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Sept. 8, 2011

Contact: Carl Graziano
Vice President, Strategic Communications
(202) 737-5781

Care Continuum Alliance Honors Research, Programs with Leadership Awards

SAN FRANCISCO - The Care Continuum Alliance today presented annual Leadership Awards to two teams of researchers and to a state Medicaid wellness program and its corporate partner for their work to advance the science and practice of population health management.

The Care Continuum Alliance, a 200-member trade association for wellness, prevention and health management stakeholders, made the awards during its annual meeting, The Forum 11, in San Francisco. The association has presented its widely recognized industry awards since 1999.

"Our awardees this year represent true leaders in programs and research to advance the quality and value of health care," said Care Continuum Alliance President and CEO Tracey Moorhead. "Improving the health of populations to reduce the risk and impact of chronic disease is essential, both for a reformed health care system and the nation’s economic future. Our award winners have contributed much toward that goal."

The Care Continuum Alliance presented three awards today:

Outstanding Journal Article - "A Randomized Trial of a Telephone Care-Management Strategy," published Sept. 23, 2010, in the New England Journal of Medicine. This study describes a stratified, randomized study of 174,120 subjects to assess the effect of a telephone-based care management strategy on medical costs and resource utilization. Health coaches contacted expected high-cost subjects with selected medical conditions to instruct them about shared decision-making, self-care and behavioral change. The average monthly medical and pharmacy costs per person in the enhanced-support group were 3.6 percent lower than those in the usual-support group, with a 10.1 percent reduction in annual hospital admissions accounting for the majority of savings. The cost of this intervention program was less than $2 per person per month.

"We are honored to be recognized by the Care Continuum Alliance for our study in the New England Journal of Medicine and are thankful to our researchers and authors who showed that, when done the right way, care management works," said James Tugendhat, CEO, Health Dialog. "We firmly believe that informing and empowering patients to be more involved in the decision-making process can reduce costs, make a positive impact on quality of care, and be an instrumental driver of a better health care system."

Outstanding Journal Article - "Engaging physicians in risk factor reduction," published in the October 2010 issue of the Care Continuum Alliance’s peer-reviewed journal, Population Health Management. This study tested the feasibility of physician-directed population management in three primary care practices with 546 continuously insured patients who exhibited claims markers for coronary artery disease, diabetes or hypertension. Physicians were asked to improve measures of blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol, hemoglobin A1c and smoking status and received a modest pay-for-outcomes incentive for each risk factor improvement achieved. For an eligible subset of these patients, physicians also were asked to actively refer to population management programs those patients who might benefit from nurse or health coach interventions. The six-month intervention produced a net of 96 distinct risk factor improvements for the intervention group compared with nine net risk factor improvements in the comparison period. Researchers concluded that physician-directed population management with aligned incentives offers promise for achieving health and wellness goals.

"This peer review and industry recognition is meaningful and rewarding," said James Springrose, MD, Senior Director, Clinical Standards, for OptumHealth. "Though my co-authors and I are the ones receiving the award, there are many others at Optum and UnitedHealth Group who played a role in the success of our population health management research that resulted in this journal article."

Outstanding Collaborative Care - Presented to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and McKesson Health Solutions Care Management. For more than six years, HHSC and McKesson have partnered to improve the health of individuals in the Texas Medicaid Wellness Program and to drive cost savings. Working together to serve this complex population, the organizations accomplished both objectives by providing a culturally sensitive, evidence-based care management program that focuses on eliminating barriers to care and serving the needs of more than 168,000 urban and rural Medicaid recipients with chronic conditions. This community-based program focuses on the whole person through telephonic and face-to-face interventions, has resulted in clinical quality improvements for asthma, COPD and coronary artery disease and produced net savings of $43 million.

"By working closely with HHSC, we’ve been able to make a real difference in the lives of Medicaid clients throughout Texas," said Judy Smythe, senior vice president/general manager, McKesson Health Solutions Care Management

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About the Care Continuum Alliance
The Care Continuum Alliance represents more than 200 organizations and individuals and aligns all stakeholders along the continuum of care toward improving the health of populations. Through advocacy, research and education, The Care Continuum Alliance advances population-based strategies to improve care quality and value and to reduce preventable costs and improve quality of life for individuals with and at risk of chronic conditions. Learn more at http://www.carecontinuum.org.

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