WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - May 30, 2007) - The National Business Group on Health announced today it has selected the University of Michigan's prestigious Health Management Research Center (UM-HMRC) as the central repository for its EMPAQ® data -- the universal set of standardized metrics that enables employers to measure the performance and effectiveness of their health and productivity programs.

Under the terms of the three-year partnership, UM-HMRC will also serve as the Business Group's research partner to collect, analyze, and summarize aggregate EMPAQ® data. Also, as a value-added member service, the Business Group will offer its 268 members free EMPAQ® participation and benchmarking.

"We are extremely pleased to provide our membership with access to such a respected academic and research organization," said Helen Darling, President of the Business Group. "This strategic partnership will help realize the true capacity and value of the Business Group's EMPAQ® standardized metrics. It will also enhance EMPAQ® participation and benchmarking within the industry by extending standardized metric data reporting permission to many different entities including; employers, suppliers, state and federal government agencies, and researchers."

UM-HMRC, under the direction and guidance of Dee Edington, PhD., has been in the business of health management evaluation since 1980. During this time, the UM-HRMC has collected health and lifestyle behavior data on over 3 million different individuals and consulted with several large organizations. It has grown to be recognized as one of the top academic research centers in the world in studying health management within organizations. UM-HRMC is comprised of a 38-person team, including ten doctoral-level researchers, possessing a vast array of experience in research, data system programming, data analytics and client services.

"We are very excited about our new partnership with the Business Group," said Dr. Edington. "We recognize how critical it is for employers and other entities to be able to collect, analyze and benchmark health care and disability data so that they can improve the overall performance of their programs. We look forward to working with the Business Group and their members."

Ron Finch, Vice-President at the Business Group reports, "Our partnership with UM-HMRC will provide Business Group members and EMPAQ® participants with focused, timely data and reports they need to effectively measure the performance of their health and productivity programs."

The annual update of EMPAQ® training and certification programs is now complete. Participation in EMPAQ® will begin June 1 and collection of 2006 EMPAQ® data will run through August 15. All EMPAQ® participants, including suppliers who submit their client's EMPAQ® data, will receive an individual set of EMPAQ® benchmarking reports. The Business Group will also produce an annual health and productivity report based on the data, which will be presented at the 2007 Joint Forum on Health Productivity and Absence Management on October 23, in Washington, D.C.

Complete information about EMPAQ®, including details on how to participate, will be available at www.empaq.org on June 1. To become a licensed EMPAQ® data provider for your clients, and/or to join an impressive group of industry leaders as a project sponsor, please contact Jim Curcio at curcio@businessgrouphealth.org.

About The University of Michigan Health Management Research Center

UM-Health Management Research Center (UM-HMRC) is a world-wide leader in studying how the worksite environment and individual health choices influence total health and productivity, quality of life, vitality and health care economics. For more information about the UM-HMRC, visit: http://www.hmrc.umich.edu/

About the National Business Group on Health

The National Business Group on Health, representing 268 mostly large employers, is the nation's only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to finding innovative and forward-thinking solutions to large employers' most important health care and related benefits issues. The Business Group identifies and shares best practices in health benefits, disability, health and productivity, related paid time off and work/life balance issues. Business Group members provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information about the Business Group, visit www.businessgrouphealth.org

Contact Information: Contact: Ed Emerman 609-452-5967 Email Contact