WellPoint, Inc., (NYSE: WLP) one of the nation’s largest health benefits companies, and global well-being improvement leader Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ: HWAY), today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby WellPoint’s affiliated health plan members will have access to the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease™. The collaboration applies to members of WellPoint’s affiliated health plans which span 14 states and represent nearly one in nine Americans.
The Ornish Program helps individuals with cardiac-related health issues to better assess, track and manage their condition by improving key factors such as what they eat, how they respond to stress, and their physical activity levels.
WellPoint will support Healthways’ deployment of the Ornish Program among its affiliated health plan membership across the markets it serves in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Healthways will work with WellPoint’s network of participating facilities and providers to help them become certified, approved providers of the Ornish Program. Healthways will provide the start-up infrastructure required to deploy the Ornish Program as a scalable solution for providers in the WellPoint service area.
“Over 75 percent of the nearly three trillion dollars in annual U.S. health care costs are spent on chronic diseases that can be largely prevented and improved through comprehensive lifestyle changes. These realities put programs like the Dr. Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease, front and center in the effort to transform our health care system,” said Doug Wenners, senior vice president of Provider Engagement and Contracting for WellPoint. “The Ornish Program is a highly effective way to engage individuals in proactively managing their health and, in turn, realize positive outcomes.”In July 2013, Healthways announced that it had entered into an exclusive partnership with Dr. Ornish to operate and license his Lifestyle Management Programs. The Ornish Programs have demonstrated effectiveness in the management of coronary artery disease; Type 2 diabetes; early-stage prostate cancer; chronic diseases that drive disproportionate medical costs; and health-related lost productivity nationwide. The Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease qualifies for reimbursement from many payers, including Medicare, under current fee-for-service payment. The Ornish Programs also align with efforts to create value-based reimbursement models that reward health systems and physicians for positively changing the underlying health and well-being of populations and their associated health-related costs in a sustainable manner.