Wellmark, Hy-Vee & UnityPoint Health Collaborate on New Health Insurance Plans

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Hy-Vee and UnityPoint Health jointly announced a unique new option in health insurance, collaboratively designed to reward customers for healthy behaviors. Blue RewardsSM integrates the true coordinated care of the UnityPoint Health provider network combined with the retail convenience of Hy-Vee’s pharmacy, healthy food, wellness and dietitian services all in an affordable ACA-health insurance option from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

“This collaboration is part of our strategy to keep health care local and sustainable, and promote health through convenience,” said Laura Jackson, Wellmark’s executive vice president for Health Care Innovation & Business Development. “We know consumers turn to brands they know and trust, which makes this collaboration among three strong Iowa brands even more meaningful for Iowans.” Continue reading

Kaiser Permanente joins Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation Partnerships Program

OAKLAND, Calif., and WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Together, the Veterans Health Administration and Kaiser Permanente provide care and service to nearly 18 million Americans. Today the two organizations announced they will pool resources and ideas to solve some of the largest and most complex challenges in health care.

As part of the Veterans Affairs Center of Innovation Partnership Program, the two organizations will research and share best practices in four specific areas: Continue reading

Priority Health Becomes Michigan’s only Health Plan to Earn Wellness Accreditation

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.–()–Priority Health has become the only health plan in Michigan to receive wellness accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). The accreditation from the NCQA, an organization focused on improving the quality of health care, certifies Priority Health as a leader in implementing wellness programs in the workplace. This recognition comes as Priority Health renews its commitment to improve the health and lives of the people it works with by enhancing its employer-based wellness programs. Continue reading

Independence Blue Cross Launches Center for Health Care Innovation to Foster New Ideas and Partnerships to Improve Health Care

PHILADELPHIA, PA., Feb. 3, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Independence Blue Cross today announced it has created the Independence Blue Cross (IBC) Center for Health Care Innovation, an important milestone in the company’s groundbreaking efforts to transform the Philadelphia area into a national magnet for health care innovation. At the 5,000-square foot center at 1700 Market Street in Philadelphia, the company’s associates and external partners will innovate, collaborate, and implement path-finding new concepts in health care. The center will also be the home for the company’s widening range of innovation initiatives, including its partnership with Penn Medicine and DreamIt Ventures on the region’s first health care accelerator, DreamIt Health Philadelphia, which last year brought ten promising health care startups from across the country to Philadelphia and today eight are still located in the region. Continue reading

Kaiser Permanente Lauded for Its Innovative Exercise as a Vital Sign Program

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Kaiser Permanente health plans in California were honored recently with a 2013 eValue8 Innovations Award for their groundbreaking Exercise as a Vital Sign program.

The National Business Coalition on Health , a non-profit organization of purchaser-led business and health coalitions, sponsored the award, which recognizes the innovative work of health plans to develop programs that address critical health care issues.

Developed by Kaiser Permanente to consistently capture information on a member’s exercise habits, Exercise as a Vital Sign raises the value of exercise so that it’s equal to other vital signs, such as blood pressure and heart rate. The program is intended to prompt important conversations between individuals and their providers. Continue reading

CVS Looks to Carve Out More Healthcare Delivery Space

WOONSOCKET, R.I., Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — At its annual Analyst Day in New York City today, CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) outlined its strategies to drive long-term enterprise growth.

“CVS Caremark has an in-depth understanding of the changing health care landscape, including the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and chief executive officer of CVS Caremark.  “These changes in the environment are creating opportunities for the company, and our unique combination of ability and agility positions us to capitalize on these opportunities – however they take shape.” Continue reading

SoloHealth Station Surpasses the 40-Million Mark for Consumer Engagements

Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) December 20, 2013, SoloHealth®, a consumer-driven healthcare technology company, announced today that its SoloHealth Station® consumer health and wellness kiosk has surpassed the 40-million mark for user engagements, averaging almost 130,000 users per day. The company says it’s pacing 10 million users per quarter and projecting 40M annually. Texas, Florida, California, Georgia and North Carolina are leading all states in consumer engagement and usage rates.

SoloHealth Stations are currently located in more than 3,500 retail locations across the nation with users spending approximately 4.5 minutes per session. The SoloHealth Station’s nationwide network provides consumers with free interactive health tools and services to better manage their health and wellness for better healthcare outcomes. SoloHealth also delivers advertisers, health plan providers and employers an engaging platform to reach, connect and interact with users when health care is top-of-mind. Continue reading

Horizon BCBSNJ Launches Patient-Centered Pediatric Program that Puts Focus on Improving the Health of Children and Families

Newark, NJ (PRWEB) – Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey has announced that it is launching a new, family-focused program to improve the health of children. This is Horizon BCBSNJ’s first patient-centered program dedicated to pediatric care.

Horizon BCBSNJ says its new Patient-Centered Pediatric Program will initially benefit more than 100,000 pediatric members. More than 630 pediatricians and family practice doctors at over 110 practice locations throughout New Jersey will be participating in the initiative, which launches on January 1, 2014.

According to a company release, this program was developed over the past year in close collaboration with pediatricians, family practice physicians, practice managers and leadership of the New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics.

The health plan describes the initiative as a “value-based program” that reinforces the role of pediatricians and family doctors to effectively coordinate all the health care needs of their patients so that children and their families receive the highest quality of care, in the right setting and at the right time. – See more at HorizonBlue.com

Medical Home Common Theme in ACA State Grant Programs

We have been tracking some of the health plan innovations that are being funding as part of the Affordable Care Act. (ACA). Stateline, the daily news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts, has published an article that looks into the progress states are making in their efforts to grapple with the relatively high cost and low quality of U.S. health care.

Stateline notes that out of the $1.8 trillion the ACA is projected to cost over the next decade, $10 billion is dedicated to innovation programs. Susan Dentzer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes improvements in the U.S. health care system told Stateline, “The idea is to take governors up on their claim that states are the laboratories of democracy where meaningful innovations can occur.”

So far, Stateline reports, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and Vermont have applied for funds under the under an ACA program called the State Innovation Models Initiative, and this year, they began testing new health care financing models. Another 19 states are in various stages of developing similar experiments. Continue reading

Cigna and Samsung Team Up to Deliver Digital Health Improvement Platform

Global health service company Cigna and the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile devices,Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., announced they have signed a multi-year agreement to co-develop health and wellness related features built into Samsung’s S Health on Samsung’s major smart mobile devices.

According to a CIGNA release, the initial development is focused on delivering health-related tips and articles through the Samsung S Health Application, with an ultimate goal of connecting individuals with caregivers, doctors and hospitals to improve health and wellness globally.

Cigna content is incorporated into Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in select countries, including United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain beginning in October 2013. Over the next year, additional co-developed functions and features will find their way to Samsung’s mobile devices worldwide.