Humana Communities Benefit grant recipient featured at BCCCC Film Festival

Vicki Sokolik, Founder and Executive Director of Starting Right, Now, (standing) said resiliency and motivation to succeed are two qualities she looks for when interviewing potential program participants, such as Jorge Gonzalez and La'Quita Carter. (Photo and story by Ellen Nason)

Vicki Sokolik, Founder and Executive Director of Starting Right, Now, (standing) said resiliency and motivation to succeed are two qualities she looks for when interviewing potential program participants, such as Jorge Gonzalez and La’Quita Carter. (Photo and story by Ellen Nason)

Humana’s video about Starting Right, Now, a Humana Communities Benefit grant recipient, is featured in the 2015 Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC) Film Festival. The center’s annual Film Festival showcases corporate citizenship videos and asks the public to vote for their favorite.

Voting will take place from March 2 through March 16. Votes are tallied when public voting ends and the top 10 finalists are then reviewed by a panel of judges who choose a winner. The Film Festival winner will be announced April 19 during the 2015 International Corporate Citizenship Conference in Austin, Texas. Learn more about the Film Festival, view the videos and vote.

Humana’s entry in the 2015 Film Festival is a three-minute glimpse into the program for homeless children and those whose lives it has changed. The organization has helped more than 150 formerly homeless youth in Florida’s Hillsborough County find a home and build a foundation for a successful future. Some are the first in their family to graduate from high school and most are the first to graduate from college. Vicki Sokolik, Starting Right, Now founder, hopes to increase that number by expanding the Hillsborough County facility and opening another facility in Pinellas County with the $350,000 grant from the Humana Foundation that her nonprofit recently won. If you want to learn more about the program and those it serves, read this article.

Humana and Weight Watchers team up to fight obesity epidemic

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More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, making obesity a widespread and serious health issue in our country. Obesity and its related conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, costs Americans billions of dollars annually. The toll it is taking on our overall happiness and well-being is immeasurable.

The statistics are grim, but with the support of communities and groups, such as Weight Watchers International, Inc., we can work together to make positive change and improve our health. As part of an effort to help people achieve lifelong well-being, Humana is teaming up with Weight Watchers to help our members adopt a healthier lifestyle and turn the tide of rising obesity levels.

Who is eligible and how does it work?
With levels of obesity and its health-related impacts continuing to rise in the United States, employers are facing a fast-growing threat to productivity and employee health. For that reason, more employers are taking on this challenge by offering resources to employees, such as this program offered through the Humana and Weight Watchers partnership.

  • All Humana members in qualified employer-sponsored health plans now have free and discounted access to Weight Watchers through an integrated wellness program built into their health plan. The first-of-its-kind program closely integrates Weight Watchers into Humana’s medical and wellness programs, actively connecting members who want to lose weight to the program at no cost for six months and at a significant discount thereafter.
  • Members with weight loss goals will be actively connected to Weight Watchers through Humana’s disease management programs, health coaches, personal nurses, customer service and HumanaVitality.
  • Humana participants can chose Weight Watchers OnlinePlus to follow the plan entirely online with new 24/7 Expert Chat real-time support and access to all the digital tools and apps; or they can choose Weight Watchers Meetings for face-to-face support from a Coach who has lost weight with Weight Watchers and exchange experiences with a group of like-minded peers, along with 24/7 Expert Chat and digital tools and apps.
  • Read our news release for more details about this new program.

Week of wellness: Meeting the challenge of getting fit, giving back

The Humana Challenge began with the goal of using a PGA TOUR golf tournament to inspire people to get active, give back and have fun. The event, held in California’s Coachella Valley, became known as a week of wellness with a side of golf.

This year’s event once again succeeded in getting people walking, eating better and donating to charities, both locally and nationally.

Watch the video above for a visual summary of how this event connects people who share a passion for health and inspire others to join them on a journey toward lifelong well-being. For a more in-depth look at the 2015 Humana Challenge, check out the stories below.

Challenging Conversations: End of Life

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Bruce_Broussard_MEDIres.jpg WIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His topics range from the powerful potential of technology to the issue of loneliness. His latest, Challenging Conversations: End of Life, is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

Do we know how to handle death as we do life?

Most of us don’t think about the former; we’re so wrapped up in our busy lives that it doesn’t really enter our thoughts that often. We’re focused on getting the kids to school; meeting the next deadline at work; getting the family together for dinner.

Our culture is about doing everything we can to prolong life and live as long as we can, as it should be. Nothing reflects the American spirit more than the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” From family to sports to education to the arts, we live hard.

We have a proud history of never giving up. We root for David and fight to the end, regardless of our chances. This driving nature has helped deliver a quality of life to several generations that other nations have sought to imitate.

Seeing this Firsthand

Due to advances in health and medicine, people over 65 are able to live longer than in any previous generation. They’re wearing Fitbits; taking healthy eating classes; and believe they’ll outlive their ancestors. More power to them.

I’ve seen how some of our own Medicare members who participate in Humana At Home, which now serves 600,000 people nationwide, have been able to enhance their quality of life – and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations – despite the multiple chronic conditions they live with. For example, Humana At Home members who had the highest risk for disease progression had a 15.9 percent greater survival rate than those not participating in the program.

But the story goes well beyond any number. These care managers take the time to get to know these members. They learn their stories, learn what motivates them, encourage them, help them set – and reach – goals that bring a better quality of life, a greater sense of well-being. The care managers may connect members with social workers or other community resources to help with finance, transportation or loneliness. The care plan is based on individual need and looks at mental, physical and social issues. It goes well beyond the clinical and mental facets; it’s about caring for a person like they are part of your family.

Many of these members are able to live longer with a higher quality of life, despite the chronic conditions that have inevitably shortened their lifespan. Yet, as we all know, death is a part of life. While we want to enjoy our time on earth, are we prepared for the moment when it ends? How do we want our passing to go? Do we want to trade more time for quality of life?

My Own Experience

As a former oncology company executive, and now the leader of a health and well-being company, the questions I raised are ones most people are not prepared for when it comes to cancer. While many of the Medicare Advantage members I discussed above stay with us for an average of over seven years, and have active lifestyles, sadly enough, we see many of them pass on.

Many of you reading this blog have lost a loved one (family, close friend) to cancer. Despite the advances made in chemotherapy, it’s still a treatment that can knock you to the floor and drain any energy you have left to fight. When it comes to cancer, everyone wants to save their loved one.

The most common example I’ve seen – between my time in oncology and now at Humana – is the 73-year-old female patient (Lucy) who is diagnosed with a terminal disease, such as lung cancer. Lucy decides to fight, receives the chemo treatments and has a great response. Unfortunately, her cancer recurs. With her physician she promptly starts a second round of chemo or radiation.

After four months, Lucy’s health is much weaker than before. She’s been hospitalized three times; has lost her hair; has been nauseated a lot of the time; and lost weight as a result. At this point, Lucy and her family finally begin to have a real discussion about her real wishes in terms of treatment.

The sad truth of this common example is that Lucy was nervous and had not had a real conversation with her family or her doctor about her own options. On the family side, they were equally worried because they didn’t want to upset mom so they didn’t discuss it either. Not infrequently, Lucy now questions whether she made the right choice and regrets not speaking with her family.

We all believe in self-determination and the right to pursue different types of treatments that are available and appropriate. But it’s also important to start the discussion among the patient, his or her family, their doctor and their clergy so they have a real expectation of the situation.

I’ve had friends from various age groups who have faced cancer, like many others. When everyone is clear on where things stand, it’s not just individuals like Lucy battling cancer. It’s a team.

The Conversation Must Take Place

Discussing end-of-life with loved ones is not an easy conversation. Our natural instinct is to do everything we can to help our loved ones when they get sick; death is not an option. We don’t want to see them go and will always feel it’s too soon.

Our compassion is our greatest strength, yet it’s important to remember that the patient fighting the battle may sometimes have a different view. There is sometimes a disconnect between treatment and health. The patient may choose an extra month of life due to chemo treatments over quality of life, or vice versa. His or her family may want more time. Either way, we all know it will be tough but it’s important to discuss now, no matter how difficult it will be.

When a person with a serious illness passes on, there are countless loved ones left behind who have had to pick up the pieces. They’ve gone from serving as caretakers for several months, sometimes years, and the person they have been fighting for is now gone.

We don’t want life to end and – many times – we don’t do what we can to prepare for it. While other cultures throughout the world view death as a part of life and address it long before it happens, we tend to put this off. As a society, we must come together to have an open, honest and transparent conversation about preparing for end of life. We need to help those closest to passing on think about how they want to live.

This is not an easy conversation to have at any stage in life, but taking more time to address it will help us all. The more you talk about death while you’re alive and enjoying all that life has to offer, the more you’ll be prepared to face it.

Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team wins “Game of Honor”

WWAFT – Check Presentation – 01-28-2015-edit

The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team scored another victory over retired NFL players in a game called “A Tribute to Heroes, Game of Honor” that was attended by about 10,000 people on January 28 in Phoenix.

The focus is on the heroes and not the score in this series of charity flag football games held around the country to raise awareness and support for the nation’s veterans and their families.

The game Wednesday night in Phoenix was the third consecutive WWAFT game that Humana has sponsored preceding a Super Bowl and the fifth overall. Proceeds from the game benefit the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team and various disabled veterans organizations in Arizona.

To learn more about this series of games and the veterans who participate, read our blog article, Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Game: A victory for the human spirit.

Health Matters Activation Summit: Inspiring ideas – and action – to improve well-being

Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard, far right, talks to other panelists, including President Bill Clinton, during the 2015 Health Matters Activation Summit held Jan. 26 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Rodrigo Pena/AP Images for Humana)

Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard, far right, talks to other panelists, including President Bill Clinton, during the 2015 Health Matters Activation Summit held Jan. 26 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Rodrigo Pena/AP Images for Humana)

The annual Clinton Foundation Health Matters Activation Summit each year brings together leaders in business and government, non-governmental organizations and individuals who form partnerships and inspire ideas that lead to actions to help improve the health and well-being of people around the nation.

President Bill Clinton kicked off the fourth annual summit Monday in Indian Wells, California, by moderating a panel that focused on health innovations and ended the day by leading a panel on health and the economy.

Joining Clinton at the closing session was Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard; Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear; Trevor Fetter, President and CEO of Tenet Healthcare; Michael Peterson, President and COO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation; and Dr. Meredith Rosenthal, Professor of Health Economics and Policy, Harvard University.

The panelists noted that the nation’s health and economy are inextricably linked, with Gov. Beshear pointing out that “you cannot have a quality workforce without a healthy workforce” and connecting the expansion of Medicaid in his state to the creation of thousands of jobs and the potential to inject billions of dollars into its economy.

President Bill Clinton opens the 2015 Health Matters Activation Summit on Jan. 26 in Indian Wells, California (Photo by Rodrigo Pena/AP Images for Humana)

President Bill Clinton opens the 2015 Health Matters Activation Summit on Jan. 26 in Indian Wells, California (Photo by Rodrigo Pena/AP Images for Humana)

Most panelists agreed that areas of focus that will move the country forward to achieving better physical and economic health include: public and private partnerships, integrated health systems, payment reform, data sharing and transparency, expansion of access to care and empowerment of individuals and communities to make their own positive changes.

Broussard also emphasized the need to change the focus of the conversation from treatment to health. “It’s not about the insurance. It’s not about the treatment. It’s about how do we help people stay healthy no matter where they are in their journey?”

He also noted that while the system is good at treating sudden illnesses, it is not designed to help people avoid chronic conditions, such as diabetes, that are taking an increasingly heavier toll on the economy, productivity and our quality of life.

While the decline in our nation’s health is deeply concerning, all agreed that there is still reason to be optimistic because we are already seeing some successes and positive change.

Broussard used the example of Humana’s nearly 60,000 associates who have collectively – and literally – lost tons of weight and decreased their modifiable health risks. He attributed this successful behavioral change in part to the fact that they take annual health risk assessments, know their numbers and are proactively offered health coaching and incentives to make improvements.

“When people know their numbers, they make more effective decisions,” said Broussard.

Clinton concluded the summit by thanking all those who have made commitments to help communities improve their health and well-being and encouraging all to continue forming partnerships for positive change.

“There is always something we can do to make what we are concerned about better,” he said.
(Watch the video below for highlights from Monday’s summit.)

Related links and videos:

  • Pete Moore, of Integrity Square, shared an experience he had at last year’s Health Matters Summit, the first one he had attended. During one session of that summit, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard discussed what he believed to be one of our biggest health issues – loneliness. That moment inspired the development of the Smacktive app, which connects like-minded people and eases their loneliness. To learn more about the genesis of the app, watch the video below.

Clinton Foundation Day of Action unites community as Humana Challenge concludes

More than 100 volunteers, led by Chelsea Clinton, came together Sunday for the Clinton Foundation Day of Action in Palm Springs, California. The group helped foster health and well-being by beautifying a park and planting fruit trees for a community orchard at the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Community Center.

“I’m a new mom,” said Clinton. “And I didn’t know that I could care any more about the issues that I care about – like health and wellness – until I became a mother and until I had a daughter.” Founded by Chelsea Clinton in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Clinton Foundation Day of Action program seeks to create service opportunities and mobilize thousands of volunteers to give back to their communities.

The event precedes Monday’s fourth annual Clinton Foundation Health Matters Activation Summit, where leaders in the fields of health and wellness collaborate on innovative approaches to solving the health challenges facing our nation. Both the Day of Action and Health Matters Activation Summit take place as part of the health and wellness events surrounding the Humana Challenge golf tournament.

Kids in the spotlight on Humana Challenge Championship Sunday

A champion is crowned on the final day of the Humana Challenge tournament, but kids are also in Sunday’s spotlight, with plenty of fun-filled, golf-themed activities at PGA West in La Quinta, California.

As part of Kids’ Day, two local teens got a behind-the-scenes look at the tournament as junior reporters. They covered all the action in a program designed by the First Tee of the Coachella Valley, the local chapter of a nationwide youth development program, which instills character, education, core values and life skills in young people between the ages of four and 17 through the game of golf.

Patriot Day at Humana Challenge: Honoring those who serve – and inspire

When play ended at the Humana Challenge tournament Saturday in La Quinta, California, dignitaries, including President Bill Clinton, gathered to pay tribute to the men and women of our armed services.

The festivities included a Marine honor guard, military band and the presentation of a mortgage-free home to wounded hero Peter Butler through the Homes for Wounded Heroes program, with support from Humana. (Watch video below.)

In addition, a $100,000 donation to David Feherty’s Troops First Foundation was presented in the name of Iraq War veteran Chad Pfeifer.

Pfeifer lost his leg while serving in Iraq but not his competitive spirit or his passion for life. On April 12, 2007, Pfeifer lost his left leg above the knee to an explosive device. While recovering at an Army hospital in Texas, he took up the game of golf, and he hasn’t looked back.

Now, he’s an inspiration for others, competing as an amateur in this week’s Humana Challenge. On Patriot Day at the PGA TOUR event, Pfeifer said he hopes he can set a positive example for other veterans. (Watch video above.)

“I just want them to know that they can do it,” said Pfeifer, who uses his talent on the golf course to raise awareness for wounded veterans. “Just keep living life… they can live life to the fullest.”

Humana Challenge celebrates women

Entering the tournament Friday, women received a warm welcome for Women’s Day at the Humana Challenge. Whether they came with spouses, families or friends, the consensus of those accompanying them was that women play an important role in the health and well-being of those around them.

Marsden Connolly, Humana President of Clinical Care Services, said women influence others’ attitudes on a variety of issues, especially health. Women also make up roughly two-thirds of those taking part in Humana WalkIt powered by Charity Miles – a mobile app that allows tournament-goers to track their steps and earn money for charity.

Watch the videos above and below to learn more about the day dedicated to women.

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