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Spending time outdoors can be good for your health, offering everything from improved cognitive performance to decreased stress levels, according to Will Shafroth, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation, and Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer.

Next Avenue recently published a conversation between the two as they discussed the physical and mental benefits of visiting national parks and enjoying their natural beauty.

“Healthy recreation like walking, biking or playing is associated with physical, mental and spiritual health, as well as social well-being,” Dr. Beveridge said. “There is also evidence to suggest that exposure to natural environments could have a variety of positive health benefits.

“Natural environments affect human health and well-being both directly and indirectly, according to the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science,” he wrote. “Urban green and outdoor areas provide opportunities for stress recovery and physical activity, in addition to offering spaces for social interactions, which are vital for mental health.

“Chronic stress, physical inactivity and lack of social cohesion are three major risk factors in people with poor health, and therefore exposure to abundant greenery and outdoor environments is an important asset for health promotion.”

The two noted that Humana and the National Park Foundation partnered with Florida International University and MetCare medical practices to introduce a Park Rx program that gave physicians and other care providers the ability to “prescribe” park activity to their patients. Analyzing the results showed that the program fostered better health and well-being by inspiring people to head outdoors.

“We need to make it easy for physicians to treat their patients, and not only with the necessary pharmaceuticals,” Dr Beveridge said. “We need to prescribe resources that engage patients in healthy activities that can lead to better lifestyle decisions and ultimately healthy behavior change. Physical activity is vital to achieving better health, and it’s up to us to make it easy for physicians to make those recommendations to their patients.”

Read the full conversation here.

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When your schedule is crammed full of work obligations and caregiving for family members, how do you squeeze in some much-needed “me time?”

If you take the advice of Domenica Robinson, Humana’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year, you’d find a volunteer activity that makes you feel happy and connected to your local community.

“Giving back to my community gives me ‘me time.’ It’s what I do for myself to feel good while also giving back to my community,” Domenica said. “I truly enjoy volunteering and giving people a little sunshine in their day – it makes me feel so good.”

Domenica, a Work Content Specialist who works from home in southern Indiana and stays busy caring for her grandson and her aging mother, is Humana’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year. She tracked 178 volunteer hours in the Humana Volunteer Network in 2017 – and more than 700 hours since 2008! Her very full volunteering schedule includes time at Kindred Hospice spending time with dementia and terminally ill patients, Floyd County Animal Rescue, and serving as a “master gardener” at local 4H clubs, parks and universities.

Humana selected Domenica as Volunteer of the Year based on her commitment to community well-being and the transformational impact of her volunteer work. She will receive a $10,000 grant from the Humana Foundation to Floyd County Animal Rescue League, one of the nonprofit organizations where Domenica volunteers.

Volunteerism is a tangible way Humana can impact the health and well-being of the communities we serve in a personally meaningful way while also increasing our own well-being and sense of purpose.

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Last year, Humana employees logged more than 375,000 volunteer hours. They were supported by the company’s volunteer time off policy, which gives employees paid time away from work to volunteer for activities that positively impact the health and well-being of their communities. Humana employees were rewarded with a higher sense of purpose*, and some were also acknowledged by the organizations they serve.

A group of Humana associates based in Kentucky recently received the “Volunteer of the Year” award from Home of the Innocents (also recognized as Home). The Louisville-based organization provides support and services to over 6,000 at-risk, vulnerable children and families each year.

Led by Ron Woodlee, Technology Services Leader in the IT organization, the group is still growing and includes associates from across Humana, as well as support from local companies such as Baptist Health.

“We connected with Home of the Innocents in 2016 and have been volunteering there ever since. We do all sorts of events and outings, such as Thanksgiving dinners, back-to school cookouts, cards for senior centers, heart shaped pizzas on Valentine’s Day,” said Ron. “Although these kids have had tough lives, they can and will do great things in life if they have support and can see the possibilities. They need people to believe in them, to invest in them, to help them get excited about life.”

Knowing that many Home teenagers never attend dances like most high school students, volunteers planned a formal fashion show (complete with hairstylists) and sit-down dinner. And one year for Halloween, the group bought costumes for the children. Not just any costumes; children received the specific costumes they wanted in their specific sizes.

To encourage these at-risk children to pursue college degrees and follow their passions, mentoring and real-life training is also a focus. When one child showed interest in mechanics, the group connected him with a local mechanic to learn more about the field.

“Everyone in our group is devoted in giving back, serving others. Within minutes of sending an email about an opportunity at Home, everything is covered,” continued Ron. “We get so much joy from doing this work, and even bring our families with us to events.”

In Arizona, Zoilabella “Zoila” Calo has been actively engaged with St. Vincent de Paul. She has coordinated donation drives and setup volunteer time off opportunities for local associates. As a result, Zoila was awarded the Champion Volunteer Award at the annual volunteer appreciation luncheon in April. The award is presented to those who demonstrate exemplary leadership, service excellence, teamwork and community spirit.

“I was honored to receive this award,” said Zoila. “I don’t do it for the recognition. I do it for the mission – Feed. Clothe. House. Heal.”

*As measured by Humana’s 2017 Associate Experience Survey

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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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