Disease Management Update
Volume III, No. 16
August 3, 2006

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Table of Contents

  1. Vegan Diet Reverses Diabetes Symptoms, Study Finds
  2. Disease Management Q&A: Formulating a Collaborative Approach to Chronic Disease
  3. Successful Care Management: The New Healthcare Imperative
  4. New NCQA Accreditation Standards for Managed Care Plans Highlight Member Engagement, Wellness and Care Management
  5. Magellan Health Services Completes Acquisition of ICORE Healthcare

1.) Vegan Diet Reverses Diabetes Symptoms, Study Finds

People who ate a low-fat vegan diet, cutting out all meat and dairy, lowered their blood sugar more and lost more weight than people on a standard American Diabetes Association diet, according to a study conducted by researchers from several medical schools. The subjects who followed a vegan diet lowered their cholesterol more and ended up with better kidney function, according to a report published in the August 2006 issue of Diabetes Care, a journal published by the American Diabetes Association.

Participants said the vegan diet was easier to follow than most because they did not measure portions or count calories. Three of the vegan dieters dropped out of the study, compared to eight on the standard diet.

To read the study in its entirety, please visit:

2.) Disease Management Q&A: Formulating a Collaborative Approach to Chronic Disease

Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Cindy Schlough, manager of strategic connections at The Alliance, an employer healthcare alliance cooperative.

Question: To address a chronic disease such as diabetes in the workplace, if you pulled together from one community the local employers, health plans and hospitals, what are the top two issues these three groups should discuss to get them to work together around this chronic disease?

Answer: (The Alliance has) a "Diabetes in the Workplace" project. Our providers have a number of initiatives underway within their own organizations to improve diabetes care but are also working collaboratively with other organizations. We told them to make their clinical improvements, then share their results with us. That’s been very successful and has helped them approach projects together that they might not have in the past.

We've pulled together employers and healthcare providers and interested parties to create a toolkit that helps employers who want to provide diabetes education within their work force. There are individuals who have pre-diabetes or who are diabetic and do not recognize it until they show up in the emergency room with a heart attack. We want to do workplace awareness and early detection efforts and partner with our providers to teach people proper self-management and how to avoid the complications that concern our employers. It's a good way for employers to play an active role by partnering with some of their other disease management efforts that they’re pursuing.

For more disease management solutions and detailed responses to 323 of the top challenges faced by healthcare executives today, from workplace wellness to e-health initiatives, please visit:

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

3.) Successful Care Management: The New Healthcare Imperative

As healthcare costs and complexity continue to rise, care management must become more efficient. Collaboration across the entire healthcare spectrum is the key. As payers, providers and members/patients come together - enabled by automated technologies - care management will at last deliver on its promise.

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4.) New NCQA Accreditation Standards for Managed Care Plans Highlight Member Engagement, Wellness and Care Management

Health plans seeking accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) will be required to demonstrate that they provide their members with information to help them navigate the care system and have programs in place to promote wellness and manage complex conditions. The new standards, previously part of NCQA’s voluntary Quality Plus program, reflect an increased desire among consumers, employers and plans to involve patients more directly in their care.

Since NCQA first launched these standards in 2005 as part of a voluntary program, NCQA has conducted or scheduled 130 health plan surveys for these standards. Member Connections and Care Management and Health Improvement are two content areas that will be integrated into NCQA’s accreditation beginning in 2007.

To read this article in its entirety, please visit:

5.) Magellan Health Services Completes Acquisition of ICORE Healthcare

Magellan Health Services, Inc. has completed its acquisition of ICORE Healthcare LLC, a privately held specialty pharmaceutical management firm, Magellan announced recently. Specialty pharmaceuticals are high-cost drugs used to treat chronic diseases. Although used by less than one percent of the patient population, these drugs represent approximately 20 percent of total drug costs. ICORE works with health plans to manage specialty drugs used in the treatment of cancer, multiple sclerosis, hemophilia, infertility, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic forms of hepatitis and other diseases. ICORE contracts with 36 health plans with members in commercial, Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Magellan paid a base price of $210 million in cash and restricted stock for ICORE, which becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Magellan. The terms of the companies' agreement also include potential earn-out payments totaling $75 million, based on achieving certain earnings targets in 2007 and 2008.

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