Blue Ribbon Panel on Public Employee Health Benefits

 

Subcommittee on Wellness

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 4th Meeting

of the 2005 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> July 12, 2005

 

The<MeetNo2> 4th meeting of the Subcommittee on Wellness of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Public Employee Health Benefits was held on<Day> Tuesday,<MeetMDY2> July 12, 2005, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 113 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Bob M DeWeese, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Representative Bob M DeWeese, Chair; Milton Mains, Wanda Mitchell-Smith, Nancye Vincent, and J.P. Wiles.

 

Guests:

 

LRC Staff: Alisha Miller, Terisa Roland

 

Representative DeWeese called the meeting to order. The minutes of the June 21 and June 28 meetings were approved, without objection.

 

The Subcommittee then discussed their recommendations to the Blue Ribbon Panel on Public Employee Health Benefits. Following is a summary of the recommendations that were presented by members.

 

I. WELLNESS

 

A. A wellness program, incentives, and a disease management program should

be a part of any plan which is implemented for the state employee health insurance

group. The Subcommittee on Wellness believes that if wellness programs and disease management programs are successful, then the group as a whole will become healthier, which will reduce costs.

 

B. Any wellness program that is implemented should include Health Risk Assessments with the appropriate incentives similar to those in the University of Kentucky model. The Subcommittee believes that Health Risk Assessments are a tool for helping to identify health risks of the members and to signal possible interventions for those risks.

 

C. The Executive Branch should seek legal guidance in designing and implementing a wellness program and incentives to comply with HIPAA and other applicable laws. While in general HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and ADA (Americans with Disability Act) do not prohibit wellness programs, their bearing on specific employer or health plan incentives for health and wellness is a matter of legal interpretation. Therefore, the Subcommittee believes that the state may want to seek legal guidance in designing and implementing a wellness program.

 

D. The Executive Branch should utilize Public Health Departments, Universities, and other available resources when possible in implementing a wellness program. The Subcommittee believes that utilizing the Public Health Departments and Universities is a low cost solution to educating the state health group on wellness, since most already have wellness programs in place.

 

E. The use of information collected in the health risk assessment should follow HIPAA and federal guidelines on privacy and confidentiality.

 

F. The Legislature should consider including in the budget for state employee health insurance, money to provide incentives to those who participate in health risk assessments as part of the wellness program. The Subcommittee believes that a higher level of wellness program participation can be reached if incentives are provided to employees to become healthier.

 

II. DISEASE MANAGEMENT

 

The state should look at cost drivers among the state employee group in designing a disease management program. The Subcommittee believes that by focusing on the top cost drivers in this group, such as asthma and diabetes, the state group will be able to manage costly conditions.

 

Diabetes, coronary diseases, asthma, cancer and others are among the most serious diseases that affect Kentuckians. While there is a wealth of information as to better care and treatment of these diseases, much of it is unknown to those coping with these illnesses. Ideally, disease management, it is believed, could bring together the latest medical techniques, the providers and the patients in educated understanding for better treatment.

 

III. AGING POPULATION

 

Focus should be given to outreach services on wellness and disease management for the 50-65 age group. If wellness and disease management is successful in this group, then the group as a whole will become healthier and lead to more cost effective care.

 

This issue speaks to those state and public school employees who have retired prior to the age of their eligibility for Medicare, generally those between 50 65 years of age. They are susceptible to the medical problems faced by the aging community but are still insured by the state as primary health cost provider.

 

The subcommittee approved all recommendations presented.

 

Business concluded, and the meeting adjourned at 3:00 pm.