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Healthways Joins National Minority Health Month Foundation in Marking Older Americans Month with Preliminary Findings of Health Disparities Study.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Collaboration with National Minority Health Month Foundation Highlights Effectiveness of Healthways Programs in Reducing Health Disparities among Elderly Minorities

The National Minority Health Month Foundation (NMHMF) and Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ: HWAY), in recognition of Older Americans Month, today issued preliminary findings of a study designed to determine the impact of Care Support programs in closing well-recognized health disparities, particularly among the country's minority populations. The study was carried out by the NMHMF in conjunction with Healthways' Center for Health Research. Reported findings demonstrate significant disparities in care among participants living in geographic areas with high minority populations and high disease prevalence. Despite these disparities, the study shows that Healthways' industry leading diabetes care support program significantly reduces gaps in care and drives statistically significant outcomes improvements, particularly among older participants.

The study examined the rates at which participants in Healthways' diabetes program and living in areas with health disparity adhered to recommended standards of care for laboratory testing compared to those outside of the health disparity zones. The study was conducted using the NMHMF's Zip Code Analysis Project (ZCAP), a comprehensive data platform for identifying and isolating chronic illnesses by zip code. Early results show that older members living in health disparity zones showed a greater improvement than those in non-disparate zones. Further, older minority members living in health disparity zones showed greater improvements than their non-minority counterparts also living in these areas.

"The early findings of our study make it clear that care support is an integral tool in meeting the challenge of minority health disparities," said NMHMF executive director, Gary A. Puckrein, PhD. "Healthways should be commended for taking the lead in developing innovative and scalable disease management solutions that are having a dramatic impact on outcomes among older participants in areas of health disparity."

Older participants in the study living in areas of health disparity demonstrated a 93.3% increase in diabetes clinical testing after receiving telephonic care calls as part of the care support program compared to participants who could not be reached due to inaccurate phone numbers. Further examination of these health disparity areas revealed a 56.1% increase in clinical testing for older participants living in minority zip codes who were called compared to called participants in non-minority zip codes, a finding that supports the value of disease management programs in improving the quality of care in areas of health disparity.

"The initial results of this study are strong support for the effectiveness of Healthways' care support programs at narrowing the minority health gap - especially among the elderly," said Healthways Senior Vice President of Outcomes Improvement and Chief Medical Officer Dexter Shurney, M.D., MPH. "The final results of this study will yield further information that Healthways will leverage to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our Health and Care Support(SM) programs across all populations."

About the National Minority Health Month Foundation

Founded as a nonprofit organization in 1998, the National Minority Health Month Foundation was established to strengthen national and local efforts to eliminate the disproportionate burden of premature death and preventable illness in racial and ethnic minorities and other special populations through the use of evidence-based, data-driven initiatives. The Foundation has developed a comprehensive relational data platform for identifying the prevalence of health-status and health-care disparities at the zip-code level. This centralized data warehouse allows the Foundation to house vital statistics; demographic, environmental, claims, prescription-drug, and clinical-laboratory values; health-care access points, and other data. The Foundation is thus able to measure and forecast health status in small geographic areas, evaluate the impact of specific interventions, monitor changes in health outcomes, and serve as a valuable resource for the health-disparities movement.

About Healthways

Healthways, Inc. is the leading and largest provider of specialized, comprehensive Health and Care Support(SM) programs and services, including disease management, high-risk care management and outcomes-driven wellness to health plans, employers and government in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. As of February 28, 2006, the Company provided Health and Care Support services for more than 2 million people nationwide. Healthways helps people lead healthier lives while reducing overall healthcare costs. As The Health/Care Trust Channel(SM), Healthways provides people the support they need when they need it to enable them to make better choices and achieve better health outcomes. For more information, visit www.healthways.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 22, 2006
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