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National Business Group on Health Honors Six Employers for Reducing Health Care Disparities

Aetna, Baptist Health South Florida, Vanderbilt University, Paychex, Wegmans, Xerox Recognized for Commitment to Supporting Diverse Workforce

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwired) -- 03/07/14 -- The National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of nearly 400 large U. S. employers, today honored six employers -- Aetna, Baptist Health South Florida Vanderbilt University, Paychex, Wegmans and Xerox -- for their ongoing commitment to reducing health care disparities in the workplace and for supporting a diverse workforce. The companies were recognized with "Awards for Innovation in Reducing Health Care Disparities." The awards were presented at the National Business Group on Health's 2014 Business Health Agenda conference.

In presenting the awards, Helen Darling, President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, commented: "We are delighted to recognize these organizations for their tireless efforts and innovative approaches to reducing health care disparities. Increasingly, companies understand how important it is that their health benefit programs meet the needs of a culturally, linguistically and ethnically diverse workforce. The employers that we are honoring today recognize that by addressing health care disparities, they are also improving the quality and effectiveness of the health care services their employees receive."

The key components of the award-winning programs are:

Aetna's Provider Focused Diabetes Initiative was developed to help African-American and Hispanic Aetna members in Texas with diabetes and Hemoglobin A1c levels greater than 8 percent. Aetna partnered with the Medical Clinic of North Texas, a large multi-specialty provider group in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The goal of this two-year pilot program was to reduce Hemoglobin A1c values to below 8 percent, an indication of improved diabetic control. More than 150 members were identified for the program. Each participant met with a bilingual nurse certified diabetic educator in both individual and group educational sessions. They also received culturally and linguistically appropriate health education materials in English and Spanish. As a result of the program, the participants experienced statistically significant improvements (approximately 1.6 points) in their A1c levels and continue to receive diabetic management assistance from the Medical Clinic of North Texas' patient centered medical home model.

Baptist Health South Florida
Baptist Health South Florida's My Unlimited Potential (MyUp) program targets employees with cardio-metabolic risk factors including hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. The voluntary, one-year program seeks to reduce incidence of chronic disease within an ethnically and racially diverse employee population. During the first 12 weeks (Phase1) employees participate in teaching sessions that include meetings with an exercise physiologist, nurse practitioner and a registered dietitian. Stress reduction and relaxation sessions are also held. Home visits are optional. Phase 2 is 40 weeks, and involves monthly wellness coaching sessions and meetings with the MyUp team, Weight Watchers and other wellness initiatives. Data is collected pre-program, at 12 weeks, 6 and 12 months.

The program has resulted in significant improvement in risk factors, including mean weight loss, reductions in A1c levels, serum lipid risk factors, weight, waist, body fat percent, blood pressure, and improvements in physical fitness levels.

Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt's commitment to reducing health care disparities focuses on three programs integrated under the umbrella of Faculty/Staff Health and Wellness. Its Occupational Health Clinic was created to reduce the number of sick days used and the number of visits to emergency rooms. The Health Plus program is a comprehensive health promotion program that identifies health risks and provides tools and practical ways to reduce those risks. The Work/Life Connection Employee Assistance Programs offers de-briefing groups to help employees deal with stress incidents and also provides financial support for employees who experience a temporary hardship due to a significant life event. As a result of these programs, the university has experienced a nearly 10% increase in flu shots for African-American and Asian populations, a 26% decrease in sedentariness in the African-American population and a 5% reduction in smoking for those employees.

Paychex, Wegmans, Xerox (Rochester High Blood Pressure Collaborative)
Working in collaboration with other local employers, the Finger Lakes Health System Agency and several Rochester area community groups, Paychex, Wegmans and Xerox created the Rochester Community High Blood Pressure Collaborative. Its goal is to improve the experience of health care, reduce the consequences of high blood pressure and to reduce health care costs on an employee/community wide basis. The program includes conducting blood pressure screening and educational events at various community locations such as barber shops, beauty salons, churches and community centers, as well as offering one-on-one counseling, hosting health fairs at community churches and setting up information kiosks at various locations in the community. The communication materials are reviewed by the African American and Latino Health Care Coalitions and are produced in both English and Spanish. Data are collected twice a year. As a result of this initiative, there have been improvements in blood pressure control for African American and Hispanic populations.

"Health disparities affect all employers, and failure to address them will seriously hurt the health, productivity and quality of life of their employees and dependents. It is critically important for employers to help keep their employees and dependents as healthy, engaged and productive as possible. We strongly encourage other employers to follow the lead of these organizations in addressing the issue of health care disparities," Darling concluded.

About the National Business Group on Health(SM)
The National Business Group on Health (the Business Group) is the nation's only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers' perspective on national health policy issues and providing strategic and practical solutions to its members' most important health care and health benefits challenges.

Business Group members are primarily Fortune 500 companies and large public-sector employers -- representing the nation's most innovative health care purchasers -- that provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. The Business Group fosters the development of a safe, high-quality health care delivery system and treatments based on scientific evidence of effectiveness. Business Group members share strategies for controlling health care costs, improving patient safety and quality of care, increasing productivity and supporting healthy lifestyles.

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