Disease Management Update
Volume V, No. 2
May 8, 2008

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

With childhood obesity and diabetes on the rise, a focus on children's health is moving to the forefront of the healthcare industry. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7 percent of children have limitation of activity due to chronic health conditions. Nearly 4 percent of children 5 to 11 years of age missed 11 or more days of school in the past 12 months because of illness or injury, and an ever-rising 17.5 percent of children between 6 and 11 years old are overweight.

This week's Disease Management update looks at children's eating habits and what one health plan is doing to tackle the growing problem of childhood obesity.

Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Laura M. Greene
Editor, Disease Management Update

If this is a forwarded copy of Disease Management Update and you like what you see, you can register to receive your own copy of this complimentary service. Sign up at: http://www.hin.com/dmdesktop/diseasemanagement.html

Table of Contents

  1. Eating Away from Home Increases Risk of Obesity in Children
  2. Disease Management Q&A: Coordinating Effective Health Interventions
  3. HealthSounds Podcast: Healthcare for the Next Generation
  4. Anthem Blue Cross Tackles Childhood Obesity with BMI Workshops
  5. Survey of the Month: Patient Registries
  6. Medical Homes: Awareness and Early Successes


1. Eating Away from Home Increases Risk of Obesity in Children

More time spent eating away from home could put kids at higher risk for obesity, according to a San Diego State University (SDSU) study. Consuming foods at the home of relatives, neighbors or friends once a week or more is associated with a higher risk of obesity in children. Children who ate away from home often drank more sugar-sweetened beverages and ate more sweet and savory snacks, such as chips and ice cream. According to SDSU public health researcher Guadalupe X. Ayala, Latino children may be at particular risk because their culture is more family-oriented.

To learn more about this study, please visit:
http://advancement.sdsu.edu/marcomm/news/releases/spring2008/pr050508.html

2. Disease Management Q&A: Coordinating Effective Health Interventions

Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Dr. Eric Berman, Medical Director & Chairman of Health Policy, Horizon BCBS of NJ.

Question: What initiatives have been enacted by health plans to furnish reimbursement or financial incentives to providers for investing the extra time and resources needed to implement and coordinate effective health interventions in overweight children?

Answer: (Eric Berman) That is an area where most health plans are woefully inadequate. Our health plans do not reimburse pediatricians for addressing obesity as a primary diagnosis, which is a big problem.

One way to address this is to develop regional programs in weight management. Horizon has developed a Health and Wellness Education program for our HMO members that is a self-referred program for members aged 12 or older.

Members can call and have a frank discussion with a nurse who will either direct them to a registered dietician or exercise physiologist or hear out their concerns and develop a weight-loss program for them to start exercising and eating right.

In Atlantic County, New Jersey, we are developing as an outgrowth of the Bariatric program at the AtlantiCare Health System an entire wellness program that includes children and adults. There are specialized classes for children on exercise and food selection, and they can also take cooking classes. We’re also looking into rewards to our members who are able to lose weight and keep the weight off. WellPoint and possibly Blue Shield of California have embarked on similar programs where they are starting to either give people reductions in their premiums or cash bonuses. If they are able to lose 10 to 15 pounds, they receive a reduction of $200 to $500. If they keep the weight off for another six months, they get a second payment of equal amount. Many health plans are looking at this and over the course of the next few years, there will be more and more plans offering some kind of bonuses for people who are starting to adapt these more healthful behaviors.

For more details on childhood obesity, please visit:
http://store.hin.com/product.asp?itemid=3023

We want to hear from you! Submit your question for Disease Management Q&A to info@hin.com.

3. HealthSounds Podcast: Healthcare for the Next Generation

In this week's disease management podcast, Scott Schroeder, president and CEO of Cohorts, Inc., defines the segments of Generation X and Generation Y and how marketing channels and messages should be influenced by these segments.

To listen to this complimentary HIN podcast, please visit:
http://www.hin.com/podcasts/podcast.htm#34

4. Anthem Blue Cross Tackles Childhood Obesity with BMI Workshops

Anthem Blue Cross, in collaboration with the California Child Health Disability (CCHD) Program, is hosting three Body Mass Index (BMI) training and promotion workshops in Pasadena, San Jose, and Bakersfield, California, for pediatric nurses and medical assistants.

The workshops will provide training in BMI measurement, documentation and tracking, and are designed for clinical staff (registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses and medical assistants) in pediatric and family physician offices. The BMI program consists of in-person and online training, as well as a training CD.

To view more of this study's findings, please visit:
http://www.bcbs.com/news/plans/anthem-blue-cross-tackles-chil.html

5. Survey of the Month: Patient Registries

Many healthcare organizations use patient registries to create a realistic view of clinical practice, patient outcomes, safety and comparative effectiveness and to support evidence development and decision-making. Complete our online survey on patient registries by May 31, and you'll receive a free summary of the results.

To participate in this survey and receive its results, please visit: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=5OTbdp3eEaksGtQNlOyqyA_3d_3d

6. Medical Homes: Awareness and Early Successes

Early pilots of the patient-centered medical home model are making good on its promise of improved outcomes, compliance and care. Get an overview of the medical home concept as well as the highlights from 188 healthcare organization responses to HIN's 2008 non-scientific online survey on the medical home at work.

To download this complimentary white paper, please visit:
http://www.hin.com/library/registermedhome08.html
Please forward this news announcement to your colleagues who might find it useful.
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