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With a mission to address significant health disparities and unsustainably high health care costs in the United States, the University of Houston has hired an accomplished physician and leader in medical education and health services research to direct the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute. Dr. LeChauncy Woodard becomes the first director of the Humana Institute, which is committed to producing high-impact research that changes policy, innovative educational programs that prepare a new generation of health care providers and novel programs that support community transformation.

Woodard is a general internist and joins the UH College of Medicine after two decades at Baylor College of Medicine where she held several faculty positions in the departments of internal medicine, family and community medicine and more. She was also the director of the Center of Excellence in Primary Care Education at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity because the unique partnership with Humana provides the foundation to unite the existing health disciplines at UH with the new College of Medicine which will enable our students to collaborate and lead integrated health care teams to increase the value and quality of care for patients,” said Woodard, whose vast research portfolio includes a focus on quality of care, treatment and prevention of chronic diseases, health disparities, and the interrelated social, economic and environmental factors that contribute to health outcomes.

Woodard said she plans to harness UH’s research expertise and form cross-disciplinary teams to tackle the most pressing complex health care problems. “I’m particularly excited to work with the underserved communities of Houston because I grew up in one. I believe that if we take care of the sickest people then we can elevate the health of the entire population.”

Woodard grew up in the Acres Homes neighborhood of northwest Houston where poverty is high and access to health care is low. Her late father’s struggle with chronic illness fueled her passion for medicine and desire to improve health disparities.

“It really impacts the quality of life for the whole family and limits the things you’re able to do,” she said. “I look forward to contributing in a meaningful way to address this problem.”

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Woodard join the UH family to lead the Humana Institute,” said Tray Cockerell, Strategic Relationships, Office of the Chief Medical Officer at Humana. “Dr. Woodard’s background, experience and passion for improving the health of individuals and communities aligns perfectly with our mission. She also understands the importance of integrating the components of care delivery – medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work and other non-traditional components of the healthcare system – to achieve value in healthcare.  She will be an excellent director of the Humana Institute.”

Along with serving on the College of Medicine faculty in the Department of Health Systems and Population Health Sciences and the Department of Clinical Sciences, she will treat patients at Lone Star Circle of Care, the Federally Qualified Health Center in UH’s Health 2 building.

“Dr. Woodard is a compassionate and confident physician, educator and researcher with an impressive track record and even brighter future. She’s the perfect fit to lead the Humana Institute and our charge to transform the health care system,” said Dr. Stephen Spann, founding dean of the College of Medicine. “Her professional and personal experiences with health disparities and quality of care will ignite development of new health care models to make the system more effective, equitable and patient-centered.”

The Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute was launched in September 2018 with a $15 million gift from Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) to help defray start-up and operational costs for the College of Medicine, as well as fund endowed chairs at the colleges of nursing, pharmacy, social work, optometry and medicine. The College of Medicine is scheduled to admit thirty students in its inaugural class pending accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

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The Louisiana Department of Health announced Mon., Aug. 5 that it has selected Humana to negotiate a contract with the state to participate in its Medicaid Managed Care program to provide coverage to eligible children and adults across the state beginning in January 2020. 

“Humana has a long history in Louisiana of ensuring high-quality care, health and well-being for families, seniors, employers and our military servicemen and women,” said Humana Medicaid President John Barger, “and we’re excited and honored to have been chosen by the state to serve Louisiana’s Medicaid Managed Care recipients starting next year.

“We believe we can help enhance coverage provided through the Medicaid program,” Barger said, “leveraging our innovative and integrated health delivery platform; longstanding community presence; strong provider partnerships; and unique commitment to population health.”

“We’re looking forward to expanding our reach in the community to serve this important population,” said Tony Mollica, Humana’s Louisiana-based Medicaid leader, “and partnering with the state of Louisiana to improve health outcomes across the state.”

Medicaid managed care plans for Louisiana’s statewide program were chosen through a competitive bid process.

The program is scheduled to begin enrolling eligible Louisianans in January 2020 and the statewide program is expected to provide health care to approximately 1.3 million Medicaid enrollees. The statewide contract term is set to last through 2022, with the potential for an additional two-year contract extension.

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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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Humana has ranked No. 3 in its industry — Health Care: Insurance and Managed Care — in Fortune magazine’s 2019 listing of the World’s Best and Most Admired Companies.

The list is a ranking of the world’s most respected and reputable companies, as ranked by peers in their industry.

Humana ranked particularly well in the areas of innovation, people management and quality of products/services.

Fortune collaborated with partner Korn Ferry on this survey of corporate reputation. They began with a universe of about 1,500 candidates: the 1,000 largest U.S. companies ranked by revenue, along with non-U.S. companies in Fortune’s Global 500 database that have revenues of $10 billion or more. They then winnowed the assortment to the highest-revenue companies in each industry, a total of 680 in 30 countries. The top-rated companies were picked from that pool of 680; the executives who voted work at the companies in that group.

To determine the best-regarded companies in 52 industries, Korn Ferry asked executives, directors, and analysts to rate enterprises in their own industry on nine criteria, from investment value and quality of management and products to social responsibility and ability to attract talent. A company’s score must rank in the top half of its industry survey to be listed.

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The Humana Foundation, philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) for the past 37 years, is investing nearly $7 million in 2018 in organizations that are focused on helping people who struggle with issues ranging from food security to social connectedness to financial independence. The contributions will go to nine organizations in seven Humana ‘Bold Goal’ communities across the U.S. These are communities where Humana is working to achieve a goal of helping people improve their health 20 percent by 2020.

The new Humana Foundation strategic investing program addresses health equity and social determinants of health through partnerships and collaborations with local organizations to create measurable results. Social determinants of health are the conditions under which people are born, grow, live, work and age that impact overall health and well-being. The Foundation recently completed a series of local announcements highlighting the new investments.

“The Humana Foundation’s new Strategic Community Investments will have a tangible impact on the health and well-being of communities across the U.S. by collaborating with local organizations across all sectors,” said Walter Woods, CEO of the Humana Foundation. “We look forward to celebrating the successes of our partner organizations as they report targets and milestones of their projects in the coming year.”

The new Humana Foundation investments include funds for capacity building and enhancing organizational learning around health equity. The investments include:

Louisville, Ky.: The Family Scholar House received a $560,000 grant for its HEROES program, expanding existing programs and reaching more individuals, families and senior citizens to assess and address barriers including social isolation, food insecurity and lack of post-secondary educational attainment. Metro United Way also received a $770,000 grant to expand its pilot financial literacy program, improving financial independence and providing families and residents experiencing economic distress with financial literacy coaching.

San Antonio: Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) received a $1.02 million grant to address social isolation via a Senior Planet San Antonio program, which reduces isolation and loneliness and increases social connections by engaging seniors through free access to internet-connected technology and training courses. The San Antonio Food Bank also received a $833,000 grant to impact food insecurity and social isolation by creating a Senior Wellness Intervention Model program, assisting seniors who screen positive for food insecurity with comprehensive services that stabilize their household and address prevalent health issues.

Baton Rouge, La.: Healthy BR received a $720,000 grant to fight food insecurity and social isolation via the Geaux Get Healthy project. Funded by grants from both the Humana Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, the project will address food deserts by saturating areas with the highest rates of food insecurity and health disparities with numerous access points for purchasing fresh food at an affordable price.

Knoxville: Tenn.: InterFaith Health Clinic, in a collaborative partnership with Catapult 4D, received a $1.02 million grant to address social determinants of health and health equity barriers via the Truck2Table pilot program, which will improve the health and quality of life of uninsured and underserved people by providing affordable access to healthy food.

Tampa: Wholesome Wave received a $620,000 grant to fund Wholesome Communities Florida: Waking Up to Wellness, a cross-sector collaboration designed to transform affordable access to healthy food.

Jacksonville, Fla.: The University of Florida received a $820,000 grant to promote social connection and food security among minority, underserved and low-income seniors, as well as asset security and post-secondary success resources for their families.

Broward County, Fla.: AARP Foundation received a $540,000 grant to improve food security for older adults and their families via a program that will work with health clinics to screen older patients for food insecurity and diet-related disease and help people apply for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Each organization receiving a Humana Foundation Strategic Community Investment in 2018 will have an opportunity to receive continuing funding for one or two additional years based on the specific results they achieve during the first year of the respective programs.

“We’re excited about getting the new strategic investment program started, and even more excited to see how the organizations will put the contributions to such good use,” Woods added. “We’ll be in close contact with each organization over the year ahead as we plan for the second year of this program and determine where our investment dollars will make the greatest impacts in 2019 and beyond.

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 Humana

Humana Inc. is committed to helping our millions of medical and specialty members achieve their best health. Our successful history in care delivery and health plan administration is helping us create a new kind of integrated care with the power to improve health and well-being and lower costs. Our efforts are leading to a better quality of life for people with Medicare, families, individuals, military service personnel, and communities at large.

To accomplish that, we support physicians and other health care professionals as they work to deliver the right care in the right place for their patients, our members. Our range of clinical capabilities, resources and tools – such as in-home care, behavioral health, pharmacy services, data analytics and wellness solutions – combine to produce a simplified experience with the goal of making health care easier to navigate and more effective.

More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s website at humana.com, including copies of:

• Annual reports to stockholders
• Securities and Exchange Commission filings
• Most recent investor conference presentations
• Quarterly earnings news releases and conference calls
• Calendar of events
• Corporate Governance information.

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