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Prevention is the Key to Solving Health Care Crisis;

Friday, October 17, 2008 General News J E 4
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DALLAS, Oct. 16 There is another national crisis looming,one that requires further decisive action from Washington leaders, employersand consumers, according to Christopher Fey, CEO of U.S. Preventive Medicine,Inc. (www.USPreventiveMedicine.com), the leader in disease preventionservices. This crisis revolves around health care, and he says it isinfluencing the nation's economic viability just as surely as the financialmarket crisis.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080506/NETU129LOGO )

"All the numbing statistics and heartbreaking human tragedy are rightthere in front of us to provide abundant evidence that the time to addressthis is now," said Fey. "The only way to 'bend the trend' in escalating healthcare costs is to implement primary, secondary and tertiary prevention at afundamental level, from cradle to grave, in the home and in the workplace."

Since 2001, premiums for family coverage have increased 78 percent, whileinflation has increased by 17 percent and wages have gone up only by 19percent, according to the Kaiser Survey of Employer Health Benefits.

"What we have now are fragmented wellness and disease management programsreaching a small segment of the population that don't truly engage individualsor integrate with how they live their lives," Fey said. "Those who have healthinsurance get a new carrier on average every two and half years and there arefew cohesive preventive efforts to focus on the quality and effectiveness ofcare. Instead, the focus is on treating existing illness."

Fey said employer case studies and published research demonstrate thatintegrated prevention efforts can lower health risks and related costs andimprove productivity in the workplace, citing an article on "The Value ofHealth and The Power of Prevention" in the current issue of InternationalJournal of Workplace Health Management by leading health care expert RonLoeppke, M.D. Dr. Loeppke, the co-chairman of U.S. Preventive Medicine'sNational Advisory Board, provides a scientific and business case forprevention with findings that include a multi-year, CDC-funded study with anemployer that implemented a health enhancement initiative. It resulted in asignificant reduction in health risks and illnesses:

-- Almost 80 percent of the employees who transitioned from medium to lowrisk from 2003 and 2005, maintained a low risk status in 2006;

-- 87.2 percent of low risk employees in 2003 remained low risk in 2005;

-- For those at medium risk in 2003, 30.2 percent remained there, 59.5moved to low risk and 10.3 percent moved to high risk.

-- For those at high risk, 52.8 percent remained at high risk, but 25moved to medium risk and 22.2 percent moved to low risk.

-- The most notable changes in health risks were a reduction in theproportion of employees with high cholesterol, improved diet, a cutback inheavy drinking, high blood pressure management, improved stress management,increased exercise, fewer smokers and a drop in obesity rates.

The work of Harvard's Dr. Ron Kessler shows that an employee will likelylose eight days of productivity, at a cost to the employer of $2,508 a year,so the employer savings from health enhancement strategies will besignificant.

U.S. Preventive Medicine has developed a program called The PreventionPlan(TM) to give employers and consumers a data-driven, outcomes-orientedsolution that can control expenses and enhance productivity. Using an onlineplatform, health risk appraisal, thorough lab work and physician review, ThePrevention Plan(TM) identifies the top health risks for an employee andprovides a customized, step-by-step "medical home" to help them lower thoserisks. Each person receives 24/7 RN coaching, action tutorials, reminders,personal health record storage, progress trackers and reward programs designedto change behavior to improve health. It's completely confidential, secure andremains in place, even as other benefit programs change.

"This is the world's first benefit program focused solely on helpingindividuals clinically identify and conquer health risks on a personal level,"Fey said. "We will only be able to head off a health care crisis bystrategically investing in a true culture of prevention that helps healthyindividuals maintain their good health and helps those with chronic needsreceive earlier interventions. It can be done, but we have to get startedtoday. Tomorrow will be too late."

About U.S. Preventive Medicine(R)

U.S. Preventive Medicine(R), a privately-owned global prevention servicescompany with clients nationwide and the United Kingdom, provides primary,secondary and tertiary clinical prevention services to government, employersand consumers that are data-driven and outcomes-oriented. Company productsinclude the world's first preventive health benefit, The Prevention Plan(TM),available to buy or test drive at www.USPreventiveMedicine.com andwww.ThePreventionPlan.com .

SOURCE U.S. Preventive Medicine, Inc.
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