NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 10, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Three new partners are joining forces with Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ:HWAY), to bring the nationally acclaimed Dr. Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease™ (Ornish Reversal Program) to their patients. The Ornish Reversal Program is the first program scientifically proven to not only treat but reverse heart disease through comprehensive lifestyle changes.
Healthways has finalized contracts with Hawaii Pacific Health, Honolulu, Hawaii; KentuckyOne Health, Louisville, Kentucky, which is implementing the program at two hospitals in Louisville and Lexington; and The Heart Health Center, a large provider group in St. Louis, Missouri.
"This intensive cardiac rehab program has consistently demonstrated the ability to help reverse the effects of heart disease through comprehensive lifestyle changes," said Dr. Joseph Craft III, M.D., F.A.C.C., Medical Director at The Heart Health Center, St. Louis, Missouri. "This holistic program engages patients in transformative exercise, dietary change, social support and stress management programs. We feel confident it will empower and enhance the quality of life of many patients."
The Ornish Reversal Program is based on more than three decades of research showing that the progression of coronary artery disease and other chronic conditions can be treated and reversed through lifestyle changes, including exercise, stress management, nutrition and community support. The program and Dr. Ornish's research have been featured widely in national media, including cover stories in Newsweek, TIME, U.S. News & World Report and The New York Times. His research has been published in the leading peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals.
"I'm thrilled and honored to be working with these new sites that will be offering our lifestyle medicine program for reversing heart disease and other chronic conditions," said Dr. Ornish. "My colleagues and I at Healthways are grateful for the opportunity to work with them to create a new paradigm of healthcare that empowers patients with knowledge and support to transform their lives."
The Ornish program aligns with industry-wide efforts to create value-based reimbursement models that reward health systems and physicians for sustained improvement in the underlying health and well-being of populations and their associated health-related costs. The program complements existing cardiac service lines, increasing options for patients and physicians. The Ornish Reversal Program has also been proven effective in the management of Type 2 diabetes, early-stage prostate cancer and other chronic diseases.
"The addition of our first large provider group demonstrates the breadth of demand for solutions that combat the root causes of the most serious diseases," said Alfred Lumsdaine, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Healthways. "The Ornish Reversal Program offers patients a powerful alternative to high-cost treatment such as surgery and offers hospitals and providers a proven solution that supports the transition to value-based care."
In 2011, based on Dr. Ornish's research, Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Medicare reimbursement for individuals enrolled in the Ornish Reversal Program under a new category, "Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation." The program is currently reimbursed nationwide by Medicare and by commercial payers in 17 states, including Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia, Hawai'i Medical Services Association (HMSA), the West Virginia Public Employee Insurance Agency (WVPEIA) and WellPoint under its subsidiaries, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross, Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia. In addition, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia, WVPEIA and HMSA have expanded their coverage to include diabetes and other risk factors for heart disease for qualified individuals.
About Dean Ornish, M.D.
Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ornish received his M.D. from the Baylor College of Medicine, was a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He earned a B.A. in humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address.
Dr. Ornish was appointed by President Barack Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health in 2010 and, previously, by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy in 2000. He chaired the Google Health Advisory Council 2007-2009.
He has received numerous national and professional awards including being honored by LIFE magazine as "one of the fifty most influential members of his generation," being recognized as "one of the most interesting people of 1996" by People; and having been described in Forbes magazine as "one of the seven most powerful teachers in the world."
The Ornish diet, a critical component of the Ornish Program, was rated #1 for heart health by U.S. News & World Report in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Healthways is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant's health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 68 million people on four continents. Learn more at www.healthways.com.
CONTACT: Chip Wochomurka (615) 614-4493 Chip.Wochomurka@healthways.com