Healthways Extends Reach of Dr. Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease With Four New Partnerships

Program Answers Growing Demand to Treat Disease Through Lifestyle Changes

Franklin, Tennessee, UNITED STATES

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 21, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ:HWAY) has secured agreements with four new partners to offer the nationally acclaimed Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease™ (Ornish Reversal Program) to patients. The Ornish Reversal Program is the first program scientifically proven to not only treat but reverse the progression of heart disease through comprehensive lifestyle changes.

Healthways will offer the Ornish Reversal Program in partnership with Texas Health Resources, Fort Worth, Texas; Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Sarasota, Florida; Mission Health, Asheville, North Carolina; and Sentara Healthcare, Norfolk, Virginia. Because the program improves patient health by addressing the underlying causes of heart disease rather than just managing symptoms, it represents the type of healthcare increasingly in demand by both consumers and clinicians.  

“If you look at the mission and vision statements of most hospitals and health systems, the word ‘health’ is all over them,” said Phil Newbold, CEO, Beacon Health System, which launched the program in August. “But if you look at where we spend our resources, about 99 percent goes to the medical side of things, and very little actually focuses on health. When we looked at the Ornish Reversal Program, we saw that it was the best way for us to really embrace health in a scientific way and better align ourselves with our mission of creating a healthier community.”

The Ornish Reversal Program is based on more than three decades of research showing that the progression of coronary artery disease and other chronic conditions can be treated and reversed through lifestyle changes, including exercise, stress management, nutrition and community support. The program and Dr. Ornish’s research have been featured widely in national media, including cover stories in Newsweek, TIME, U.S. News & World Report and The New York Times. His research has been published in the leading peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals.

“I'm thrilled and honored to be working with these new sites that will be offering our lifestyle medicine program for reversing heart disease and other chronic conditions,” said Dr. Ornish. “My colleagues and I at Healthways are grateful for the opportunity to work with them to create a new paradigm of healthcare that empowers patients with knowledge and support to transform their lives.”

The Ornish Reversal Program complements existing cardiac service lines, increasing options for patients and physicians. It has also been proven effective in the management of Type 2 diabetes, early-stage prostate cancer and other chronic diseases.

“It’s very exciting and at the same time transformative to see that the time has come for an approach to care that not only manages disease, but addresses the underlying causes,” said Donato Tramuto, CEO of Healthways. “The addition of these hospitals reinforces the growing demand for more options to help patients make long-term lifestyle changes that improve their health and overall quality of life.” 

In 2011, based on Dr. Ornish’s research, Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Medicare reimbursement for individuals enrolled in the Ornish Reversal Program under a new category, “Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation.” The program is currently reimbursed nationwide by Medicare and by commercial payers in 17 states, including Aetna, Blue Shield of California, Hawai‘i Medical Services Association (HMSA), Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware and Anthem under its subsidiaries, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross, Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia. In addition to covering the program for heart disease, some commercial payers have expanded their coverage to include diabetes and other risk factors.

About Dean Ornish, M.D.

Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ornish received his M.D. from the Baylor College of Medicine, was a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He earned a B.A. in humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address.

Dr. Ornish was appointed by President Barack Obama to the White House Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health in 2010 and, previously, by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy in 2000. He chaired the Google Health Advisory Council 2007-2009.

He has received numerous national and professional awards including being honored by LIFE magazine as “one of the fifty most influential members of his generation,” being recognized as “one of the most interesting people of 1996” by People; and having been described in Forbes magazine as “one of the seven most powerful teachers in the world.”

The Ornish diet, a critical component of the Ornish Program, was rated #1 for heart health by U.S. News & World Report in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

About Healthways

Healthways is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 68 million people on four continents. Learn more at



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