Three-year demonstration project will test effectiveness of health management programs to lower cost and severity of chronic illness in the Medicare population
MINNEAPOLIS, April 8, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- HealthFitness (OTC Bulletin Board: HFIT) announced today it is working with Pfizer Health Solutions (PHS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pfizer Inc., as part of a three-year Senior Risk Reduction Demonstration (SRRD) project designed specifically for the senior population. HealthFitness has more than 30 years' experience working with employers to produce award-winning fitness and health management programs.
PHS's Staying Healthy USA program was among five chosen by CMS to determine whether successful workforce-focused lifestyle and health management programs can also be effective for the Medicare population.
"HealthFitness is excited to work with PHS on this landmark demonstration project," said Gregg Lehman, Ph.D., president and CEO of HealthFitness. "Chronic disease increases dramatically in the over-55 population. By helping Medicare beneficiaries understand their risks and learn how to control them, HealthFitness aims to reduce the severity and incidence of chronic disease among program participants."
More than half of Medicare beneficiaries received treatments for five or more chronic conditions in 2002.(1) Those with more than five chronic conditions account for more than 66 percent of Medicare spending.(2)
"Chronic diseases affect the health and quality of life for millions of seniors," said John Sory, vice president, Pfizer Health Solutions. "HealthFitness and PHS will contribute meaningful expertise to the demonstration, based on years of experience in the private sector. We expect to see many participants better understand their risks and improve their health through lifestyle and behavior changes."
HealthFitness will send out welcome kits to approximately 17,000 Medicare beneficiaries (ages 67 to 74) invited by CMS to participate in the program. They will administer health risk assessments (HRAs) in both paper and electronic formats to program participants.
HealthFitness collaborated with PHS to tailor a HRA question set specifically for the senior population. In addition to receiving a feedback report, some beneficiaries who complete the HRA will receive a health management orientation call from HealthFitness to help them understand their report and health risk level, and will receive referral to a lifestyle and behavior change program. Participants may also receive educational materials from HealthFitness and PHS offering strategies for lowering their health risks.
Some participants will be invited to take part in HealthFitness' EMPOWERED(TM) Health Coaching program, available online and telephonically. EMPOWERED connects participants with a single, specially trained HealthFitness health coach who works with the participant to set goals and focus on lifestyle and behavior change in the areas of physical activity, healthy eating, weight loss, stress management and smoking cessation.
HealthFitness and PHS began piloting the project April 1, 2008 with a sample population. The full demonstration project will begin October 1, 2008 and be completed in three years.
"This is a prime example of private sector expertise that can translate to the Medicare population," Lehman said. "HealthFitness has the experience and science base to tailor our employer-based programs for seniors. This is an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of population health management across all ages."
HealthFitness is a leading provider of employee health improvement services to Fortune 500 companies, the health care industry and individual consumers. Serving clients for more than 30 years, HealthFitness partners with employers to effectively manage their health care and productivity costs by improving individual health and well-being. HealthFitness serves more than 300 clients globally via on-site management and remotely via Web and telephonic services. HealthFitness provides a complete portfolio of health and fitness management solutions including a proprietary health risk assessment platform, screenings, EMPOWERED(TM) Health Coaching and delivery of health improvement programs. HealthFitness employs more than 3,000 health and fitness professionals in national and international locations who are committed to the company's mission of "improving the health and well-being of the people we serve." For more information on HealthFitness, visit http://www.hfit.com.
About Pfizer Health Solutions
Pfizer Health Solutions Inc, the wholly-owned care management subsidiary of Pfizer Inc, partners with health care and community organizations to implement patient-centered programs that focus on prevention, disease management and care coordination to improve patient health and health care delivery. To learn more, visit http://www.pfizerhealthsolutions.com.
() Thorpe, Kenneth E. and David H. Howard. "The Rise In Spending Among Medicare Beneficiaries: The Role Of Chronic Disease Prevalence And Changes In Treatment Intensity." Health Affairs 25, no. 5 (2006): w378-w388 08 2006 378-388. 122007. Available at http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/abstract/25/5/w378. Accessed Dec. 20, 2007.
(2) Partnership for Prevention. Chronic Conditions: Making the Care for Ongoing Care. Available at http://www.partnershipforsolutions.org/DMS/files/chronicbook2002.pdf. Accessed on Dec. 20, 2007.
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