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ARTICLE UnitedHealth Group Offers New Online Tools, Resources to Help Consumers Take Control of Their Heart Health

MINNETONKA, Minn. (Feb, 3, 2011) – Heart disease is America's No. 1 killer, claiming one life every 39 seconds, according to the American Heart Association.

February is American Heart Month, and UnitedHealth Group is rallying Americans to get informed about heart disease. The company is reaching out to women in particular; research shows that, while the risks of heart disease are better known for men, women are in greater jeopardy and are more likely to ignore their own health needs.

UnitedHealth Group is launching a new, web-based preventive-care tool and two online seminars about heart health, including a Woman's Day webinar on women and heart disease. In addition, the company is conducting a new research study to improve women's health outcomes.

"Heart disease is a critical public health issue for Americans and our health care system. Prevention and early intervention are essential to avoiding more serious health conditions and protecting your health at all stages of life," said Dr. Rhonda Medows, chief medical officer and executive vice president for UnitedHealth Group's government health programs. "UnitedHealth Group is committed to helping people improve their heart health and reduce other serious conditions that are linked with heart disease, like type 2 diabetes."

According to a new study commissioned by the American Heart Association, 40 percent of U.S. adults, or 116 million people, are estimated to have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease by 2030. The costs of heart disease in the United States are expected to triple between now and 2030 to more than $800 billion a year.

Research Launch, New Preventive Tool to Mark American Heart Month

UnitedHealthcare will co-host a series of webinars on UnitedHealthcare's Source4Women website, including a Woman's Day webinar on Feb. 25 to help further educate women about heart disease risks and preventive health. The webinars will be rebroadcast later on Source4Women and WomansDay.com.

In addition, to commemorate American Heart Month, UnitedHealthcare is a leading sponsor of Woman's Day magazine's Eighth Annual Red Dress Awards. The awards raise awareness of heart health by honoring people who are making strides in the fight against heart disease. This year's awards will take place Feb. 8 in New York City.

UnitedHealthcare also is launching a study to determine which interventions are most effective for empowering women over 65 to take control of their heart health and get the care they need. This study is part of a series of clinical studies to gain a deeper understanding of why women over 65 have fewer positive outcomes than men when it comes to tackling heart disease and how UnitedHealthcare can help remove barriers for women to get the care they need.

Lastly, UnitedHealthcare is launching a Preventive Care web-based tool that provides age- and gender-specific preventive-care recommendations that enable people to better manage their health. Users can set e-mail reminders for any of their recommended preventive screenings or immunizations and, working with their doctors, use this knowledge to make informed medical decisions. They can view, print and e-mail specific preventive-health guidelines and access useful tips, tools, resources and materials to support their overall health. The tool is completely mobile-enabled for use on Blackberry, iPhone and iPhone devices, among others.

Programs Aimed at Improving Heart Health, Disease Prevention

UnitedHealth Group offers a range of programs across its businesses to promote heart health and overall wellness for people at every stage of life. The company also recognizes the close link between heart disease and diabetes and has targeted programs to prevent both diseases. These include:

CAD Programs

UnitedHealthcare is improving care for women with coronary artery disease (CAD) through programs that help women manage their conditions and prevent heart attacks. These multifaceted programs take a 'big picture' look at women's well-being and include: consultation with a registered nurse; treatment planning, decision support and health maintenance; personalized education; symptom and medication management; depression screening; and lifestyle coaching, to build healthy habits.

Heart Failure Program

UnitedHealth Group's OptumHealth business offers a program designed to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and improve health for people with heart failure. Based on American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology clinical guidelines for heart failure, the program enables doctors to remotely monitor heart failure in patients by tracking weight and related symptoms, and provides physicians with critical, up-to-the-minute information about the patient's heart health status.

Congenital Heart Disease Resource Services (CHDRS) and Centers of Excellence

OptumHealth offers members a specialized CHDRS program to help connect them with the right care by providing access to a specialized network of the nation's leading congenital heart disease facilities, or Centers of Excellence. It also offers a clinical management program that supports patients through initial detection, diagnosis, procedure and post-operative periods, as well as personal attention from a clinical manager who can provide benefit and coverage information, information related to the patient's specific condition, and general resources to improve the patient experience and health outcomes.

Disease Therapy Management

Prescription Solutions, UnitedHealth Group's pharmacy benefit management organization, provides a number of disease therapy management programs to help people with various cardiovascular diseases maintain their health and stay on their medications so that the disease does not progress. These conditions include: acute coronary syndrome, angina, chronic heart failure, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), hypertension (high blood pressure), peripheral artery disease and post-myocardial infarction (post-heart attack).

Diabetes Prevention & Control Alliance

UnitedHealth Group's Diabetes Prevention & Control Alliance (DPCA), in partnership with the Y and Walgreens, addresses the growing diabetes epidemic, which is often linked to heart disease. The DPCA includes two innovative programs:

  • The Diabetes Prevention Program, in partnership with the CDC and the Y, is designed to help people at risk for type 2 diabetes prevent the disease through healthy eating, increased activity and other lifestyle changes.
  • The Diabetes Control Program, in partnership with Walgreens, provides education and support from trained pharmacists and nurse practitioners to help people with diabetes better control their condition and reduce the risk of developing diabetic complications, such as nerve, kidney and eye disease.

Diabetes Health Plan

UnitedHealthcare offers a first-of-its-kind Diabetes Health Plan (PDF) designed specifically to help the rapidly growing numbers of people with diabetes and prediabetes manage their conditions more effectively, while controlling the escalating costs to companies to insure them. It does so by giving participants specific, personalized diabetes self-management steps, wellness coaching, training and information, and offering financial rewards for success, such as waived co-pays and other fees and free diabetic supplies and prescription drugs.

"The good news is that heart disease, like diabetes, is largely preventable or manageable with the right care. It is important for consumers, especially women, to understand the risk factors and symptoms of heart disease, follow preventive measures and get appropriate care from a health care professional," said Dr. Deneen Vojta, M.D., senior vice president of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform &anp; Modernization, and co-creator of UnitedHealth Group's Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance.

About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better. With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through six operating businesses: UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, UnitedHealthcare Community & State, OptumHealth, Ingenix and Prescription Solutions. Through its family of businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 75 million people worldwide.