its grant to fund comprehensive school-based health centers in high-need neighborhoods, providing medical, dental and counseling services to low-income, medically underserved residents in West Louisville.

Louisville Urban League’s grant will fund the “It Starts With Me” community health program, using trained community health workers to support West Louisville residents.

One West will use its grant for the Invest West Community Revitalization Initiative, bringing commercial development and growth to the nine neighborhoods of West Louisville.

Kentucky Refugee Ministries will use this grant to empower new Louisvillians and educate local providers, focusing on case management for those with complex medical conditions, medical and mental health education for refugee and immigrant community groups, and education and training for medical and mental health providers.
Louisville Metro Health Department will use this grant towards its “Our Money, Our Voice” initiative, which provides residents of Council Districts 6 and 8 with an opportunity to brainstorm ideas that improve the community, develop submitted ideas into project proposals, vote for the best proposals, and fund the winning projects.
Help Us Grow Reading Program will use this grant to support its work to influence second and third graders academically and socially, engaging trained volunteers to use an evidence-based curriculum to raise reading proficiency among Louisville elementary students.

Each of the following nonprofits will also receive a $25,000 or $50,000 Community Relations grant from the Humana Foundation:

2 NOT1 Fatherhood and Families
55,000 Degrees
American Lung Association
Americana Community Center
AMPED
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana
Boys & Girls Club of Kentuckiana
Carnegie Center for Art and History
Community Ventures Corporation
Dare to Care
Have a Heart Foundation
Health Equity Fund
Leadership Louisville Foundation
Louisville Metro Parks Foundation
Louisville Orchestra
Mattingly Center
New Directions Housing Corporation
Peace Education Program
Play Cousins Collective
Saint John Center
Smoketown Family Wellness Center
Stage One Family Theater
Surgery on Sunday Louisville
The Healing Place
Treeslouisville

Skills-based volunteering will also play a role in the Community Relations program. As a result, more Humana employees in Louisville will put their strongest business skills to work for area nonprofits to increase capacity, access and sustainability.

Humana employees in Louisville also participated in the grant-selection process. Their input via an online vote helped determine which organizations are receiving Community Relations program grants.

As part of the $2.4 Million the Humana Foundation is awarding through this program, several other organizations will receive funding from the foundation, including Metro United Way and Fund for the Arts.

“We’re excited about this new Community Relations program, in part because of the high quality of the organizations receiving the grants,” Woods added. “These are organizations that have demonstrated that they not only know how to make Louisville a better place, but they are helping to make that happen every day – especially for the people in our community who need help the most. We have great confidence that these grants will go a long way toward strengthening our city and region.”

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The Humana Foundation is investing $1.16 million to address social determinants of health in two Florida communities – Tampa Bay and Broward County. This is in addition to a $820,000 Humana Foundation grant in Jacksonville, funding a University of Florida program to promote social connections and food security in local seniors.

In Tampa Bay, the Humana Foundation will invest $620,000 and partner with Wholesome Wave to fund Wholesome Communities Florida: Waking Up to Wellness, a cross-sector collaboration designed to transform affordable access to healthy food in Tampa Bay.

In Broward County, the Humana Foundation will invest $540,000 with AARP Foundation in an effort to improve food security for older adults and their families. AARP Foundation will work with federally qualified health clinics to screen older patients for food insecurity and diet-related disease. If a patient screens positive for food insecurity, an AARP Foundation partner will help the patient apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. These benefits can provide an average of $124 per month to low-income adults.

Both investments in Tampa Bay and Broward Country are grants that are renewable for up to two additional years. Wholesome Wave and AARP Foundation have the potential to receive continued funding from the Humana Foundation in 2019 and 2020 — based on the specific results achieved over a 12-month period.

These investments are part of the Foundation’s new Strategic Community Investments work. Through the program, the Foundation will invest $7 million in 2018 in nonprofit organizations operating in seven communities: San Antonio, Texas; Louisville, Ky., Baton Rouge, La.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Tampa Bay, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Broward County, Fla.

In each of these communities, Humana is pursuing its “Bold Goal” to improve the health of the communities Humana serves 20 percent by 2020.The Humana Foundation is investing in nonprofit organizations that address food security, social connection, post-secondary success (sustained employment) and asset security, four social determinants of health that significantly impact people’s overall health and well-being. Social determinants are the conditions under which people are born, grow, live, work and age that impact overall health and well-being.

About the Humana Foundation

The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., one of the nation’s leading health and well-being companies. Located in Louisville, Ky., the Foundation seeks to co-create communities where leadership, culture, and systems work to improve and sustain positive health outcomes. For more information, visit humanafoundation.org.

Humana and the Humana Foundation are dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility. Our goal is to ensure that every business decision we make reflects our commitment to improving the health and well-being of our members, our employees, the communities we serve, and our planet.

About AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation works to end senior poverty by helping vulnerable older adults build economic opportunity and social connectedness. As AARP’s charitable affiliate, we serve AARP members and nonmembers alike. Bolstered by vigorous legal advocacy, we spark bold, innovative solutions that foster resilience, strengthen communities and restore hope.

AARP Foundation. For a future without senior poverty. To learn more, visit aarpfoundation.org.

About Wholesome Wave

Wholesome Wave is a national nonprofit that makes fruits and vegetables affordable and accessible to the people who need them most. Founded by four-time James Beard Award Winning chef Michel Nischan in 2007, Wholesome Wave has a proven track record of getting nutritious produce onto the tables of low-income individuals and families through groundbreaking innovation, programs, and advocacy. Over the last year alone, Wholesome Wave programs reached nearly a million under-served consumers from coast to coast. Through its Wholesome Communities initiative, Wholesome Wave plans to put $380 million worth of ‘produce purchasing power’ into the hands of 2 million people by 2022.

For more information, visit Wholesome Wave.

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The Humana Foundation is investing $1.84 million to address social determinants of health in two communities – Knoxville, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla.

In Knoxville, the Humana Foundation will invest $1,020,000 in the Truck2Table pilot program and is partnering with InterFaith Health Clinic and Catapult 4D to address East Tennessee health barriers.

In Jacksonville, the Humana Foundation will invest $820,000 in the Health-Smart program and partner with the University of Florida to address social isolation and food insecurity.

Health-Smart brings together two existing health and wellness centers, six Health-Smart church centers and local stakeholders to create holistic health centers for minority, underserved and/or low-income Jacksonville seniors. The program features the Health-Smart Behavior Program and leverages Social Connections and Food Security Empowerment Coaches to increase participants’ physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being, social connections and food security. The program also includes Health-Smart group sessions led by trained coaches, connections to food security resources and job-seeking assistance, disease screening and referral as well as health insurance enrollment.

These investments are part of the Foundation’s new Strategic Community Investments work. Through the program, the Foundation will invest $7 million in 2018 in nonprofit organizations operating in seven communities: San Antonio, Texas; Louisville, Ky., Baton Rouge, La.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Tampa Bay, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Broward County, Fla.

In each of these communities, Humana is pursuing its “Bold Goal” to improve the health of the communities Humana serves 20 percent by 2020.The Humana Foundation is investing in nonprofit organizations that address food security, social connection, post-secondary success (sustained employment) and asset security, four social determinants of health that significantly impact people’s overall health and well-being. Social determinants are the conditions under which people are born, grow, live, work and age that impact overall health and well-being.

About the Humana Foundation
The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., one of the nation’s leading health and well-being companies. Located in Louisville, Ky., the Foundation seeks to co-create communities where leadership, culture, and systems work to improve and sustain positive health outcomes. For more information, visit humanafoundation.org.

Humana and the Humana Foundation are dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility. Our goal is to ensure that every business decision we make reflects our commitment to improving the health and well-being of our members, our employees, the communities we serve, and our planet.

About InterFaith Health Clinic
InterFaith Health Clinic was established in 1991 to serve the low-income, working uninsured and underserved and to date has provided over 400,000 patient encounters to more than 24,000 individual patients. InterFaith provides comprehensive access to medical, dental, mental health, and prescription drug services and charges patients according to a sliding fee scale based on household size and income. With a small paid staff and a large network of volunteers, InterFaith receives financial support from individuals, foundations, area churches, city and county governments, civic organizations, the United Way of Greater Knoxville, and the state of Tennessee.

About Catapult 4D
Catapult 4D is a Knoxville-based development company specializing in health technology. Believing that a healthy business case can also provide great benefit to society, Catapult 4D strives to connect key players across sectors to identify achievable solutions to complex problems. The team at Catapult 4D is committed to social entrepreneurship, strategic thinking, and remaining nimble in a fast-paced environment. For more information, visit www.Catapult4D.com or contact media@catapult4d.com.

About the University of Florida
The University of Florida, the state’s flagship university, serves almost 56,000 students from 49 states and most countries. With five professional schools and 200 research, service and education centers, bureaus, and institutes on a single 2,000-acre campus, UF offers educational opportunities matched by only seven universities worldwide. UF alumni total more than 415,000, with alumni residing in every U.S. state and more than 150 nations. It is ranked No. 8 in the most recent U.S. News and World Report’s list of public universities.

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