Humana partnerships

Humana and the University of Houston recently teamed up to officially launch the new Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at the University of Houston (the Humana Institute).

The Humana Institute is designed to unite the existing colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Optometry with the university’s new College of Medicine. Humana previously announced how its $15 million gift will help defray start-up and operational costs for the College of Medicine, as well as fund endowed chairs for each of the five health colleges.

The event, which was attended by a wide variety of UH students, faculty, and community members and was covered by the Houston Business Journal last month, commenced with a panel discussion with the following leaders from Humana and the University of Houston:

• Renu Khator, University of Houston President
• Roy Beveridge, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Humana
• Stephen Spann, MD, Vice President for Medical Affairs and Founding Dean of College of Medicine, University of Houston

“Health care isn’t a solo sport, it’s a team sport. An integrated team approach where doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and more are all working together for the patient will increase the value of healthcare. We must also address major health disparities that exist today while recognizing the importance of social determinants of health,” said Spann. “This new partnership with Humana enhances the University of Houston’s ability to achieve its mission of improving the health and healthcare of our community, our city and beyond.”

Dr. Beveridge addressed the importance of moving from a fee-for-service reimbursement model to a value-based reimbursement model. “The payment model for all government reimbursement is going to an outcome-based, quality-based set of metrics.” He continued, “As we move to this world of paying for outcomes, then everything (social determinants of health such as food insecurity, social isolation and loneliness) that Dr. Spann just talked about is an imperative. If you are reimbursing for outcomes but thinking in a fee-for-service mentality, you lose efficiency and don’t bring the quality of care that each one of these patients deserves.”

UH-Humana: a strategic partnership

“I would like to thank Humana for their generosity, vision and commitment. There’s so much synergy and compatibility in our missions. How do we make our nation a better place? We are here for the people to empower communities,” said Khator. “The structure of this partnership with five Humana endowed chairs in our five health professions colleges will force collaboration. We will come together to solve problems.”

“Launching the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at the University of Houston marks a critical milestone in our strategic relationship,” said Tray Cockerell, Director, Strategic Relationships, Office of the Chief Medical Officer, who is responsible for evaluating and leading strategic relationships that further Humana’s strategy of integrated care delivery and value-based care adoption.

In this role, Cockerell partners internally across Humana to drive population health outcomes and to integrate the operations and outcomes of Humana with the University of Houston and other academic and community partners.

“We are partnering on cutting-edge projects that will have a measurable impact on health education and on population health,” Cockerell said. “The number of students and University of Houston faculty and staff who attended truly reflects the importance of this partnership and the significance of the Institute.”

“We’re extraordinarily proud and thankful to partner with the University of Houston,” said Worthe Holt, MD, Vice President, Office of the Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Holt is responsible for operations in the CMO office. “This partnership is truly a part of our vision. If we can positively impact health care in Houston, we can scale up and do so elsewhere. We’re going to implement a very innovative approach and train a whole new generation of health care providers who can take this body of knowledge and make a difference in the health of our nation.”

Driving integrated care

At the launch event, there was a second panel discussion that focused on how the Humana Institute would be designed to address today’s health care challenges.

The panel discussion, which featured Dr. Spann; Lamar Pritchard, Dean, College of Pharmacy; Dr. Holt; and Kathryn Tart, Dean, College of Nursing, focused on the future of inter-professional education, social determinants of health, and value in health care.

During the panel, Dr. Holt spoke to the increasing impact of social determinants of health; the population health approach to health care delivery; and the robust research and clinical expertise that Humana brings to the partnership.

Dr. Spann also commented on the wealth of experience that Humana brings to the table and the way Humana integrates care. Said Dr. Spann, “We will benefit substantially from the practical, hands-on knowledge our Humana colleagues have and will share with us.”

Dean Tart said the partnership will “work for the betterment of our patients while moving them toward a healthier life and a peaceful recovery.” She also said the partnership would ensure that nursing students learn to address social determinants of health, and she noted how Humana’s Bold Goal would help drive the partnership.

During the panel, Dr. Spann spoke to how the new school will address the challenges of medication non-adherence and the high costs associated with it. He also cited the importance of taking learnings to the next level and Humana’s “state-of-the-art approach to primary care” that can be leveraged to improve quality of life and health care outcomes. Representatives from both organizations also emphasized how data transparency and interoperability will be critical areas of development, as well as how technology can drive preventive medicine.

Dr. Holt envisions the partnership will help prepare students to operate in an integrated care model: “So whether it’s a doctor, nurse, optometrist, pharmacist, or social worker, we would like to see all of them leverage their expertise to change the way we deliver health care and achieving better outcomes in a more equitable fashion as well as a more cost-efficient fashion. In a value-based model, when it’s done correctly, you can improve health, cost and quality. Responsibility, accountability and opportunity will help change the health of our communities for the underserved and the disadvantaged and those who depend on federal programs.”

Students compete to improve care

The launch event also hosted a health care poster competition depicting ideas for integrated care delivery. According to Cockerell, “I was really impressed with the depth of the research abstracts and the quality of the poster presentations from the students. These young men and women are brilliant and will be foundational to the continued evolution of our health care system.”

Last September, both organizations disclosed how they also intend to collaborate on a number of other opportunities, including

• Adjunct professorships and teaching opportunities for Humana subject matter experts
• Opportunities to partner in shaping curricula in a wide range of topics, including value-based payment, home-based care, population health, data analytics and more
• Partnership on research and publications
• The establishment of value-based care clinic labs for University of Houston health sciences students and medical residents
• Internships and rotation programs to provide practical experience

While the partnership is still in its early stages, Dr. Beveridge says both parties see great potential to improve health. “When we looked at the University of Houston’s commitment to serve the people around the community, combined with their belief in education for all parts of the health care system, we knew that we had to be a part of this,” said Dr. Beveridge. “The more we can educate, we believe that it’s going to foster an unleashing of talent over the next several years. We’re very excited to see how this is going to work out.”

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The Humana Foundation, philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. for the past 38 years, has announced the details of its 2019 Community Relations initiative in Louisville. Through this initiative, the Humana Foundation awarded $2.4 million to Louisville-area organizations in 2018, with slightly more than $1 million of that in grants of $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000.

For 2019, the program has been revised to reflect learnings from our inaugural initiative in 2018:

• The application period will begin on January 24 and conclude on February 11, with grants announced in April 2019.
• In an effort to encourage collaboration among nonprofits, grassroots organizations, and a multitude of other sectors, the Humana Foundation intends to fund as many collaborative efforts as possible – with joint applications from two or more organizations.
• Grants will be for $100,000, $50,000, or $25,000, with collaborators sharing funds they receive.

Individual organizations will still be able to apply for the grants, and may still receive grants, depending on the quality of all applications received.

“Our first year of this Community Relations initiative in 2018 went very well; more than 170 Louisville-area organizations applied for grants, and we were able to award 32 grants,” said Walter D. Woods, CEO of the Humana Foundation. “That being said, we are looking forward to encouraging collaboration in the nonprofit community with this year’s approach to funding. The 2019 program also aligns well with our strategy which emphasizes co-creation in communities, where leadership, culture and systems work to improve well-being for all.”

Selection criteria

The program in 2019 will fund initiatives that address social determinants of health by providing critical safety net services and/or those that make Louisville a more appealing place to live for all, including:

 Nutrition and food security – help increase the community’s supply of sustainable, nutritious food sources
 Shelter – focus on the homeless population, housing for today, and also stable housing for the future
 Personal safety– focus on people facing danger or harm on a regular basis (domestic abuse, violence, unsafe home environments)
 Health care services – meeting the health care needs of those who don’t have regular access (e.g. those without insurance or who are under-insured, helping people access/afford medication/treatment)
 Built and natural environment – focus on improving both our physical environments (e.g. improved lighting, enhancements to sidewalks to make them more accessible, etc.) and the natural environment (e.g. tree planting, beautification, support of parks)
 Arts and culture – focus on organizations enriching our community’s well-being through arts and culture
 Education and early childhood development – focus on helping people develop their cognitive, social, and linguistic skills

Special consideration will go to those applications that:
o Propose initiatives that require collaboration across two or more organizations, such as multiple nonprofit organizations, government organizations, academic institutions, etc.
o Propose initiatives with a strong focus on inclusion, diversity, equity, and belonging, breaking down barriers that keep all Louisville citizens from engaging the many services and opportunities our city has to offer. This includes working to make individuals in marginalized populations feel more included, connected and welcome in our community.

Organizations interested in applying for one of these grants will do so from Thursday, January 24, through Monday, February 11. The Humana Foundation expects to announce the recipients of the grants in April. Interested organizations may access the online application here. Once again in 2019, Humana employees in Louisville will have an opportunity to help the Humana Foundation decide where the grants will go, through an employee vote.

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Thanks to the generous support of the San Antonio community, the “March Out Hunger” food drive collected close to 94,000 pounds of food to help combat food insecurity in our military and veterans community.

The food drive was hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. VFW Texas District 20; Humana, a leading health and well-being company; and the San Antonio Food Bank.

Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. In the United States, food insecurity affects 1 in 8 people.

The two-month long food drive aimed to bring awareness to the fact that 1 in 5 households served by a local food bank has at least one member who has served, or is currently serving, in the U.S. military.

“When we think of our military and veteran community, we don’t often think of hunger or food insecurity,” said Bill White, Texas Medicare President for Humana. “As part of our Bold Goal work to make San Antonio 20 percent healthier by 2020, Humana was able to partner the VFW and the San Antonio Food Bank together to impact food insecurity locally. It’s partnerships like this that will help improve the health and well-being of San Antonians.”

The food drive also included a Veterans Resource Fair hosted on Nov. 17 at the San Antonio Food Bank and a rucksack march during the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series on Dec. 2. Rucksack march participants carried 35 pounds of food in a backpack for 1.3 miles to bring awareness to food insecurity.

“At the San Antonio Food Bank, food donations are critical to the ongoing mission of collecting and redistributing food to individual and families who do not know where their next meals are coming from. The veteran population has a definite need and this program is assisting our network of partners to serve 58,000 meals weekly,” said Eric Cooper, President and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank.

“Earlier this year I was shocked and saddened to discover the impact food insecurity has on America’s veterans, and I knew the VFW had to step up and fight this disheartening injustice,” said VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence. “No one should be food insecure – especially our veterans – and we’re honored to work alongside Humana and community champions like the San Antonio Food Bank to help do our part in this important initiative.”

Earlier this year, Humana partnered with Feeding America (the national network of regional food banks) to stage a series of events throughout the year that will drive food donations and raise awareness of food insecurity with a focus on helping veterans. In addition, Humana is a national affiliate partner of the VFW.

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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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Leaders from Humana and the University of Houston – who recently announced a long-term strategic partnership to train health care professionals in population health and value-based care as a means of improving health outcomes – met recently in Houston to build relationships and set priorities for their goal of advancing the science of primary care.

More than 50 leaders from both organizations gathered to advance collaboration on the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at the University of Houston, which will unite the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Optometry. A $15 million gift over 10 years from Humana will help defray start-up and operational costs for the College of Medicine, as well as fund endowed chairs for each of the five colleges.

On December 6, Humana will host an event on the University of Houston campus to formally kick off the Institute. This event will be focused primarily on students, culminating with a student poster competition to advance thought leadership in three core areas important to the institute:

• Inter-professional education and Integrated Care Delivery
• Population health and social determinants of health
• Value-based care and innovative reimbursement models

Participants in the event will include UH students, faculty and staff, as well as community leaders, Humana leaders and clinicians.

“We are thrilled with how this partnership with the University of Houston and Humana has started,” said Tray Cockerell, Director of Strategic Relationships in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer. “Our colleagues at the university are passionate about working together to train a new generation of clinicians in an educational model that focuses on integrated care delivery and value-based reimbursement, as well as improving health outcomes primarily focused on the underserved population in Houston and the rest of Texas.” Cockerell added, “This relationship with the University of Houston is a fantastic way for us to advance the science of Primary Care.”

The ultimate goal is to graduate physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals who are trained in population health and have a propensity for primary care and for working with the underserved. The result will be better healthcare in Houston, the U.S. and beyond.

Humana brings to the partnership more than 50 years of experience in care delivery and health plan administration, along with an integrated-care model that improves health and well-being and lowers costs. The University of Houston brings world-class academics, ground-breaking research and an innovative approach to health education.

The University of Houston is an ideal partner to advance and support Humana’s integrated care delivery approach. The relationship enables Humana to play a formative role in shaping the new medical school, which includes UH’s new college of Medicine, as well as existing colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Optometry. The partners will engage in research that furthers treatment models and the overall advancement of clinical sciences in primary care, nursing, visual health, social work and pharmacy, including the delivery of high-value care and value-based payment models. The program will train health professionals to thrive in and shape health systems based on evidence-based approaches developed through the Institute’s research.

There will be a strong emphasis on engaging the local community and improving social determinants of health, such as loneliness, social isolation and food insecurity.

Both Humana and the University of Houston expect that the partnership will yield abundant opportunities for collaboration, including:

• Adjunct professorships and teaching opportunities for Humana subject matter experts
• Opportunities to partner in shaping curricula in a wide range of topics, including value-based payment, home-based care, population health, data analytics and more
• Partnership on research and publications
• The establishment of value-based care clinic labs for University of Houston health sciences students and medical residents
• Internships and rotation programs to provide practical experience

The partnership will also build a talent pipeline of graduates who believe in, train in and will practice population health.

The UH College of Medicine is scheduled to admit 30 students in its inaugural class in 2020, pending approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas Legislature, and accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, ultimately growing to full enrollment of 480 students.

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