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Employers Turning To Disease Management

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Disease management programs to control health care costs have won considerable acceptance among employers, a new study says.

The number of companies using condition-specific disease management programs grew to 83% in 2005, up from 73% in 2004, according to “Improving Care Coordination Through Physician/Disease Management Collaboration,” a report from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and Healthways Inc., Nashville, Tenn.

According to the study:

49% of companies profile chronic conditions prevalent in the work force, up from 42%.

30% offer incentives to encourage participation in wellness programs, up from 21%.

27% measure the health and productivity impact of disease management programs, up from 22%.

Employers are also dealing with the adverse effects of obesity, with 64% providing coverage for bariatric surgery and 56% providing weight management programs, the study found.