PFCD Hill Briefing Demonstrates How Health Indices Promote Prevention and Improve Overall Health

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), in partnership with WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP), today hosted a Capitol Hill briefing entitled “Partnerships in Health: Applying Metrics to Target Interventions and Improve Health.” Featuring a keynote address from Representative Erik Paulsen (Minn.) and a panel discussion with health care providers and prevention/wellness professionals, the briefing explored how health indices can identify areas of opportunity within various populations and help target interventions that produce measurable health improvements.

Currently, preventable and highly manageable chronic diseases consume 75 percent of health care costs, driving not only spending for government and industry but deaths and disability as well. Finding better ways to prevent and manage illness offers the greatest potential to bend the escalating health care cost curve. Such metrics discussed during today’s event included WellPoint’s Member Health Index and Healthways’ Well-Being Index.

“There is no question that as health care costs continue to rise, we are seeing a growing need to implement health indices and other evaluation tools,” said Dr. Ken Thorpe, executive director of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. “Not only do these metrics enable us, as health care providers and experts, to track progress made, but they also demonstrate quantifiable value for the health care dollars spent. As one can imagine, in an age where every penny matters, the indices are invaluable tools to taming these escalating costs.”

In addition to remarks from the Honorable Erik Paulsen, today’s event – the third in the “Partnerships in Health” series – brought together several preeminent experts to illustrate the value of such metrics and targeted interventions. Panelists included:

  • Kenneth Thorpe, Ph.D., Executive Director, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease; Robert W. Woodruff Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy & Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
  • Sarah Sampsel, MPH, Health Index Strategies Director, WellPoint
  • Audrietta C. Izlar, PAHM, MS, MBA, Benefits Manager, Health Improvement, Verizon Corporate Benefits
  • John Harris, M.Ed., FAWHP, Vice President Innovations and Chief Wellness Officer, Healthways, Inc.

“WellPoint’s Member Health Index measures and assesses member health, providing insight into populations where there are opportunities to improve health by working with members, providers and employers through targeted interventions to access or take advantage of the most appropriate care,” said Sarah Sampsel, Health Index Strategies Director, WellPoint. “We are proud to collaborate with the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease to highlight the benefits of a program that has shown to promote prevention and improve care management.”

Added Dr. Thorpe: “We are pleased that our ongoing Partnerships in Health series has provided us with informative forums to discuss the many long-term solutions – from better medication adherence to improved care management – that can ultimately improve the health of chronic disease patients and lower overall health care costs. Our goal has been – and will continue to be – simple: to show that chronic disease needn’t be a drain on the health care system and that with the appropriate long-term measures in place, we can improve the lives of millions and soon realize a healthier America.”

For more information on PFCD, its policies and future events, please visit

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease:

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: chronic disease.

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our communities, deliver better care to members, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is the nation’s largest health benefits company in terms of medical enrollment, with more than 33 million members in its affiliated health plans, and a total of more than 69 million individuals served through all subsidiaries. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint does business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at


for Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD)
Jennifer Burke, 202-223-9260
[email protected]

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