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.
“WellPoint has an exceptional commitment to finding innovative ways to provide real-world solutions that improve health care quality while effectively managing costs to obtain value for its customers. As such, the company has been at the forefront of health care transformation,” said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Healthways. “This agreement represents not only WellPoint’s strong support for the Ornish program itself but also WellPoint’s dedication to bring population-health management and well-being programs to its health plans’ trusted provider networks.”About Dean Ornish, M.D. Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ornish received his M.D. from the Baylor College of Medicine, was a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He earned a B.A. in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address. Dr. Ornish was appointed by President Barack Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health in 2010 and, previously, by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy in 2000. He chaired the Google Health Advisory Council 2007-9. He has received numerous national and professional awards including being honored by LIFE magazine as ''one of the fifty most influential members of his generation'', being recognized as ''one of the most interesting people of 1996'' by People magazine; and having been described in Forbes magazine as ''one of the seven most powerful teachers in the world.'' About WellPoint, Inc. WellPoint is one of the nation’s leading health benefits companies. We believe that our health connects us all. So we focus on being a valued health partner and delivering quality products and services that give members access to the care they need. With nearly 68 million people served by our affiliated companies including nearly 36 million enrolled in our family of health plans, we can make a real difference to meet the needs of our diverse customers. We’re an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We serve members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; and as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In most of these service areas, our plans do business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas). We also serve customers in other states through our Amerigroup and CareMore subsidiaries. To find out more about us, go to wellpoint.com. About Healthways Healthways is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serve approximately 45 million people on four continents. Learn more at www.healthways.com.