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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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Louisville is among cities harnessing the collective power of community-based organizations, local government, and nonprofits to become a more equitable place where everyone can thrive.

Two Metro Louisville government leaders driving these efforts were guest speakers for Humana’s celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. This year’s theme: Unity in Community.

Maria Hughes, Humana SVP and Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, with Mayor Greg Fischer at the Lean Into Louisville kickoff event.

Kellie Watson, Louisville’s first Chief Equity Officer, and the Rev. Dr. Vincent James Sr., the city’s first Chief of Community Building, discussed the state of our nation and the city of Louisville. The speakers also highlighted Humana’s partnership with Lean Into Louisville, a city-wide effort that will provide an unprecedented series of presentations, conversations, activities, and art exhibits to explore and confront the city’s legacy of discrimination and inequality.

Ms. Watson provides strategic, visionary planning and oversight to advance racial equity throughout Louisville Metro Government. She oversees the Departments of Human Resources and the Human Relations Commission.

Watson is leading the city on an “equity journey,” joining national partners and other cities to learn how government can make a difference. A top goal: Rooting out structural racism, institutional racism, and implicit bias. This requires raising awareness, investing in marginalized communities, and helping people navigate difficult terrain together.

She shared a startling fact about how black income continues to lag behind white income: “Black wealth is at $5.04 for every $100 that a white family has. That’s $5 for every $100. Those are the inequities that government helps perpetuate that we need to fix.”

“How does government break down the institutional barriers around racism?” she asked. “How does government break down those systems that continue to perpetuate the barriers that keep people from reaching their full potential? And as we all know, government has perpetuated a lot of those barriers throughout history.”

“Governments,” she observed, “must be intentional about fixing such things.”

Each Louisville Metro Government department now has a “racial equity liaison.” These high-ranking leaders have authority to represent issues effectively within their areas.

To evaluate proposed policy changes, Ms. Watson and her team use a “racial equity toolkit.” It provides questions to help define desired outcomes, highlight relevant data, and identify community stakeholders so they are represented.

There were 8,500 victims of hate crimes in the United States in 2017. Ms. Watson gave a powerful, personal account of Louisville’s efforts to reduce these crimes, noting that recently she and her family have been victims.

Rev. James also spoke about being called to serve, saying he was horrified and inspired to act after a triple homicide near his church. He arrived at the scene to find two young people whom he had mentored among the dead.

“I said I never wanted to see another young person die in our streets,” he said. “I asked what would happen to them if I don’t help. I volunteered for everything.”

James left his corporate career to become Chief of Community Building. He focuses on the city’s comprehensive public safety strategy, supervising departments including the Office for Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods, Public Health & Wellness, Youth Detention Services, the Louisville Zoo, and Parks & Recreation.

He serves as the Faith and Community Based Coordinator in the Office for Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods, which works to address the root causes of violence through community engagement and programs such as Pivot to Peace and mentorship.

James is also pastor of Elim Baptist Church in Louisville’s Parkland neighborhood, and he has been involved in multiple non-profit community-building initiatives.

He said the work that he, Watson, and Mayor Greg Fischer are doing is “helping us understand how we got here, that we didn’t just arrive at this point in time in our country, but it was through systems and government policies and individuals who wanted to keep things the way they were without allowing others to have full access to opportunities. Years and years of divesting from our communities have led to what we see.”

The goal, he said, is to bring equity to all communities.

“Why is it that if you lived in one zip code versus another, there is a 12-year lifespan gap?” he asked. “That’s injustice.”

“When you give people jobs and hope, and they have the opportunity to receive an education, it changes history. That’s the work that we’re in. We’re in the people-changing business.”

After a Q&A session with associates, Maria Hughes, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, closed the session with a quote from Dr. King: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Learn more about Lean Into Louisville. Learning opportunities will be available throughout Louisville.

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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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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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