HONOLULU & NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The people of Hawaii will now have access to a less invasive, lower cost approach to addressing serious and pervasive health risks thanks to an agreement between the Hawai’i Medical Service Association (HMSA) and Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY). The Dr. Dean Ornish Lifestyle Management Program will now be available to HMSA’s eligible commercial and government health plan members who are suffering from coronary artery disease, diabetes and multiple high-risk health issues. This program has been proven to not only treat but also reverse chronic diseases through comprehensive lifestyle changes rather than drugs or surgery.
Dr. Ornish is widely known as one of America’s leading biomedical scientists and the preeminent leader in evidence-based lifestyle treatments for chronic diseases. For more than three decades, he directed a series of scientific research studies published in leading peer reviewed journals showing, for the first time, that the progression of even severe coronary heart disease can be treated and reversed by helping individuals improve their overall well-being — for example, what they eat, how they respond to stress, how much activity they engage in, and how much love and support they receive. The results of this research were so compelling, Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provided Medicare reimbursement for individuals enrolled in The Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease™ in January 2011 under a new category: “Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation.”
“HMSA is committed to innovation in bringing Dr. Ornish’s program to the people of Hawaii. The solution has been proven to simultaneously improve the quality of care that people receive while lowering healthcare costs. The Ornish Program has clearly shown that improving an individual’s well-being through a multi-faceted approach with sustained lifestyle changes at its core can be transformative, and we reached the decision to offer this program as broadly as possible with the strong support and advocacy of our physician community,” said Michael A. Gold, HMSA president and chief executive officer. “Our long-term partnership with Healthways has always helped us bring ground-breaking initiatives to our members, and the Ornish Program is in complete alignment with our existing well-being initiatives.”
The physician-led Ornish Program has helped people manage coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes and early-stage prostate cancer – chronic diseases that drive a disproportionate amount of medical costs. Brought to recent attention by President Bill Clinton’s brush with cardiac disease, Dr. Ornish and his program has recently been featured on “The Dr. Oz Show” and Fox Business’s “Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo,” as well as in USA Today, Parade and Forbes.
The program aligns with efforts by health systems, employers and health plans to design and develop new care delivery models that can be appropriately reimbursed for the value they deliver, which in turn rewards health systems and physicians for improving the health and well-being of people and their associated health-related costs in a sustainable way. The program is a boon to employers because they lower healthcare costs while addressing health-related lost productivity nationwide.
Not only will HMSA make the program available to its members, but, in keeping with its mission to improve the health of all the people of Hawaii, HMSA will support the training and certification of physicians to make the program available to all senior citizens in areas of Hawaii where coronary artery disease is most prevalent. Healthways will work with HMSA’s network of participating facilities and other providers to help them become certified, approved providers of the Ornish Program. Healthways will provide the start-up infrastructure needed to deploy the Ornish Program as a scalable solution for providers statewide.
The agreement is the latest in the strategic relationship between the two organizations, which have been partners since 2001. Healthways oversees HMSA’s integrated health management programs and services. In addition, Hawaii is currently taking steps toward becoming a Blue Zones Community™ through a Healthways program that helps residents, businesses and community leaders come together to optimize residents’ longevity and well-being.
“Since the beginning of our relationship with HMSA in 2001, we’ve been impressed by their commitment to innovation when it comes to improving the health and well-being of their members, optimizing value while effectively balancing costs,” said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Healthways. “This agreement is a clear manifestation of HMSA’s vision of a healthier Hawaii through a sustainable healthcare system in which HMSA members are at the center of, in control of and responsible for their own well-being. We look forward to getting started on this next chapter of our relationship.”
About Dean Ornish, M.D.
Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ornish received his M.D. from the Baylor College of Medicine, was a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He earned a B.A. in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address.
Dr. Ornish was appointed by President Barack Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health in 2010 and, previously, by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy in 2000. He chaired the Google Health Advisory Council 2007-2009.
He has received numerous national and professional awards including being honored by LIFE magazine as "one of the fifty most influential members of his generation", being recognized as "one of the most interesting people of 1996" by People magazine; and having been described in Forbes magazine as "one of the seven most powerful teachers in the world."
The Ornish diet, a critical component of the Ornish Program, was rated #1 for heart health by U.S. News & World Report in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Caring for the people of Hawaii is our promise and our privilege. Working together with employers, partners, and physicians and other health care providers, we promote wellness; develop reliable, affordable health plans; and support members with clear, thoughtful guidance.
HMSA is the most experienced health plan in the state, covering more than half of Hawaii’s population. As a recognized leader, we embrace our responsibility to strengthen the health and well-being of our community.
Headquartered on Oahu with centers statewide to serve our members, HMSA is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Healthways is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 68 million people on four continents. Learn more at www.healthways.com.