Company's "Biggest Loser" Bill Germanakos to Deliver NBGH Keynote Address
MADISON, N.J., May 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), the leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services, announced today that the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), an association of more than 300 large U.S. employers, has presented its 2008 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles Gold Award to the company for its HealthyQuest employee wellness program. In its second consecutive year as Gold Award recipient, Quest Diagnostics is one of only seven companies to have received the NBGH Healthy Lifestyles awards in the four years the awards have been given. The company was honored with the Silver Award in 2006 and 2005.
Bill Germanakos, director of Employer Wellness Initiatives at Quest Diagnostics will deliver a keynote address at today's NBGH awards ceremony. Mr. Germanakos was last season's winner on the NBC television program The Biggest Loser(R). He lost 164 pounds -- or 49.1 percent of his body weight -- in 34 weeks, dramatically improving his health. In his keynote address, Germanakos will talk about the events that led to his participation in the show, and the profound impact becoming "The Biggest Loser" has had on his health.
"We are very pleased to honor Quest Diagnostics for their innovation and commitment to providing lifestyle improvement programs designed to encourage healthier lifestyles for their employees," said Helen Darling, president of NBGH. "Quest Diagnostics and its management team should be proud of both their initiatives and ongoing support of helping employees to choose a healthier way of life."
Quest Diagnostics HealthyQuest provides employees and their spouses or domestic partners with information they need to make healthcare and lifestyle choices leading to better health. The program is based largely on the company's Blueprint for Wellness(TM) risk assessment product, which combines behavior and lifestyle choices with diagnostic test results to produce a personalized report identifying health risks and opportunities for improvement. Between 2005 and 2007, Quest Diagnostics' HealthyQuest program helped its participants to substantially lower their health risks by adopting more healthful behaviors, such as quitting smoking and exercising more frequently. Today, more than 70% of participants have achieved an assessment rating that indicates a low risk of developing major health problems, compared to 60% when the program began.
"Many of our employees have credited HealthyQuest with improving the quality of their health," said David W. Norgard, vice president, Human Resources, Quest Diagnostics. "Whether it is through tobacco cessation or stress management programs -- or this year's weight loss initiative -- HealthyQuest provides the education and support that can help our employees prevent health risks from escalating into serious medical conditions. Our expertise as the nation's leading diagnostic testing provider uniquely positions us to implement successful wellness initiatives, both for our own employees as well as for the employees of clients of our Blueprint for Wellness risk assessment tool."
HealthyQuest is a program designed to educate employees about their individual health risk factors and to encourage both the maintenance of healthy lifestyles and the adoption of new behaviors that will lead to better health. HealthyQuest encourages Quest Diagnostics' 43,500 employees and their spouses or domestic partners to participate in the company's Blueprint for Wellness health risk assessment service, which the company also provides commercially to other businesses.
Through Blueprint for Wellness, participants complete a comprehensive survey each year to assess the impact of lifestyle choices, such as diet, stress management, driving and exercise habits, on health quality. Unlike most corporate employee wellness programs, Blueprint for Wellness also employs diagnostic laboratory screening for diverse medical conditions. The diagnostic screenings include over 30 laboratory tests which can help your doctor identify risks or conditions which may be prevented or effectively managed, and which, over time, help participants better understand their progress toward meeting their own health goals.
Based on the results of the screening tests, biometric measurements and lifestyle survey, the company provides each participant with a confidential and personalized 20-page report that comprehensively analyzes her or his health status. The report also recommends specific healthcare and lifestyle strategies that participants can implement to lower their health risks and improve overall health. Armed with this information, HealthyQuest participants, which now total about 30,000 employees and dependents, can access the initiative's diverse educational and support programs, which are supported by hundreds of employee volunteers, to make lifestyle changes. Programs include physical fitness, weight, and stress management resources, tobacco cessation counseling, and efforts to improve the healthful quality of food choices at onsite cafeterias and vending machines.
"HealthyQuest results have been remarkable. As a company, we are beginning to see a positive return on our investment and our colleagues continue to tell us that, due to HealthyQuest, they are making important lifestyle changes. Others credit the program with anticipating major medical problems, like diabetes, and helping them to halt destructive behaviors, such as smoking," said Fred R. Williams, director, Health Benefits Management, Quest Diagnostics.
About Blueprint for Wellness
Quest Diagnostics' Blueprint for Wellness health-risk assessment service is designed to improve employee health and well-being and to control healthcare costs. Blueprint for Wellness provides a personal assessment report detailing health risks and opportunities for improvement based on the combined results of a survey of lifestyle and health habits, more than 30 laboratory screening tests, and biometric measurements. Quest Diagnostics' 2,100 patient service centers and expertise as the nation's leading diagnostic testing provider uniquely position the company to provide screening services for employers. For more information, visit http://www.questdiagnostics.com/employersolutions/health_and_wellness_es.ht ml.
About Quest Diagnostics
Quest Diagnostics is the leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services that patients and doctors need to make better healthcare decisions. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic testing services through its national network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff. Quest Diagnostics is a pioneer in developing innovative new diagnostic tests and advanced healthcare information technology solutions that help improve patient care. Additional information is available at: http://www.questdiagnostics.com.
About the National Business Group on Health
The National Business Group on Health is the nation's only non-profit, membership organization of large employers devoted exclusively to finding innovative and forward-thinking solutions to their most important health care and related benefits issues. The NBGH identifies and shares best practices in health benefits, disability, health and productivity, related paid time off and work/life balance issues. NBGH members provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information about the NBGH, visit http://www.businessgrouphealth.org
The statements in this press release which are not historical facts or information may be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and outcomes to be materially different. Certain of these risks and uncertainties may include, but are not limited to, competitive environment, changes in government regulations, changing relationships with customers, payers, suppliers and strategic partners and other factors described in the Quest Diagnostics Incorporated 2007 Form 10-K and subsequent filings.
Quest, Quest Diagnostics, and the associated logos are the registered trademarks of Quest Diagnostics. All third party marks -- (R) and (TM) -- are the property of their respective owners. (C) 2000-2008 Quest Diagnostics Incorporated. All rights reserved.
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