MHN Pioneers Telephonic Group Weight Management And Smoking Cessation Programs

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First services aimed at group care designed to improve employee use, lower health care costs.

Our New York Service Center, located within blocks of the World Trade Center, was closed due to the attacks

Managed Health Network, Inc. (MHN), a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. (NYSE: HNT), announced today the launch of what the company believes to be the first-ever telephonic group weight management and smoking cessation programs, designed to increase employee use of behavioral health services and lower health care costs. MHN offers the programs through its subsidiary, Catalina Behavioral Health Services (CBHS), a provider of high-quality mental health, chemical dependency and disability return-to-work services.

MHN’s smoking cessation and weight management programs are part of its growing suite of telephonic group services, which also include anger self-management and workplace re-entry training. The services were born from necessity when the company was directly affected by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

“Our New York Service Center, located within blocks of the World Trade Center, was closed due to the attacks,” explains Ian Shaffer, M.D., MHN’s chief medical officer. “But we couldn’t ignore the need for immediate crisis response services.” MHN and CBHS staff worked through the night to develop protocols for telephonic group delivery, later receiving two national awards for their role. “We found a way to provide services that transcends mobility, geography or other barriers to face-to-face care,” continues Shaffer. “Creatively expanding our service options allowed us to do what matters most – support our members.”

MHN later expanded its telephonic group services to help employers control skyrocketing health care costs related to smoking and obesity – by improving employee utilization and health. Nearly $277,000 is the estimated annual cost of obesity (including medical expenditures and increased absenteeism) at a firm with 1,000 employees.(1) Smokers cost employers nearly $1,600 more per year in health care costs than non-smokers.(2)

MHN’s six-week Smoking Cessation Program is based on the American Lung Association’s (ALA) successful Freedom from SmokingÓ program. ALA-certified smoking cessation facilitators run the program. MHN’s Weight Management Coaching Program was developed and is facilitated by licensed behavioral health clinicians. The two-month program helps participants get optimal results from their current diet and exercise regimen.

The programs’ telephonic aspect fosters utilization by allowing participants to dial in to meetings, toll-free, from anywhere. Its group format offers participants the opportunity to learn from their peers and share their challenges and successes in a supportive environment, while maintaining their privacy. Both programs emphasize lasting lifestyle change through behavior coaching.

Results from MHN’s telephonic group programs show this model to be a viable alternative to group face-to-face counseling or individual telephonic or face-to-face counseling. In a recent smoking cessation pilot program, 78 percent of participants were smoke-free by the final session (the ALA reports a graduation quit rate of 40 percent), and 100 percent of participants rated the program as “good,” “very good” or “excellent.” “I liked communicating with the participants but not actually seeing them,” said one participant. “I felt more relaxed and also liked that there was no travel time.”

To learn more about MHN’s telephonic group services, please call (800) 327-7526 or visit http://www.mhn.com.

About MHN

MHN is one of the largest and oldest providers of managed behavioral health care and Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) in the United States, serving 11 million members. Based in Point Richmond, Calif., MHN provides workplace solutions ranging from EAP and behavioral health to integrated disease management and psychiatric disability programs. MHN's provider network includes more than 45,000 practitioners and 1,400 hospitals and facilities throughout the United States. For more information, visit http://www.mhn.com.

MHN is a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT). Health Net, Inc. is among the nation’s largest publicly traded managed health care companies. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable. The company’s HMO, POS, insured PPO and government contracts subsidiaries provide health benefits to approximately 6.6 million individuals in 27 states and the District of Columbia through group, individual, Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE and Veterans Affairs programs. Health Net’s subsidiaries also offer managed health care products related to prescription drugs, and offer managed health care product coordination for multi-region employers and administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.

For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit the company’s Web site at http://www.healthnet.com.

Cautionary Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. All statements, other than statements of historical information provided herein, may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. These statements are based on management’s analysis, judgment, belief and expectation only as of the date hereof, and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Without limiting the foregoing, the words “believes,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “expects,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “estimate,” “intend” and other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially due to, among other things, rising health care costs, negative prior period claims reserve developments, trends in medical care ratios, issues relating to provider contracts, litigation costs, operational issues, health care reform and general business conditions. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the risks discussed in the “Risk Factors” section included within the company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC and the risks discussed in the company's other periodic filings with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly revise these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that arise after the date of this release.

Notes:

1 - Finkelstein, Eric at al. 2005. The Costs of Obesity Among Full-time Employees. American Journal of Health Promotion 20(1): 45-51.

2 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2002. Annual Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Economic Costs – United States, 1995-1999. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 51(14): 300-3.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Gina Clemente
MHN
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