Aetna Honored by the National Business Group on Health for Innovation in Reducing Health Disparities

Fri Mar 8, 2013 10:42am EST

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-- Delaware asthma intervention program highlighted for its success --
HARTFORD, Conn.--(Business Wire)--
The National Business Group on Health, a non-profit group representing large
U.S. employers, honored Aetna (NYSE: AET) today for an ongoing commitment to
reducing health care differences in the workplace and for supporting a diverse
workforce. The award for "Innovation in Reducing Health Care Disparities" was
presented in Washington, DC. The honor recognizes more than 10 years of
contributions, including one of Aetna`s newest programs that helps Hispanic and
African-American members struggling with asthma. 

"We are proud of our history in advancing racial and ethnic equality in health
care and of the success we are seeing with our new asthma program," said Wayne
Rawlins, M.D., national medical director, Racial and Ethnic Equity Initiative at
Aetna. "The program is changing people`s lives, reducing serious asthma attacks
and emergency room visits. We believe our program can be a model used throughout
the country." 

In 2011, Aetna introduced its asthma intervention program in Delaware. According
to the National Institutes of Health, Delaware has one of the nation`s highest
incidence rates of the disease, which affects Hispanics and African-Americans
more than other groups. Asthma is a respiratory condition that can be life
threatening. The disease affects more than 22 million people in the United
States. 

Aetna`s two-year-old program is available to children, teens and adults with
asthma covered by Delaware Physicians Care, Aetna`s Medicaid plan. The program
combines clinically proven medical treatment with health education and
one-on-one outreach by nurses and community health workers. The program
incorporates cultural traditions and values of racial or ethnic groups to build
understanding and new skills to manage asthma. 

Within one year, the asthma sufferers` emergency room visits dropped by 24
percent, and their hospital stays dropped by 37 percent. 

"Not only were the program participants able to manage their asthma more
successfully, but the costs to treat their condition also were significantly
reduced through avoided emergency room and hospital costs," Rawlins said. "We
believe the use of community health workers and incentives for participation
that were added to the program in 2012 will show even better results." 

Better results could represent millions of dollars avoided each year in
unnecessary health care costs if the program was made available across the
country. Most importantly, better results mean members can have a better quality
of life that includes being healthier, more productive and more active, Rawlins
said. 

For more than 11 years, Aetna`s Racial and Ethnic Equality Initiative has helped
address health issues that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority
populations. With race and ethnicity information voluntarily provided by more
than 6 million Aetna members, Aetna is able to analyze their medical claims, lab
records and pharmacy data to uncover health disparities and create programs to
improve the quality of care for everyone. 

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies,
serving approximately 37.3 million people with information and resources to help
them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a
broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance
products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral
health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities,
Medicaid health care management services and health information technology
services. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students,
part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental
units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more
information, see www.aetna.com.

Aetna
Tammy Arnold, 713-721-7891
arnoldtd@aetna.com

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