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Aetna Launches Diabetes Pilot with Medical Clinic of North Texas to Improve Health Outcomes of Hispanic and African American Patients

-- Effort furthers Aetna’s mission to achieve racial and ethnic equality in health care --

Monday, November 22, 2010 3:32 pm EST

Dateline:

DALLAS

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
AET
"Our goal is to identify information that helps us to create and deliver effective health management programs and services to members who can benefit from them."

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aetna (NYSE: AET) today announced a pilot with the Medical Clinic of North Texas (MCNT) aimed at improving the care of diabetic patients of Hispanic and African American descent. The new program is a year-long initiative that includes adding a bilingual diabetic educator, as well as introducing culturally appropriate materials to educate and engage patients in their health care. The pilot strengthens Aetna’s ongoing efforts to reduce disparities in health care, as well as develop and deliver culturally appropriate care for its members.

The success of the pilot will be determined by the health outcomes of the patients, which will be based on 17 distinct measures. These measures include improving levels of diabetic control, such as medication compliance, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol rates, eye and foot screening rates, as well as other measures of quality health care, such as reducing avoidable inpatient and emergency room stays.

“We are pleased to work with the Medical Clinic of North Texas on this pilot,” said Wayne Rawlins, M.D., M.B.A., national medical director, racial and ethnic equality initiative at Aetna. “Our goal is to improve the health of minority patients, and MCNT is a cutting edge medical group with an expertise in diabetes management. They have already gathered racial and ethnic data, and their knowledge base will help us gauge the success of this pilot and determine if our targeted interventions can improve the lives of Hispanic and African American patients struggling with diabetes.”

“We at MCNT are excited to partner with Aetna on this pilot,” said Karen Kennedy, CEO, Medical Clinic of North Texas. “What is particularly appealing is that the pilot focuses on greater access for our diabetic Spanish speaking and African American patients. We’ll be measuring what the pilot’s components will actually do for our patients, and have developed concrete measures to quantify the program’s success.” Approximately 5,000 patients are expected to participate in this pilot.

A primary component of the pilot is the hiring of a part-time bilingual diabetic educator, who will serve as a care coordinator to assist in diabetic education and patient coaching. Additionally, patients and MCNT staff will be provided with bilingual, culturally competent educational materials that are easy to understand. These include brochures produced by the American College of Physicians Foundation as well as materials from the Joslin Diabetes Center, considered the world’s preeminent diabetes research and clinical care organization.

Rawlins said, “At Aetna, we make every effort to ensure that all of our members receive high quality health care regardless of their race or ethnicity. We are committed to addressing the persistent challenges of disparities in health care for minorities, because we know it can lead to better health outcomes for these populations. We look forward to testing an intervention to improve the quality of care with a premier medical group in the Dallas market.”

The Dallas pilot builds on the company’s legacy in combating health disparities, which dates back to Aetna’s pioneering and award-winning step in 2002 to begin the voluntary collection of race and ethnicity data from members. As of 2010, the company has more than six million currently active members who have volunteered this information.

“The collection of this data gives Aetna a better understanding of its member population, enabling us to deliver on our longstanding commitment to improve racial and ethnic equality in health care,” Rawlins said. “Our goal is to identify information that helps us to create and deliver effective health management programs and services to members who can benefit from them.”

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 35.4 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com. To learn more about Aetna's innovative online tools, visit www.aetnatools.com.

Contact:

Aetna
Anjie Coplin, 214-200-8056
CoplinA@aetna.com