Clinton Foundation Health Matters Conference: Commitment to health, commitment to action

Humana Challenge (Day 5)

President Bill Clinton opened the 2014 Health Matters Conference in La Quinta, Calif., on Tuesday by discussing pledges from the Clinton Foundation’s partners that will have a positive impact on the health of millions of Americans. (Watch this video.)

The 3rd annual Clinton Foundation conference was held in conjunction with a week of wellness events that precede the Humana Challenge.

During the Health Transformation panel, which was moderated by President Clinton, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard announced Humana’s commitment to partner with the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) to improve a community’s health by 20 percent by 2020. The effort will focus on working with the community, which will be selected by Humana and CHMI at a later date, to remove barriers and make it easier for people to achieve their best health. (Watch this video.)

President Clinton also asked each of the panelists to describe some of the greatest challenges and greatest opportunities they see for improving Americans’ health and the health care system itself.

Broussard said it is important to reduce some of the barriers that may not always be identified as health issues, such as loneliness. He then recounted an experience he had while accompanying a Humana Cares nurse on a visit with an elderly Humana member in Florida.

“There was a barrier in her life that she could not connect with society because of transportation, because of the resources that she had,” he said. “Loneliness for her was a health problem. Now we don’t diagnose that as a health problem. We diagnose a heart condition, we diagnose diabetes … when I walked out of that area, I said get her transportation to a social community, and sure enough we did, and that had an impact.” (Watch this video.)

The panel also talked about other opportunities and challenges, touching on a variety of topics, including telemedicine and other technology, accountable care, coordinated care and making quality health care accessible to everyone.

President Clinton ended the panel discussion by calling on all of us to take responsibility for our health and not see ourselves as helpless, passive creatures on a conveyor belt, waiting for someone else to fix our health problems.

He applauded the wellness focus of the Humana Challenge, which draws attention to the importance of eating right and staying fit throughout your life. It also underscores the individual’s responsibility to get healthy and stay healthy.

“Don’t live life on a conveyor belt,” he said. “We all have to contribute to this idea that you can’t ask all the rest of these people to just take care of us … we need to take better care of ourselves.”