Golf fans step up to challenge, bring new playground to Florida community

Volunteers pose in front of the playground they built on April 12 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo Courtesy of KaBOOM!)

Volunteers pose in front of the playground they built on April 12 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo Courtesy of KaBOOM!)

By taking steps to improve their own health, golf fans at last year’s THE PLAYERS Championship won the 2013 Humana Walkit Challenge and helped make it possible for the residents of Sable Palms Apartments in Jacksonville, Fla., to enjoy a new multigenerational playground.

The community lacked a safe environment in which to gather with friends and family, exercise and have fun. That problem was solved April 12 when hundreds of volunteers built a community-designed playground in one day. The gathering space includes traditional kid-friendly playground equipment, a community garden and adult elements, such as fitness stations and walking paths.

The playground is the most recent of several built as part of a partnership between Humana, the Humana Foundation and KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring all children have the opportunity to have fun and enjoy the physical activity needed to thrive.

Joining the Humana Foundation and KaBOOM! as partners in Jacksonville were Community Connections of Jacksonville, Florida State College at Jacksonville and THE PLAYERS Championship.

The Jacksonville location was chosen after fans attending last year’s THE PLAYERS Championship won the 2013 Humana Walkit Challenge, a contest that inspired those attending PGA TOUR events across the country to walk, track their steps and win a playground for a local community. The nearly 14 million steps taken by fans at THE PLAYERS Championship won the contest – and the playground – for Jacksonville.

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Humana, Charity Miles partner to make every mile count

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Humana is making every mile count with a digital update to its popular Humana Walkit program. Through a new partnership with the maker of the free smartphone app Charity Miles, Humana is inviting attendees at several PGA TOUR events to raise money for national and local charities while improving their own health.

Dee Thompson, of Houston, was eager to get started adding up her mileage – and charitable donation – at the Shell Houston Open on Thursday, April 3. “The Charity Miles and Humana partnership is marvelous, a great idea,” said Thompson, who has chosen Autism Speaks to receive the money she raises this week.

Humana unveiled its Charity Miles partnership in January at the 2014 Humana Challenge at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. Throughout the event, tournament attendees using the app walked 252 million steps to earn $50,000 for locally based Desert Classic Charities.

How it works
For each mile Charity Miles users walk, jog or pedal a bike on Thursday through Sunday of designated PGA TOUR events, Charity Miles will donate 25 cents to a national charity of the user’s choice. The list of national charities includes Stand Up To Cancer, Wounded Warrior Project, Autism Speaks, Partnership For A Healthier America, ASPCA and many more. The program has no set mileage number to match or beat – the amount earned is based entirely on how far app users walk, jog or pedal.

In addition to the dollars raised for national charities, Humana will match user-generated donations up to $20,000 to benefit a local charity in each tournament location. Humana will select the local charitable organization, with all proceeds generated from app users’ mileage going to support that cause.

In addition to the Shell Houston Open, which runs April 3-6, Humana Walkit Powered By Charity Miles will be on-site at these 2014 PGA TOUR events:

  • Zurich Classic – New Orleans, April 24-27
  • THE PLAYERS Championship – Jacksonville, Fla., May 8-11
  • HP Byron Nelson Championship – Dallas, May 15-18
  • Crowne Plaza Invitational – Fort Worth, Texas, May 22-25
  • Bridgestone Invitational – Akron, Ohio, July 31-Aug. 3
  • TOUR Championship – Atlanta, Sept. 11-14

For more information, visit or stop by the Humana Walkit tent at participating tournaments where you will find a Charity Miles download station, free biometric screenings and the HumanaVitality HealthyFood Kiosk.

Humana teams with Pharos Innovations on remote monitoring diabetes pilot

Word cloud concept illustration of diabetes conditionDuane Wregglesworth, of Buchanan, MI, has lived with Type 2 diabetes for five years, but he admits it’s only since mid-January that he’s really learned how to avoid many of the complications that come with this condition.

Wregglesworth, 82, is one of 500 Humana Medicare Advantage members living with diabetes who will participate in the remote monitoring pilot program aimed at improving self-care management and reducing hospital admissions and in-patient costs. Humana and Pharos Innovations, a leading provider of aging-services technologies, are partnering on the telehealth pilot that includes Humana members in Texas, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

“I never knew that activities like walking barefoot on the beach and soaking my feet in hot water could cause problems for people with diabetes,” said Wregglesworth. “I’ve also learned that symptoms, like a tingling sensation in the arms and legs, are related to my diabetes.”

Humana Cares/Senior Bridge, Humana’s national chronic care management division, is identifying and managing the 500 Humana Medicare Advantage members who will participate in the six-month “Activities of Daily Living” in-home pilot aimed at helping people remain independent and in their homes.

Using Pharos’ patented technology platform, called Tel-Assurance®, pilot participants will self-report health information daily, such as blood sugar, symptoms, diet and medication adherence, using whatever communication they prefer: a cellphone, telephone or Internet. Tel-Assurance nurses review the information and reach out to the members if there are any areas of concern.

“We know that people living with diabetes can do so much to improve their quality of life just by monitoring their conditions daily and by learning the activities that will have an impact, positive or negative, on their conditions,” said Gail Miller, Humana Cares/Senior Bridge Vice President of Telephonic Care Management Operations. “This user-friendly system also allows us to intervene more quickly if a member is having complications related to their diabetes.”

Humana Cares/SeniorBridge supports more than 400,000 individuals who have chronic conditions, struggle with daily activities and are frequently hospitalized, as well as their family members and caregivers.

Covering Mississippi Tour: Bringing hope for a healthier future

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Mississippi gets a failing grade on its overall health, according to a recent report card issued by the Mississippi State Medical Association and the state’s Department of Health.

The Magnolia State remains lodged near the bottom nationally in several health categories. The statistics show that the issues begin at birth and continue into adulthood: most very low birth weight babies, 2nd most teen births, worst in heart disease, 2nd worst in diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer deaths.

“I don’t think there’s any question that the state of health in Mississippi, by and large, is poor and in need of improvement,” said Dr. Randy Easterling during a recent interview at the Mississippi State Medical Association offices in Jackson. (Watch video below.)

Easterling said a key to making progress is encouraging people to get routine health care and help with chronic issues, which they cannot do without broadening access to affordable health care.

Even though the opening last year of the Health Insurance Marketplace brought new options to many of the uninsured across the nation, Mississippi, one of the states in greatest need, faced a potential crisis when it appeared no health plans would be offered in 36 of its counties, which include many high-poverty areas. That’s when Humana agreed to provide coverage to those 36 counties in addition to the four counties in which it already had a market presence.

Humana, one of the founding supporters and sponsors of the public/private coalition Cover Mississippi, didn’t simply sit back and wait for Mississippians to find the help they needed. In November 2013, it launched the Covering Mississippi Tour, a mobile exchange education and outreach campaign that uses two specially designed trucks to travel around the state, meeting people where they live and work and making it as easy as possible to get information about their health plan options under the Affordable Care Act. The trucks have traveled to churches, schools, retail outlets and community centers in more than 100 towns and cities to ensure that as many people as possible get the information and individual assistance they need.

Stacey Carter, Humana-Mississippi Market Leader, said Humana will work with local health-care leaders to address the challenges facing Mississippi.

“We can help change culture and that’s an amazing thing. We can help people live healthier lives,” she said. “It’s very emotional because many people have never been able to have health insurance before and now, they’re able to protect their children and their spouse and so, it gives people a sense of security that they may have never had before now.”

Kim Evans, who operates an airport taxi service in Jackson, knows what it is like to lose that sense of security. She had been without insurance for a year and could not find a health plan she could afford until she checked into Humana’s options.

“Everybody needs it (insurance coverage) so much,” said Evans. “I couldn’t believe it when I learned my premium would be 46 cents a month. It means everything to me.”

Evans said another great thing about her new plan is that she can go back to the same doctor she had been seeing for years – a doctor who knows her, her medical history and is someone she trusts.

“I have an appointment tomorrow with my doctor,” she said. “It’s wonderful!”

Another Jackson resident, DeAngelo Brown, 22, said he had not had health insurance since he entered college, which caused anxiety because he was well aware of how important affordable care is for everyone, young and old. He had spent a lot of time looking for an affordable plan and had participated in discussions about health plans and health costs in his classes at Jackson (Mississippi) State, where he is a health-care administration major. He had seen a Humana information booth at the Jackson Medical Mall and decided to check into his options. He’s glad he did.

“A lot of young people don’t go to the doctor and don’t understand the value of it,” said Brown. “But the cost of health care is steadily rising, and you need regular routine care to prevent big problems in the future. It was stressful knowing I couldn’t afford a doctor or dentist.”

“It was great and exciting news today,” said Brown, as he signed up for a medical plan that will cost him 22 cents a month and a dental plan that will cost $18 per month. “I’m going to encourage everyone I know to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Watch the video below to learn more about the Covering Mississippi Tour:

The health exchange open enrollment period ends March 31. If you have not yet enrolled or have questions, go to or

Population Health Colloquium: Humana CEO says health-care system changing – for the better

Population Health Colloquium

Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard told a recent gathering of health-care leaders at the 14th Population Health Colloquium in Philadelphia that he sees a great opportunity for them to make an impact on society’s largest issue – health-care costs and the health and well-being of the U.S. population.

“You pick up a lot of newspapers today and there is so much negativity going on in health care, and I have a different perspective,” said Broussard. “We can have a great impact in the future of health care.”

The system is changing – for the better, he said. It must improve because health-care costs are already burdening society, and the U.S. population is aging, its health deteriorating.

Broussard emphasized that one of the most important elements in fostering positive change is to change the focus from simply treating symptoms to improving individuals’ health.

“Health is hard because life is easy,” he said. He explained that most Americans have adopted a lifestyle in which there is less daily exercise and greater consumption of food that is quick and convenient but high in fat and calories. Instead of taking the 10,000 daily steps needed for optimal health, most people walk only about 2,500 steps in normal day-to-day activities.

One way to incentivize healthier behavior is to reward those who take that extra step or take time to prepare healthful meals, Broussard said. An example of that is the HumanaVitality program, which rewards healthy behaviors by awarding points that can be used to purchase consumer goods. Humana’s own associates have proven that this type of incentive can lead to better health, which is its own reward. The health costs of Humana associates who are actively engaged in the program are 12 percent lower than those who are unengaged.

This is one example of how Humana is working to measurably improve the communities it serves by making it easier for people to achieve their best health, Broussard said. It is an essential element in making improvements in the system.

“We need to turn the system inside out and focus on the consumer, the individual,” he said.

Broussard used Humana’s chronic care programs as another example of putting the focus on improving health rather than simply treating a symptom. He said the program uses analytics to develop insights that translate into actions that not only reduce hospital admissions and overall costs, but help those with chronic conditions improve their overall health and well-being.

“We ask them questions, such as ‘are you walking, do you have a caregiver’ – to help us understand the individual and their needs,” said Broussard. That enables Humana to provide the help and support each individual may need, whether it is personalized coaching, a caregiver (virtual or face-to-face), nutrition advice, remote monitoring or bringing in community partners to ensure they have transportation, food or a wheelchair ramp at their home.

These programs and community partnerships are not only good for the individual but for society as a whole, he added.

He concluded by saying no single company or entity will find the solution. Only by working together through strong partnerships will we make permanent positive change.

The three-day Population Health Colloquium, sponsored by the Jefferson School of Population Health, was held Monday-Wednesday, March 17-19.

Humana, KaBOOM! build playground with Texas community

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Humana, KaBOOM! and San Antonio residents worked together Thursday to build a multigenerational playground that will help connect a community as it learns how much fun getting healthier can be.

The playground, one of more than 50 that Humana and KaBOOM! will help build during a three-year partnership, was constructed in just a few hours by hundreds of volunteers at Brooks Park in San Antonio.

The new neighborhood resource is intended to inspire people of all ages to gather for picnics and other social events, get healthy and create memories. The playground, designed by local residents, includes adult-focused elements such as fitness stations and walking paths as well as traditional, kid-friendly equipment and play areas.

Humana has partnered with KaBOOM! to build playgrounds across the country as part of its commitment to make it easier for the communities it serves to achieve better health and lifelong well-being.

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Humana opens Health & Well-Being Centers in San Antonio

The grand opening of the Humana Health & Well-Being Center was held Wednesday, February 26, in San Antonio. Those attending the ribbon cutting included (left to right) Lois Gargotto, Enterprise Vice President, Humana; Jody Bilney, Senior Vice President and Chief Consumer Officer, Humana; Jim Murray, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Humana; Vikki Carr, three-time Grammy Award winning performer; Bruce Broussard, President and Chief Executive Officer, Humana; and Bill Lewis, M.D., Senior Vice President, Medical Operations, Humana.

The grand opening of the Humana Health & Well-Being Center was held Wednesday, February 26, in San Antonio. Those attending the ribbon cutting included (left to right) Lois Gargotto, Enterprise Vice President, Humana; Jody Bilney, Senior Vice President and Chief Consumer Officer, Humana; Jim Murray, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Humana; Vikki Carr, three-time Grammy Award winning performer; Bruce Broussard, President and Chief Executive Officer, Humana; and Bill Lewis, M.D., Senior Vice President, Medical Operations, Humana.

The grand opening Wednesday of two Humana Health & Well-Being Centers will make it easier for San Antonio residents to achieve their best health.

The centers, conveniently located in two Walmart stores, include:

  • MyDocDirect, a telemedicine suite that provides a convenient and affordable way for more people to access health care
  • Free health education resources on topics such as nutrition and healthy cooking, allergies, diabetes, and stress management
  • Events and activities that provide opportunities for everyone in the community to learn, exercise and socialize. Some examples are an instructor-led walking club, crafts, planting 101 and home budgeting and organization classes.
  • Customer service for Humana members

Humana has used the telemedicine suites internally for its own associates, but the San Antonio health centers are the first to be opened to the public. They are in Walmart stores at 1200 SE Military Drive and 6703 Leslie Road.

The telemedicine suites are staffed by medical providers practicing at local Concentra Urgent Care locations. A nurse will be available on-site and will connect the patient with a physician via video conference. The nurse uses tools to capture and share images with the physician during the examination. In addition to potential savings of time and money, the technology allows the patient to see what the physician is seeing, opening the door to broader and better communication and improving health literacy. For example, if the physician is looking for a potential problem in a patient’s inner ear, the image he or she is seeing is projected onto the monitor that the patient is viewing, which can broaden a patient’s understanding of his or her own health issue. The services are similar to those that patients would find at urgent care centers: flu, sore throats, sinus infections, allergies, rashes, eye or ear infections and other minor illnesses. The telemedicine suites are not equipped to treat more serious illnesses or wounds.

The centers are part of Humana’s commitment to being a health partner for life. The education resources, exercise activities and social events are open to everyone in San Antonio and offer opportunities to connect and work together to create a healthier, happier community.

Humana voted top 10 finalist in film festival

Humana’s video about Humana Communities Benefit grant recipient New Heights Therapy Center has been voted a top 10 finalist in the 2013 Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship Film Festival.

This is the third year in a row that Humana has made the top 10 list in the film festival. Sixty-six companies submitted videos in this year’s contest, and more than 60,000 people voted. A panel of judges will choose the winner, which will be announced at the 2014 International Corporate Citizenship Conference, March 23-25, in Los Angeles. You can watch Humana’s video by clicking above or here. To watch all top 10 finalist videos, click here.

Humana’s entry in the 2014 film festival offers a glimpse of the courage and perseverance of some of the riders who participate in equine therapy at New Heights Therapy Center in Folsom, La. The center used a $100,000 Humana Communities Benefit grant to help build a unique, wheel-chair accessible facility that enables it to provide an opportunity for more people with disabilities to gain new freedom, set new goals and reach new heights. If you want to learn more about the therapy center, please read this article.

Healthiest event in America: Humana Challenge takes (252 million) steps toward new goal

The focus of the Humana Challenge has always been to motivate and inspire people to become healthier and to live life more fully, but it took a giant step forward in 2014 by setting a new goal of becoming the “Healthiest Event in America.”

The week of wellness activities built around the annual PGA TOUR golf tournament in the Coachella Valley, Calif., shows that it is never too late and never too early to begin the journey to a healthy, happy life. People of all ages, with diverse interests and backgrounds, join the fun, taking steps together to improve their own lives and the lives of those around them.

Humana’s new partnership with Charity Miles, a free app that tracks mileage while raising money for charity, is a perfect example of the deepening commitment to helping people achieve lifelong health and well-being. For 10 days, before and during the tournament, Humana donated 25 cents to national charities for every mile app users walked, ran or biked. More than 18,000 people from across the country used the app, logging 252 million steps and more than 126,000 miles. Those impressive efforts led to a $31,500 donation by Humana to national charities and an additional $50,000 donation to support the Desert Classic Charities of Coachella Valley.

Watch the video above to see highlights of the week’s events or read the following articles for more detail, photos and videos about specific events held during the Humana Challenge, the “Healthiest Event in America.”

Arc of Greater New Orleans: Building healthier communities, enriching lives

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Kerry Wehmeyer has spent hours in a garden at the Arc/Chalmette (La.) Community Center, working tirelessly and patiently alongside others to enrich the soil, giving plants a chance to grow and thrive. It’s a labor of love.

His efforts mirror the efforts of Arc of Greater New Orleans, the organization that gave him the opportunity to do the work he loves. Arc’s mission is to provide opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to live full, active lives – to grow and flourish as an integral part of the community.

Arc, a Humana Communities Benefit grant recipient, is in its 60th year and serves more than 900 children, adults and their families in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard parishes. But the facilities that had served St. Bernard Parish for 40 years were lost during Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005. It has taken years to bounce back, but like so many others in the Greater New Orleans area, Arc never gave up and is thriving once again in St. Bernard Parish.

Arc has survived despite what might seem to be insurmountable odds. It no longer had a home in St. Bernard Parish after Katrina, and it did not receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to help rebuild its facilities. The Archdiocese of New Orleans provided Arc a new home by generously leasing two buildings and several acres to grow the fresh produce that helps make the community – and the organization – healthier. But that only solved part of the problem. The Archdiocese’s structures had been flooded after Katrina and were in need of total restoration.

Arc will use the $100,000 Humana grant to refurbish one of those buildings and add a commercial kitchen that will allow it to help train and employ participants to work in the hospitality industry. Once the kitchen has been completed, Arc intends to rent the facility to those who want to host a large event in the community. The organization also sells some of the produce from its gardens to local restaurants and farmers’ markets. The goal, said Arc volunteer Polly Campbell, is to become self-sustaining, able to serve more people and to provide employment to more program participants.

Campbell said that while Arc does receive some funding and donations, it is not enough and some people have to be placed on waiting lists. That focus on financial independence and self-reliance fits the overall model of the organization.

“We have moved away from the ‘sheltered workshop’ model to a ‘community’ model that encourages participants to be more active, more social, healthier and employed,” said Campbell. “They become part of the community in which they live. It’s not about feeling sorry for them. It breaks a stigma. They are equal and valuable members of the community.”

Arc provides a range of services including: early intervention, respite for family members who provide care for those with disabilities, vocational training and job placement, supported living assistance, day programs, volunteering opportunities at other nonprofits and activities to enhance health, fitness and overall well-being.

“The goal is to help as many people as possible live independently,” said Nicole Blair, Director of Arc Enterprises. “They are thriving, finding their voice, building relationships, being productive and becoming part of their community.”

Blair said there is a tendency for some family members to overprotect those with disabilities and shelter them from everyday experiences that can help them grow.

“I think about one young woman who had never been allowed to work, not even around her own home,” said Blair. “She now makes $13 per hour on a federal contract and is learning to become independent. She’s becoming an adult and has been given an opportunity for a future with new friends, new power, new hope. Everyone should have an opportunity to live a full life.”

She recalled another participant who works on a farm. “She comes early and doesn’t want to stop working,” she said. “She needs the money, but an equally important reason is that she is engaged in learning and sets an example for a team of her peers. She has found a sense of purpose.”

Campbell became an Arc volunteer in 2004 knowing that her own son, who has Down syndrome, might one day become a participant. She has grown to understand how important it is to control your own fears and let your loved one gain independence.

“It’s easier to do things for him sometimes,” said Campbell. “But at some point, I realized that he needed to learn. It’s about independence with support. You stand back and give them room to grow but stay near enough to jump in when support is needed.”

The Humana grant is giving Arc a chance to rebuild and continue to serve St. Bernard Parish, but Cliff Doescher, Executive Director of Arc of Greater New Orleans, said the grant goes beyond bricks and mortar.

“It’s about continuing to build a connection to the community and promoting healthy living practices,” he said.

It’s about sowing the seeds of independence and giving everyone the chance to grow, thrive and live life fully.

If you want to learn more about Arc of Greater New Orleans and its services or access information about volunteering or donating, please go to its website,

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