Hacker Attacks Targeting Healthcare Organizations Doubled in the 4th Quarter of 2009.

SecureWorks®, Inc., a global provider of information security services , reported today that attempted hacker attacks launched at its healthcare clients doubled in the fourth quarter of 2009. Attempted attacks increased from an average of 6,500 per healthcare client per day in the first nine months of 2009 to an average of 13,400 per client per day in the last three months of 2009. Attempted attacks against other types of organizations, protected by SecureWorks, did not increase in the fourth quarter.

“From October through December of 2009, we blocked hundreds of SQL Injection and Butterfly/Mariposa Bot malware attacks launched at our healthcare clients. These attempted attacks were responsible for the increase in our attack statistics,” said Hunter King, security researcher with SecureWorks’ Counter Threat Unit(SM) (CTU).

In the Fall of 2009, SecureWorks and the security community began tracking a new wave of attacks involving the latest version of the Butterfly/Mariposa Bot malware, according to King. If a computer is infected with the Butterfly malware, it can be used to steal data stored by the victim’s browser (including passwords), launch Distributed Denial of Service attacks, spread via USB devices or peer to peer, and download additional malware onto the infected computer.

Factors Contributing to Healthcare Attacks

SecureWorks noted that there are tow mini reasons that Heathcare entities are targeted:

1. Valuable Data Stores – Healthcare organizations often store valuabledata such as a patient’s Social Security number, insurance and/or financial account data, birth date, name, billing address, and phone, making them a desirable target to cyber criminals.

2. Large Attack Landscape – Because of the nature of their business, healthcare organizations have large attack surfaces. Healthcare entities have to provide access to many external networks and web applications so as to stay connected with their patients, employees, insurers and business partners. This increases their risk to cyber attacks.

“In order for healthcare organizations to effectively protect their sensitive patient data, they should consider employing a defense-in-depth strategy. This approach involves implementing multiple layers of protection to shield the organization from current and emerging threats,” said Jon Ramsey, CTO for SecureWorks.

SecureWorks has outlined a set of information security guidelines to assist the healthcare industry in protecting their patient data from cyber attacks and other data breaches. Adopting these security measures will also assist organizations in demonstrating their adherence to the HIPAA regulations and the requirements outlined in the new Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

About SecureWorks

SecureWorks is a market leading provider of world-class information security services with over 2,700 clients worldwide spanning North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. Organizations of all sizes, including more than ten percent of the Fortune 500, rely on SecureWorks to protect their assets, improve compliance and reduce costs. The combination of strong client service, award-winning security technology and experienced security professionals makes SecureWorks the premier provider of information security services for any organization. Positioned in the Leader’s Quadrant of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for MSSPs, SecureWorks has also won SC Magazine’s “Best Managed Security Service” award for 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009. www.secureworks.com

Source: SecureWorks, Inc.

Aetna Launches Team-Based Fitness and Nutrition Program that Uses Online Social Networking.

Aetna (NYSE: AET) today announced a new team-based fitness and nutrition program for employers nationwide that uses online social networking to encourage people of all health and fitness levels to work together with their colleagues to achieve their optimal health. Powered by Shape Up The Nation, Aetna Health Connections Get Active!SM is modeled after Aetna’s own Get Active Aetna employee program. The program has been exceptionally successful among Aetna’s own employees, with 57 percent of employees participating in the program in 2009.

“We all know the health benefits of losing weight, being more active, quitting smoking, eating a healthier diet and more, but many people don’t know where to begin and the thought of doing it alone is often daunting,” said Lonny Reisman, M.D., Aetna’s chief medical officer. “Introducing a program to employees that includes a group dynamic has proven effective for motivating Aetna’s own employees to get healthy. In fact, many Aetna employees have shared amazing success stories about how the program helped them achieve and sustain healthy lifestyles. Now, Aetna is bringing this program to our customers so that other companies can enjoy the success that Aetna has had with its own employees.”

Kip Hill, an Aetna employee in Arlington, Texas, credits the program with helping him lose 120 pounds by eating better and exercising regularly. Hill has participated for three years and says, “It is such an important program. I’m a competitive person, so this makes exercise fun because you have teams and you are rooting each other on.” Now, just 40 pounds away from his goal weight, he’s already met another important health goal – quitting smoking. “I love the program because it makes you think about how to fit exercise into your busy schedule and if you continue to do it all year long, you really see a difference.” Now, Hill is even more active, leading his son’s Cub Scout pack and once he reaches his goal weight, Hill says he hopes to enjoy a whole range of activities with his two sons, like karate, kickboxing and hiking.

Aetna Health Connections Get Active!
Powered by Shape Up The Nation, a wellness company focused on leveraging the power of trusted social networks to promote healthy living, Aetna Health Connections Get Active! is being offered to large- and medium-sized employers who want to help employees of all health and fitness levels improve their overall health. The social networking platform is designed to unite employees to schedule group exercise opportunities, find colleagues with similar health interests, use online fitness and nutrition trackers and participate in team competitions. Participants can invite, challenge, track and motivate each other throughout the year. Aetna Health Connections Get Active! joins Aetna’s full suite of health and wellness programs aimed at helping people achieve their optimal health.

“We are proud to partner with Aetna to bring our employee wellness platform to their customers,” said Mike Zani, Shape Up The Nation’s chief executive officer. “Research shows that trusted social networks can be harnessed to encourage healthy behaviors and increase the likelihood for success through peer motivation, support, and accountability. Aetna members will benefit greatly from this powerful new tool for improving their health.”

Get Active Aetna results
Aetna has used a variety of wellness programs, including its own Get Active Aetna program, now in its third year. More than 20,000 Aetna employees actively participated in the program in 2009. In 2008, nearly 60 percent of employees participated and as a whole, participants walked the equivalent of 132 times around the earth’s equator. This year, Aetna employees walked 3.9 million miles or the equivalent of circling the equator 156 times.

About Aetna
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.

About Shape Up The Nation
Shape Up The Nation is the first wellness company focused on leveraging the power of trusted social networks to promote healthy living. Founded in 2006, Shape Up The Nation has pioneered an innovative approach to behavior change that uses social networking to reduce health care costs by improving the health of large populations through peer motivation, support, and accountability. Shape Up The Nation’s evidence-based online platform is used by more than 100 leading self-insured employers and health plans. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Shape Up The Nation is online at www.shapeupthenation.com.

Source: Aetna

Innovative Value-Based Health Insurance Plan Designs Can Improve Member Health at No Added Cost, Study Says.

Value-based insurance design programs — which reduce patient co-payments for highly effective treatments — can break even financially or possibly save money, according to a new study from University of Michigan, Harvard and other researchers.

In an article published today by Health Affairs, the researchers analyzed data from a large corporation that implemented a VBID program in 2005. Co-payment rates were reduced for employees using five classes of drugs used to treat several serious but common chronic conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

In this VBID program, patients using the specified medications were offered at least a 50% co-payment reduction. The study’s authors examined both the amounts spent on the high value services and overall spending by the employer using the VBID plan.

“From a total cost perspective, the VBID program likely broke even, and possibly saved money,” said A. Mark Fendrick, M.D., co-director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Value-Based Insurance Design [http://www.vbidcenter.org].

The financial returns from an employer perspective will be less favorable, but significant savings from reduced use of non-drug services are likely and will substantially offset the added employer spending on prescription drugs, the researchers found.

“But even if the VBID program were to slightly increase employers’ medical costs, our expectation is that as people increase the use of high-value services, their health will not only improve, but overall medical costs will decline.”

Fendrick, who also is a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and professor of Health Management and Policy, created the VBID concept with Michael Chernew, professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. Both are authors on the new study.

VBID intervention is a least cost neutral

“It seems reasonable to conclude that the financial effects of this VBID intervention were at least cost neutral – if not cost saving – from a total cost perspective. Value-based insurance designs could be an important component of a broader cost containment strategy,” says Chernew about the study.

Fendrick stresses that VBID programs focus on removing barriers for treatments that are proven to be effective. When costs are reduced, patients are more likely to use high value services. For those with lower co-payments, the percentage of patients not taking their medication declined by about 10 percent in 4 of the 5 drug classes.

The financial impact of behaviors resulting in improved health can be measured in terms of savings on both medical [such as fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations] and non-medical [such as fewer disability days, less absenteeism and greater worker productivity] spending, Fendrick says.

Fendrick and Chernew currently are working with Congressional leaders on incorporating VBID concepts in health care reform. Language encouraging the use of VBID concepts is in the bill being negotiated in conference committee.

“The clinical benefits of removing barriers to high value services were clear, but before this paper, the economic ramifications of VBID programs were uncertain. We can now say, at worst, VBID programs are cost neutral from a total cost perspective,” Fendrick says.

Chernew adds. “Payers are facing tremendous pressure to reign in health care costs. Compared to the status quo, we are confident that, if carefully designed, VBID programs can produce more health at any price. We believe that VBID should remain an integral part of ongoing health care reform discussions.”

Source: University of Michigan Health System

What Do Employers Want from Health Insurers in 2010.

What do employers want from health insurers in 2010? According to a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute they want two things: Better information and more value.

Employers’ expectations of their health insurers continue to change. While many studies examine the relationship between employees and their employer-sponsored benefits, less is known about employers and what they want from health insurance carriers. The report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute, provides insights and key observations on opportunities for employers and health insurers. What employers want from health insurers in 2010.

Mainly, the study found that employers’ satisfaction with their health insurers eroded during the past year. The study reported that, “Hit by a major recession and thrust into the teeth of a national debate on health reform, employers are taking a critical look at their health benefits strategy and the value they derive from it.”

Here are the key findings:

  • Satisfaction by large employers decreased by an average of five percentage points, from 64% in 2008 to 59% in 2009, while satisfaction among small employers held steady.
  • Overall, small companies continue to be less satisfied with insurers than large companies. Among small companies, the smaller the company, the less satisfied it is with insurer services. Small employers are less satisfied than large employers by an average of seven percentage points.
  • Employers continue to want more meaningful and higher-quality data to help them control costs and keep their employees healthy. Employers would like insurers to take an active role in waste reduction and are looking for consistency and transparency in their health benefit plans.
  • Interest in personal technology tools is surging. Nearly half of all employers now say it is important for insurers to offer them; however, less than half are satisfied. Satisfaction with personal heath records and online comparison tools has dropped 10 percentage points for large employers.
  • With participation hovering around 50% for the past two years, employers need to look beyond the same financial incentives to engage employees in completing health risk assessments and biometric screening. Biometric screening participation decreased in all the incentive categories except the $500 premium reduction and no-incentives categories. Completion of health risk assessments (HRA) jumped eight percentage points in the no-incentives category, but dropped slightly in overall participation.
  • Despite or possibly because of the recession, 60% of employers said they would increase cost-sharing for healthcare with their employees. Of the employers surveyed, it was the most prevalent cost-control strategy.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute (HRI) provided this research-based insight by evaluating results of surveys conducted by the firm’s Barometer team that included executives at approximately 100 large US-based multinational companies (Management Barometer survey) and 130 privately held small companies (Trendsetter survey). Large companies had an average of 11,000 employees and revenues of about $4 billion, and small employers had a workforce of less than 200 employees and average revenues of $24.3 million. In addition, PwC surveyed more than 650 human resources executives as part of its annual Health and Well-Being Touchstone Survey, which provides detailed benefits information and future healthcare strategies from US companies in 30 industries.

HRI’s research also included in-depth interviews with thought leaders and executives of employers, insurers, and other businesses. Additionally, HRI conducted a literature review of reports and guidance from associations, regulators, and academia to gather insights on current challenges and leading practices.

To obtain a copy of the report, click here.

About PricewaterhouseCoopers

PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for our clients and their stakeholders. More than 163,000 people in 151 countries across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice.

Health Research Institute

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute provides new intelligence, perspectives, and analysis on trends affecting all health-related industries, including healthcare providers, pharmaceuticals, health and life sciences, and payers. The Institute helps executive decision-makers and stakeholders navigate change through a process of fact-based research and collaborative exchange that draws on a network of more than 3,000 professionals with day-to-day experience in the health industries. The Institute is part of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ larger initiative for the health-related industries that brings together expertise and allows collaboration across all sectors in the health continuum.

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

CSA Travel Protection Enhances Travel Insurance Plan With Consult A Doctor.

CSA Travel Protection (CSA), a provider of travel insurance and emergency assistance services, today announced enhanced travel insurance plans that now include 24/7 access to Consult A Doctor’s(TM) national network of physicians by phone or email.

Many plans from CSA will now offer On Demand Medical Care as part of the plans’ coverage. On Demand Medical Care includes access to Consult A Doctor’s national network of licensed and board certified physicians for information, advice, and treatment, including prescription medication, when appropriate. This is in addition to the already existing No Out of Pocket medical coverage that provides payment (up to $1,000), with no claim necessary, if a traveler falls ill or is injured while traveling.

“Travelers are always looking for the easiest, most efficient assistance when something unexpected happens on their trip,” said Bob Chambers, director of operations. “With the addition of Consult A Doctor’s excellent service, CSA customers can save even more time and money so they can get back to enjoying their vacation. It’s like taking a doctor with you on vacation.”

Consult A Doctor offers 24/7 access to physicians for phone and secure email medical consultations. Its proprietary nationwide cross-coverage network of U.S. licensed primary care physicians and specialists provide specific answers to medical questions and advice regarding non-emergency, routine medical conditions. They discuss symptoms, recommend treatment options, diagnose many common conditions, and prescribe medication when appropriate.

About CSA Travel Protection

CSA Travel Protection is dedicated to providing affordable travel insurance and emergency assistance services to protect travelers’ valuable investments and provide the peace of mind one deserves while traveling. Since its inception in 1991, CSA has developed a reputation for standing behind its customers and evolving products and services to meet their needs. Through superior customer service, extensive experience and industry-leading innovation, CSA is with its clients every step of the way, whenever and wherever they are needed.

Source: CSA Travel Protection

Programs Fight Obestity and Encourage Kids to Get Active.

Two new programs were announced today, one aimed at fighting obesity and another to promote healthy lifestyles for children.

In Tampa, FL, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), is issuing a nationwide challenge to all Americans to talk to their doctor about their weight.

Beginning today, the OAC is encouraging all Americans to visit www.yourweightmatters.org and learn more about measuring their weight, health and wellness and much more. When taking the challenge, visitors will be provided with a “Your Weight Matters” e-toolkit. The e-toolkit will help them gather the right kind of information to bring when talking to their doctor, including a food log, exercise tips, helpful resources and much more.

“More than half of the United States is affected by excess weight; however, many Americans, both young and old, do not realize they are overweight or obese until they are faced with a serious health risk, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. The ‘Your Weight Matters’ campaign is an excellent way for individuals to educate themselves about their weight and realize its impact on their health and wellbeing,” said Barbara Thompson, OAC Chairperson.

In Harrisburg, PA, Capital BlueCross and the Pennsylvania Department of Health are kicking off  a grant program called Active Schools that is aimed at middle school-aged children throughout the region.

Active Schools is a grant program that allows selected schools to implement year-long programs encouraging students to engage in physical activity at least 30 minutes each day. The $15,000 per school grants are funded by Capital BlueCross and the Department of Health.

One such grant was awarded to  Steelton-High Spire. The school is using the money to buy a fitness center from Project Fit America. The fitness center is set to arrive by the end of January and features an outdoor fitness course and mobile indoor exercise equipment.

“The Steelton-Highspire staff can’t wait for our Project Fit America to arrive so we can start our students on a structured path to good health,” said Superintendent Dr. Deborah Wortham. “We are quite aware that a healthy body makes for a healthy mind. That is why we applied for the grant and selected Project Fit America as our daily activity. It is just so important to provide a complete learning environment and that starts with a child’s individual health.”

About the OAC

The OAC is a nonprofit National charity dedicated to helping those affected by obesity. The OAC was formed to bring together individuals struggling with weight issues and provide educational resources and advocacy tools.

About Capital BlueCross

Capital BlueCross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

Source: Obesity Action Coalition and Capital BlueCross

Cisco and Molina Healthcare Pilot a Telemedicine Program for Underserved and Underinsured Communities.

Cisco announced on Friday a ground-breaking telemedicine pilot program initiative with Molina Healthcare, two community health centers in San Diego, and the state of California to provide health and wellness services to underserved communities throughout the state.

Cisco HealthPresence

Photo: Cisco

More than 15 sites will be equipped to deliver telemedicine primary and specialty care services using Cisco HealthPresence™, a care-at-a-distance technology solution that combines state-of-the-art video, audio, and medical information to create a patient care experience similar to the common medical encounter when patients visit their healthcare providers. As part of this program, Cisco is contributing $10 million of product, services and support.

“Healthcare is in the midst of a major market transition – and technology can make a tremendous impact, said John Chambers, chairman and chief executive officer of Cisco. “This public/private partnership between Cisco, Molina Healthcare and the state of California marks the latest in a series of steps we are taking to help modernize our healthcare system and bring about new models of healthcare delivery.”

Through this California Telemedicine Pilot Project, Molina Healthcare, Mountain Health and Community Services and La Maestra Community Health Centers will use Cisco HealthPresence to deliver primary and specialty care services, and the University of California at Davis, a leader in telemedicine, is currently working to join the ecosystem as well.

The availability of a care-at-a-distance network will give patients easier access to doctors and specialists that equals or exceeds an in-person medical visit. Cisco HealthPresence includes integrated state-of-the-art medical diagnostic equipment to provide healthcare professionals with excellent evaluative capabilities and it allows both doctors and patients to engage in an experience that is more participatory and immersive than in-person visits or telemedicine initiatives of the past.

High-definition cameras and electronic scopes

Through the use of high-definition cameras and electronic scopes, patients will also be able to see and listen to the medical examination in the same way as the clinician, allowing for more informed interactions with physicians. HealthPresence also enables multiple members of a patient’s care team – primary care provider, specialist physicians, care manager, family members and others – to meet in real-time, regardless of location or distance. This supports better care collaboration and patient management.

Although HealthPresence has been piloted for two years in clinical settings, this initiative serves as a proof-of-concept for Cisco and its partners to demonstrate the value of a scalable, cost-efficient telemedicine network that scales the medical workforce and scarce clinical expertise by connecting facilities across the state of California, in real time, for activities such as patient care and education, as well as clinician-to-clinician consultation or education.

If this pilot proves successful, we may all be receiving more of our medical care in this way. The Association of American Medical Colleges has estimated that due to population growth, aging and other factors, the country is facing a potential shortage of 159,000 primary care physicians by 2025.  Telemedicine technologies are expected to help scarce healthcare professionals reach the widest patient population most efficiently.

About Molina Healthcare, Inc.

Molina Healthcare, Inc. is a multi-state managed care organization that arranges for the delivery of healthcare services to persons eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, and other government-sponsored programs for low-income families and individuals. Molina Healthcare’s ten licensed health plan subsidiaries in California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Washington currently serve approximately 1.4 million members. More information about Molina Healthcare and Molina Healthcare of California can be obtained at http://www.molinahealthcare.com.

About Mountain Health & Community Services

Mountain Health & Community Services is a private, non-profit community health center providing comprehensive primary care and behavioral health services to low-income, medically underserved San Diego County residents, with particular reference to residents of rural eastern San Diego.

About La Maestra Community Health Centers

La Maestra Community Health Centers is a 501(c)(3) Federally Qualified Health Center that has been providing culturally-competent quality healthcare and community services in San Diego since 1990. Clients of La Maestra can receive a full range of primary medical services for all ages, as well as oral, behavioral and vision care and education to encourage healthier lifestyles. Social services including insurance eligibility, transportation, translation, housing assistance, a food pantry, and financial literacy and job placement are also available to help the members of this diverse community begin down the path that will lead them to health, well-being and self-sufficiency.

About Cisco Systems

Cisco, (NASDAQ: CSCO), the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, this year celebrates 25 years of technology innovation, operational excellence and corporate social responsibility. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com.

Source: Cisco Systems

Health Plans React to Earthquake Crisis in Haiti.

At least three of the nation’s large health plans have reacted to the earthquake crisis in Haiti by providing resources and donations.

Aetna (NYSE: AET)  announced that it has opened its employee assistance programs to all members, employees and their families who may have loved ones affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

The company is also reaching out to its customers with employees in Haiti to offer medical evacuation for those injured and other assistance.

“We are greatly saddened by this tragedy, and we extend our thoughts and deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those affected,” said Chairman and CEO Ronald A. Williams. “Our members and employees with family members in Haiti are of the utmost concern to us, and we are committed to supporting them through this difficult time.”

Additionally, The Aetna Foundation has initiated a dollar-for-dollar match for employee disaster relief donations to help the relief efforts in Haiti. Aetna’s Community Relations group has activated its 47 Aetna Volunteer Councils to engage with relief agencies to respond to this disaster by collecting goods and funds and offering other assistance.

In a similar announcement, The Humana Foundation, philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), said that it is contributing $100,000 for immediate support of earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti. The Foundation will also match – dollar for dollar – contributions from Humana associates up to $50,000 – for a total possible Humana Foundation donation of $150,000.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, their loved ones and friends,” said Virginia Kelly Judd, executive director of The Humana Foundation. “We hope our gift – along with all of the other aid coming in from countries worldwide – will make a meaningful difference as the people of Haiti begin what is sure to be a long, difficult recovery from this week’s earthquake.”

The CIGNA Foundation also announced that it is making an immediate donation of $50,000 to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts and aid victims of the  earthquake. In addition, the CIGNA Foundation has pledged an additional $50,000 to the American Red Cross to match CIGNA employee donations to the Haitian relief efforts.

“A fundamental tenet of CIGNA’s mission is to ‘serve.’ The devastation in Haiti is beyond words,” said David M. Cordani, president and CEO of CIGNA. “I’ve always been proud that when people around the world are in need, CIGNA’s people step up to offer what they can.”

In addition to the donations, CIGNA is offering disaster-related educational tools and counseling resources through its employee assistance program to ensure that its clients, customers and their families have access to needed services.

About the Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Founded in 1972, the Foundation promotes wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone, while supporting the communities Aetna serves. The Foundation’s 2010 giving will focus on addressing the rising rate of obesity in the U.S., promoting racial and ethnic equity in health care, and advancing integrated health care. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed over $359 million in grants and sponsorships, and will give up to $18.5 million in 2009. For more information on the Aetna Foundation visit www.aetnafoundation.org.

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.

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-benefits companies. The Foundation is located in Louisville, Ky., the site of Humana’s corporate headquarters. The Foundation’s mission is to support charitable activities that promote healthy lives and healthy communities. For more information, visit www.humanafoundation.org.

About Humana

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies, with approximately 10.3 million medical members and approximately 7.3 million specialty-benefit members. Humana is a full-service benefits solutions company, offering a wide array of health and supplemental benefit plans for employer groups, government programs and individuals.

Over its 49-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.

About CIGNA Foundation

The CIGNA Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where CIGNA employees live and work.

Capital BlueCross and P4 Healthcare Launch Cancer Pathways Initiative.

Capital BlueCross and P4 Healthcare announced today the launch of an innovative initiative to create clinically proven, evidence-based oncology treatment protocols aimed at enhancing the quality of care for patients. The P4 Pathways Program will provide the tools to establish disease-specific and locally-based pathways for the treatment of patients with cancer, as well as protocols for supportive care (treatment of complications and adverse events that arise from the medical condition or administration of treatment). The pathways are a collaborative effort that will be developed with oncologists across the entire Capital BlueCross network as a way to provide cost-effective care and improve the quality of health care delivery without comprising the integrity or delivery of treatment.

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve the care delivered to our members. This program is compelling because it is driven by evidence-based pathways that include the guidance of local oncologists who understand the unique needs of those facing health challenges,” said Capital BlueCross President and CEO Bill Lehr.

Capital BlueCross and P4 Healthcare have assembled a panel of local physicians to develop and maintain an up-to-date framework for the P4 Pathways Program based on clinical evidence to ensure best patient outcomes. The P4 Pathways are designed to provide high-quality patient care and reward physicians for delivering appropriate care while managing costs.

“The P4 Pathways Program brings together the key stakeholders in the care of a patient. The intent of this program is to ensure highest quality of cancer care for Capital BlueCross patients through the adoption of evidence-based clinical pathways,” said Jeffrey Scott, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, P4 Pathways.

P4 Healthcare, creators of the P4 Pathways Program, will provide proprietary technology, tools, expertise, educational programs, and hands-on training for developing, implementing, and continually monitoring and reporting on anything relating to the P4 Pathways Program. Practices implementing P4 Pathway programs have historically shown less variability in regimens, reduced misuse of chemotherapy, better managed toxicity, optimized use of biologics and better defined treatment milestones.

About Capital BlueCross:

Capital BlueCross is the leading health insurer in its region, providing health insurance coverage to nearly one million people in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. Capital BlueCross is committed to making health insurance simple for its customers and members through all the stages of life by offering nationally acclaimed customer service and a full range of innovative benefit programs at competitive prices. The company has been providing health security to the people and communities of central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley for more than 70 years and employs about 2,100 people in the region. Capital BlueCross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About P4 Pathways, a P4 Healthcare company:

P4 Pathways partners with payors across the country to establish clinically proven, evidence-based oncology treatment protocols designed to promote the delivery of high quality, cost efficient patient care. These protocols seek optimal patient outcomes by ensuring selections of the most cost effective medications, minimizing side effects, reducing errors, and minimizing toxicities. Patients, Payors and Physicians all benefit alike. Significant cost savings and enhanced care are realized by eliminating unnecessary medical costs, reducing hospitalization and selecting the most cost effective medications. P4 Pathways, LLC is a P4 Healthcare company. For more information, visit www.p4pathways.com.

Managed Care Plans Seek Post-Reform Strategies.

With healthcare reform of some kind a virtual certainty, managed care plans are starting to think about life after. Will new strategies be enough to offset margin pressure in the core health plan business? Carl McDonald of Oppenheimer and Carl Mercurio of CRG comment. From the Nasdaq Market Site in New York.