Healthways and Dr. Dean Ornish Join Forces to Bring Proven Treatment for Reversing Chronic Disease to Millions
Healthways is Now the Exclusive Provider of Dr. Ornish's Physician-Led, Medicare-Reimbursed Lifestyle Management Programs
NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Global well-being improvement leader Healthways (NAS: HWAY) today announced it has entered into an exclusive partnership with Dean Ornish, M.D., to operate and license his Lifestyle Management Programs. Dr. Ornish's programs, combined with Healthways' well-being improvement platform, will enable the Company to comprehensively leverage proven lifestyle behavior change programs that serve the purpose of preventing, treating and reversing certain chronic diseases.
The Ornish programs have been proven effective against coronary artery disease, Type 2 diabetes and early-stage prostate cancer. They will both complement and extend Healthways' existing portfolio of well-being improvement solutions. Healthways will now train and certify health systems, health plans, hospitals and physician groups, allowing them to deliver programs that can manage and help reverse the progression of chronic diseases. These chronic diseases drive disproportionate medical costs and health-related lost productivity in businesses and communities throughout the country.
These unique lifestyle change programs qualify for reimbursement from many payers, including Medicare, under current fee-for-service payment. The Ornish programs also make sense in the rapidly emerging value-based reimbursement systems that reward health systems and physicians for positively changing the underlying health and well-being of populations and their associated health-related costs in a sustainable manner.
Dr. Ornish is widely known as one of America's leading biomedical scientists and is a renowned physician and the preeminent leader in evidence-based lifestyle treatments for chronic diseases. For more than three decades, he has directed a series of scientific research studies published in leading peer-reviewed journals showing, for the first time, that the progression of even severe coronary heart disease can often be treated and reversed without drugs or surgery by making comprehensive lifestyle changes.
In addition, these studies documented that the progression of other chronic diseases may also be reversible by making significant lifestyle changes. For example, he was the first researcher to direct a randomized controlled trial demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may slow, stop or even reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer. He has also directed research showing that changing lifestyle changes gene expression—turning off genes that promote chronic diseases and turning on genes that help prevent them.
In January 2011, Medicare began covering "Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease" under a new benefit category, "intensive cardiac rehabilitation." This is the first time that Medicare has covered an integrative medicine program.
In describing Dr. Ornish's pioneering work, Dr. Mehmet Oz said, "Time and again, Dr. Dean Ornish has scientifically proven that what was once thought to be medically impossible is, in fact, possible. His work is truly revolutionary."
J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., one of the leading scientists of the 21st century, the first to sequence the human genome and the creator of the first cell with a synthetic genome, said, "Dr. Dean Ornish has done more than anyone to bring modern science to the nutrition field."
In Dr. Ornish's book, The Spectrum, President Clinton wrote, "In 1993, Hillary asked Dr. Dean Ornish to consult with us on improving our health and well-being and to train the chefs who cooked for us at The White House, Camp David and Air Force One. I felt better and lost weight when I followed his recommendations. My genes may have been improving as well! If you want to see where medicine is likely to be five or ten years from now, read this book today."
"Having seen and documented what a powerful difference comprehensive lifestyle changes can make, it's inspiring to partner with Healthways to reach so many more people with information and programs for empowering and transforming lives," said Dr. Ornish. "This is about scalability and sustainability. With our shared core values and a common commitment, together we can reach a much wider group of people who can benefit from an improved quality of life. I admire and respect Healthways' integrity around its science and evidence-based approaches that prove to be focused on outcomes. There is real synergy that will allow us to do much more together than we can do separately. In working with more than 45 million people worldwide, Healthways has been able to show outcomes that not only improve health and well-being, but also achieve significant medical cost savings and improved productivity."
According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, there is a correlation between high well-being and lower incidence of heart disease and diabetes. Nationwide, the top 10 well-being cities have an average heart attack rate of 2.8%, compared to the nation's bottom 10 well-being cities, which have an average rate of 5.5%. Also, the top 10 well-being cities have an average diabetes rate of 7.1% versus 14.0% among the bottom 10 well-being cities.
"We have continued to evolve our comprehensive well-being improvement solution through a history of building, buying and partnering to integrate and deploy the very best evidence-based, scientifically proven methods available," said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., Healthways president and chief executive officer. "We have long been able to improve personal lifestyle behaviors as a measurable method to prevent the onset of, and reduce the risks associated with, chronic disease. Now, through our exclusive partnership with Dr. Dean Ornish, we will be able to deliver lifestyle behavior change as a powerful treatment method for more effectively managing and even reversing these chronic diseases. We are absolutely thrilled to work with Dr. Ornish, whose purpose to transform America's understanding of how lifestyle choice impacts health and disease aligns so closely with our purpose to create a healthier world, one person at a time."
The Ornish diet was rated #1 for heart health by U.S. News & World Report in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
About Dean Ornish, M.D.
Dean Ornish, M.D.,is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ornish received his M.D. from the Baylor College of Medicine, was a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He earned a B.A. in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address.
Dr. Ornish was appointed by President Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health in 2010 and by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy in 2000. He chaired the Google Health Advisory Council 2007-9.
He has received numerous awards, including the University of California, Berkeley, "National Public Health Hero" award; the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the University of Texas, Austin (1994); the Jan J. Kellermann Memorial Award for distinguished contribution in the field of cardiovascular disease prevention from the International Academy of Cardiology; a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association; the Beckmann Medal from the German Society for Prevention and Rehabilitation of Cardiovascular Diseases; and the Bravewell Collaborative Pioneer of Integrative Medicine award. He gave a keynote speech reviewing the science of integrative medicine at the Institute of Medicine's first Summit on Integrative Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Ornish was honored as "one of the 125 most extraordinary University of Texas alumni in the past 125 years;" chosen by LIFE magazine as "one of the fifty most influential members of his generation;" recognized as "one of the most interesting people of 1996" by People magazine; and described in Forbes magazine as "one of the seven most powerful teachers in the world."
Healthways (NAS: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant's health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 45 million people on four continents. Learn more at www.healthways.com.
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