Humana’s efforts to improve the New Orleans area’s health 20 percent by 2020 will take another step forward with a clinical town hall set for 11:30 a.m. June 14 at the Copeland Tower in Metairie.
Health care providers, community groups, nonprofits and government officials are expected to talk about the city’s biggest health issues. New Orleans is one of the half-dozen or so cities where Humana has launched its Bold Moves program. Baton Rouge is another. All of the cities have significant health issues, such as high rates of obesity and diabetes. Chronic conditions, such as diabetes, account for roughly 70 percent of health care costs in Louisiana.
Roughly two-thirds of the Louisiana employers covered by Humana are based in New Orleans, and the company said its experience with those plan members have given the insurer a good handle on their health issues.
Dr. Laura Trunk, Humana Louisiana chief medical officer, said Thursday’s town hall meeting in Baton Rouge generated a lot of discussion about health challenges and communication among attendees.
Lots of times, a community’s health improvement efforts are fragmented, Trunk said. By bringing together health care providers, nonprofits, volunteers and community groups and officials, it’s possible to assemble a sort of road map of resources, such as who has a diabetes program or how someone else handles transportation challenges.
More importantly, people who are working on the same problems or connected issues get to meet, exchange cards and establish relationships, Trunk said.
“Sometimes you have a lot of community resources,” Trunk said. “But knowing what’s available across the board and getting that connected, and (people) talking amongst themselves is one of the things that initiates in the clinical town hall.”
Humana will use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s measurement of “healthy days” to assess the improvements in New Orleans area residents’ health. The measure allows people to rate their health through four questions. One asks how many days the person’s physical health was not good during the past 30 days.
Self-assessed health status has been proven to be a more powerful predictor of mortality and morbidity than many clinical measures, according to Humana.
After the town hall, Humana will establish a New Orleans Health Advisory Board, said company spokesman Mitch Lubitz. Members are expected to come from those attending the town hall and stakeholders.
The board will start meeting in the summer in the Greater New Orleans area to develop strategies and programs to improve the health of the community by 20 percent by 2020, he said.
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