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February 19, 2013
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Strategies to improve employee and population health

  Wellness Programs & Trends 
  • Insurers must offer health risk assessments to Wis. state workers
    Wisconsin's Department of Employee Trust Funds this year is requiring health plans for state employees to offer a health risk assessment and biometric screening linked to an incentive such as cash or a gift card. The state's goal is to reduce health care costs and raise employee health awareness. Though participation is voluntary, the state aims to get 30% to 50% of workers to participate this year. Wisconsin State Journal (Madison) (2/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Opposing views on tying wellness incentives to premiums
    Wellness incentives that are linked to employee health insurance premiums are a good idea and can get employees to do simple, short-term tasks such as having a health risk assessment, writes Dr. Michael O'Donnell, director of the Health Management Research Center at the University of Michigan. But Lydia Mitts, a health policy analyst at Families USA, counters that evidence does not show that charging some workers higher premiums leads to behavioral changes and that such policies can penalize people who are least able to afford insurance. The Wall Street Journal (2/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
The Greatness Gap
Achievers surveyed North American employees about their level of connection with core engagement factors, such as their company's mission, their perceptions and experience of recognition at work, and their workplace culture. The data shows us that there are a few things missing. Read the results
  • Exercise after an illness is a balancing act, experts say
    Returning to an exercise routine after an illness or surgery means figuring out how much activity could threaten recovery, says Dr. Damond Blueitt, a sports-medicine physician at Texas Health Fort Worth. On the other hand, Blueitt says too much bed rest can cause people to lose muscle and strength. Fitness trainers say they want clients to OK exercise with their physicians and will modify workouts during recovery. The Dallas Morning News (free content) (2/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Higher diabetes risk is seen in men who sit more
    Data on 63,048 Australian men showed those who reported spending more time sitting were 12% to 19% more likely to develop diabetes than those who sat less than four hours a day. The results were published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. (2/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health News & Research 
  • Diabetes patients show improvements in disease care
    Nineteen percent of diabetes patients in 2010 met or exceeded three measures of good disease care, compared with only 2% in previous decades, according to a study in Diabetes Care. Researchers found nearly 53% of patients attained an A1C of less than 7%, while 51% were able to achieve their blood pressure goals and 56% met their cholesterol goals in 2010. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (2/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • FDA sends warning letters about bogus flu treatments
    The FDA has sent nine warning letters to companies that market dietary supplements and other products as treatments for the flu. The FDA's health-fraud coordinator, Gary Coody, says consumers do not know what they are getting in these products, which could be contaminated, counterfeit or contain no active ingredients. CBS News (2/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Pregnancy, fitness apps are very popular, report finds
    A report released by Citrix ByteMobile found that 47% of mobile health application subscribers use pregnancy-related apps, while 39% use fitness apps. The report found fitness apps generate more data traffic on wireless networks than pregnancy apps. Other popular apps include those that offer calorie counters, medical information, sleep tracking and relaxation tools. (2/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Schools & Community 
  • N.D. students say wellness programs improve their grades
    About half of the students at the University of North Dakota use the school's wellness center, which offers workouts based on the ViPR philosophy of vitality, performance and reconditioning. Two UND studies found wellness improved academic success. In one, 63% of students said participating in a wellness program helped improve their grades. Grand Forks Herald (N.D.) (2/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • All students are eligible for free meals in some N.Y. schools
    In Niagara Fall, N.Y., officials expect that two more schools soon will qualify for a program in which all students at the school are eligible for free meals -- bringing the city's total to nine. Under the new option from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National School Lunch Program, at least 40% of the school's enrollment must qualify for free meals in order to qualify for universal free meals. The Buffalo News (N.Y.) (2/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Wellness Industry Developments 
Health policy matters
Register now for AHIP's 2013 National Policy Forum, March 13 and 14 in Washington, D.C. Senior administration officials, governors, key members of congress and their staff, along with recognized experts from across the health care spectrum will share their insights on policy developments and trends affecting our nation's health care system. Register today.
  AHIP News 
  • AHIP infographic and plans’ best immunization practices
    AHIP’s infographic complements its “Immunization Innovations,” an online resource featuring leading immunization programs aimed at increasing immunization rates for children, adolescents and adults. Complete with video and audio announcements and links to educational tools, Immunization Innovations highlights promising models that health plans around the country are using to improve the health of their members and communities. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Less than one month away – AHIP’s National Policy Forum
    Register now for AHIP’s 2013 National Policy Forum, March 13 and 14, Washington, D.C. We have an outstanding lineup of speakers who will address the health policy issues that will have an impact on health plans. You’ll leave armed with actionable knowledge about the key challenges facing your organization and what longer-term factors should be considered. Register now. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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SVP Accountable CareAurora HealthcareMilwaukee, WI
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Everything that lives, lives not alone, nor for itself."
--William Blake,
British poet and painter

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