Thursday, May 31, 2012

Health Care Prices Outpace Inflation In A Weak Economy Blogs – Health care costs rose faster than inflation despite weak economy.

U.S. health care expenditure growth slowed in 2010 to about inflation + 2%, down from inflation + 5% over the previous 20 years. That’s good news, which was widely attributed to reduced utilization of health care services by economically-pinched consumers (more).

Chart via

Data recently published by the Health Care Cost Institute (link) drills into this result, and the findings are disturbing. The 3% reduction in health care spending came almost entirely from utilization. For providers it was business-as-usual; they put up prices ~5%, as the chart shows. If utilization had grown in line with U.S. population growth of 1%/year, overall spending would have risen ~6%, 4% faster than inflation, close to the long-term trend.

What does this tell us? In a competitive market, when demand declines, prices drop as providers compete more intensely for the remaining business. U.S. health care providers were able to push up prices 3% faster than inflation despite shrinking demand. Doctors use the term “presumptive diagnosis” when they see a key symptom and immediately know what is the probable underlying disease; then they give it an obscure name. My 40 years of business experience tells me that the presumptive diagnosis here is mercatus necrosis: a dead market.

I’ve argued that market forces can do much to reform U.S. health care. Consumers are starting to do their part, by reducing utilization and buying smarter when they can. Health plan sponsors (employers and unions) are getting into the act, too, and they can do more.

I’m disappointed that health care providers have not taken a stronger role in controlling costs. When I listen to senior doctors, I hear few who have much to say about reducing health care costs, and too many who focus on making money while they can and retiring before the rules change: “apr├Ęs moi le deluge”. The leading hospitals in Boston (and probably elsewhere) likewise fight tenaciously to push their prices up, and the data above speaks to their success. The state is starting to get tough, as reported in the vest-pocket link at left.

On Marketplace this morning I heard Michael Roth, the President of Wesleyan University, discuss his institution’s commitment to limiting tuition increases to inflation + 0% and offering bachelor’s degree in three years, to help students and families bear the cost of a college education (link). Roth believes Wesleyan can trim non-core amenities to realize these savings without compromise to its core mission of preparing students for life. Wesleyan has more than 10 applicants for each place; it is not forced to do this; in fact it could raise it’s fees at inflation + 3% for a long time. President Roth and his trustees believe, however, that this is how they can best achieve their mission as top-tier university. It’s inspiring to hear a powerful institution and its leaders take this stance.

In the end, if the market fails, the government has to act. Rising health care cost is the Plutonium inside the U.S. “Debt Bomb”. U.S. health care is already effectively nationalized: the federal government pays for more than half on-budget or via tax subsidies. Regulation, fines, and even criminalization are tools that are widely used in other parts of the economy to control consumer exploitation and anti-competitive behavior, especially in financial services, where I work. These are ugly alternatives, but effective. Far better if our health care institutions could adopt the Wesleyan approach.

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China Health Labs & Diagnostics Ltd. announces financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012


TORONTO , May 31, 2012 /CNW/ - China Health Labs & Diagnostics Ltd. (" China Health" or the "Company") (TSXV:CHO; OTCQX:CHLBF), is pleased to announce the financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012 .

In the first quarter, the Company maintained its position as a leading provider of total solutions for medical diagnostics and food safety testing in China , and made progress in delivering another year of growth in 2012.  In 2011, China Health generated revenue growth of 35% to $45.6 million and profit growth of 53% to over $8 million , compared to 2010.  In 2012, the Company expects to deliver growth in revenue and profits, compared to 2011.  The Company is not providing specific guidance for 2012, but expects growth in net profits to be lower than the 53% in 2011, due to increased investment in product development and human resources to support expansion into new regions of China .

Highlights from first quarter ended March 31, 2012 include: 

Revenue grew by 17% to $7.883 million and profit decreased by 37% to $0.772 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2011 . Earnings per share decreased to $0.01 per basic and diluted share for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 compared to $0.02 for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 . Increased installed base of BK Clinlabs to 858 rural hospitals, including the installation of 41 BK Clinlabs in rural hospitals, with 40 installed in Chongqing and 1 in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Increased sales in the urban hospital and labs sector by 25% to $4.327 million , mostly from increased sales of reagent and consumables. Launched five new products in March 2012 for its total lab solutions businesses, leveraging the Company's proprietary technologies, which are expected to generate new revenue and strong gross margins.  Delivered 63 rural mobile labs, one of the new products, which integrate the Company's point of care technology ("POCT") and lab managements system to deliver diagnostics to remote rural communities.  (See press releases dated March 15, 2012 and March 27 , 2012). The Company's first quarter revenue and profit are generally the lowest as a percentage of annual revenue, while the third and fourth quarters tend to comprise the largest percentage of revenue and profits, due to the seasonality of the Company's customers' purchasing and budgeting processes.  For example in 2011, the first quarter accounted for approximately 15% of annual revenue and profit, while the fourth quarter accounted for approximately 43% of annual revenue and 48% of annual profit.  The Company expects a similar seasonality of revenue and profit in 2012.  For further information on seasonality, please see the Company's financial statements and MD&A filed on SEDAR.

Subsequent to the first quarter, the Company entered into agreements that will increase its installed base of BK Clinlabs to 965 rural hospitals (see Press Release dated May 29 , 2012.)  In addition, the Company secured new sales orders for its high margin POCT field diagnostic total lab solutions.

"In the first quarter, our sales and product development teams worked with our customers to ensure that we can meet their needs for 2012 with new and existing products and solutions.  While the first quarter is always our slowest for revenue, our team works very hard to make sure that our solutions are worked into the annual budgets of our Chinese government customers," said Wilson Yao , CEO of China Health. "Based on our progress in the first quarter, we are confident that we can achieve our operating goals and generate another year of growth in revenue and profits in 2012."

Revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 increased by 17% to $7.883 million , compared to $6.759 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 . The growth in revenue was largely due to increased sales in the rural hospital and clinics and large urban hospital and labs sectors, offset by a decrease in revenue for POCT solutions and products for defense and rescue agencies sector.  Revenue from POCT solutions and products are generally large sales orders that are not placed evenly throughout the year.  Based on discussions with customers, the Company expects revenue from POCT solutions and products to increase for the full year of 2012, compared to 2011. In 2011, revenue from large urban hospitals decreased by 6%, compared to overall growth of revenue of 35% in 2011.  In 2012, the Company expects the large urban sector to grow due to expected increased sales in recurring revenue of reagents and consumables.

Gross margin for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 increased by 6% to $4.147 million , compared to $3.894 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 due to overall increase in revenue. Gross margin as a percentage of revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 was 53% compared to 58% for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 .

The decrease in gross margin as a percentage of revenue was due to changes in sales mix.  The lower gross margin as a percentage of revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 was due to the decrease in revenue for the higher margin POCT solution and products for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 as compared to the same period in 2011.  The Company expects the gross margin for 2012 will be consistent with the gross margin for 2011 of 44%, but expects gross margin to vary on a quarterly basis due to changes in sales mix.

Administrative expenses for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 increased by 11% to $1.940 million , compared to $1.745 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 . The principal reason for the increase was higher overhead costs including new employees and expanded facilities to support a growing customer base and sales. Administrative expenses as a percentage of revenue decreased to 25% for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 , in comparison to 26% for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 .

Share-based compensation for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 was $0.081 million , compared with $0.188 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 . The share-based compensation expense is a result of stock options that vested during the period for stock options granted to employees in April 2011 and to management in September 2011 .

Research and development ("R&D") expenditures for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 decreased by 21% to $0.259 million , compared to $0.328 million for the quarter ended March 31 , 2011.  Research and development expense as a percentage of revenue were approximately 3% for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 , compared to 5% for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 . Research and development is focused on developing a full range of POCT solutions and improving the LMS system. The Company is accelerating product development to maintain its competitive advantages in the areas where it has developed unique proprietary solutions. Since the Company often collaborates with its customers to develop solutions, it is able to keep costs under control while developing products tailor made to customer needs.

Selling expenses for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 increased by 62% to $0.746 million , compared to $0.462 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 . Selling expense as a percentage of revenue was 9% for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 , compared to 7% for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 . Selling expenses are expected to increase in subsequent periods due to plans to expand the rural lab solution business to additional Chinese provinces and the food safety business to additional Chinese cities.

Government subsidy income for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 was $0.004 million , compared with $0.080 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 . From time to time, the Company will receive government subsidies for one of the PRC subsidiaries' that qualifies as a high-tech Company and is involved in developing the Company's lab management software, and also for another PRC subsidiary that is located in a certain district and is eligible for government grant based on outstanding performance.

Current income tax expense for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 was $0.371 million , compared with $0.322 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 .

The increase in income taxes is mainly due to an overall increase in taxable income being earned by the Company's PRC subsidiaries subject to the 25% tax rate, in comparison to the taxable income earned by the Company's PRC subsidiaries which are subject to preferential tax rates.

Operating profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 decreased by 16% to $1.206 million , compared to $1.439 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 . Profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 decreased by 37% to $0.772 million , compared to $1.224 million for the quarter ended March 31 , 2011.  Profit includes operating profit, interest expense, interest income and foreign exchange loss. Profit in the quarter ended March 31, 2012 represents 10% of revenue, compared to 18% of revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 .

The decrease in operating profit and profit is due to the lower sales of POCT total lab solutions in the current quarter as compared to the same quarter last year, which generates higher margins than the Company's other products. Also, as the Company grows and continues its effort to expand its total lab solution businesses to other provinces and cities, expenses are expected to increase as a percentage of revenue.

Basic and fully diluted EPS was $0.01 for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 and $0.02 for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 . The decrease in EPS is due to the decrease in profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 as compared to the same period last year.

The average number of basic ordinary shares outstanding for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 was 65,606,686 (fully diluted 65,607,087), compared to 64,780,452 (fully diluted 67,183,226) average shares outstanding for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 .

Cash and short-term investments totaled $6.358 million as at March 31, 2012 , compared with $5.661 million of cash and short-term investments as of December 31 , 2011.  The Company's working capital as of March 31, 2012 was $26.509 million , compared with a $26.538 million working capital as of December 31 , 2011.  Working capital decreased by $0.029 million due to the decrease in total current assets of $1.994 million offset by the decrease in total current liabilities of $1.965 million .

The Company is well positioned to expand its business for rural lab total solutions, POCT lab solutions and food safety lab solutions.  However, the Company may need to access additional debt or equity funding if it seeks to accelerate its growth, if it enters into an agreement for a large number of total lab solutions or if it pursues suitable acquisition opportunities. 

Outlook & Growth Strategy

The Company believes that for the fiscal year 2012 it can continue its strong growth in revenue and profits and build on the leading position it has established in China in providing total lab solutions for rural hospitals and clinics, POCT solutions for military and emergency services, and food safety lab solutions, based on the size and growth of the Chinese market for medical diagnostics and food safety, the government support for the market and the Company's proprietary products and services and customer relationships.

In 2012, China Health intends to expand its business by focusing its efforts on expanding its sales network to additional Chinese provinces and cities in the areas where it has proprietary products and limited competition. Going forward, China Health expects revenue growth from its total lab solutions business lines to continue to be stronger than growth from its traditional business with large urban hospitals, and to comprise a higher percentage of revenue.

China Health will be hosting an investor conference call on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 10:00 am (Eastern Time ).

The purpose of this conference call will be to provide investors with an update on the first quarter ended March 31, 2012 results of the Company. Representatives of China Health on the conference call will be:

Mr. Shiping (Wilson) Yao, President and Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Judyanna Chen , Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Kim Oishi , Member of the Board of Directors
Mr. Chao Zhang , Vice President, Finance

Following the update, a question and answer session will be held. To participate, the time and call-in instructions are as follows:

Participant Dial-In Number(s): North America Toll-Free Dial-In Number:  For Toronto and International Callers:   A Taped Replay will be available from 1:00 pm Eastern Time on May 31, 2012 to 11:59 pm Eastern Time on June 14, 2012 .

Taped Replay Toll Free Number: 1 (855) 859-2056

Taped Replay Local Dial-in Numbers:

Taped Replay Password: 83319568

About China Health Labs & Diagnostics Ltd.

China Health, operating in China as the Biochem Group, is a leading diagnostic lab solution provider for the public healthcare industry in China . The Company develops and sells Biochem Group branded and third-party medical diagnostic products and services to diagnostic facilities in China . Customers include large urban hospitals, rural hospitals, Chinese military and rescue operations, the Beijing government and third-party distributors.

In 2011, China Health had revenue of approximately $45.6 million , and intends to expand its business by focusing its efforts on expanding its sales network in three areas where it provides proprietary solutions, has limited competition and that are supported by Chinese government policy and budgets: BK Clinlab total lab solutions for rural hospitals and clinics, POCT solutions for military and emergency rescue services, and food safety solutions for large cities in China .

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.


This news release contains forward-looking statements and information that are based on the beliefs of management and reflect China Health's current expectations.  When used in this news release, the words "estimate", "project", "belief", "anticipate", "intend", "expect", "plan", "predict", "may" or "should" and the negative of these words or such variations thereon or comparable terminology are intended to identify forward-looking statements and information.  The forward-looking statements and information in this news release includes information relating to new products generating new revenue and increasing gross margins; an increase in the stalled base of BK Clinlabs; the achievement of operating goals and another year of growth in revenue and profit in 2012; an increase in revenue from POCT solutions and products and from recurring revenue of reagents and consumables from the large urban sector; the gross margin for 2012 to be consistent with the gross margin for 2011, but to vary on a quarterly basis; an increase in selling expenses due to plans to expand the rural lab solution business to additional Chinese provinces and the food safety business to additional Chinese cities; an increase in expenses as a percentage of revenue as the Company expands its total lab solution businesses, the need to access additional debt or equity funding if the Company seeks to accelerate its growth, if it enters into an agreement for a large number of total lab solutions or if it pursues suitable acquisition opportunities; the continuation of the Company's strong growth in revenue and profits and the building of its leading position in China in providing total lab solutions for rural hospitals and clinics, POCT solutions for military and emergency services, and food safety lab solutions; expansion of the Company's business by focusing on expanding its sales network to additional Chinese provinces and cities in the areas where it has proprietary products and limited competition; and the revenue growth from the Company's total lab solutions business lines to continue to be stronger than growth from its traditional business with large urban hospitals, and to comprise a higher percentage of revenue.  The forward-looking information is based on certain assumptions, which could change materially in the future, including the assumption that the Company's products and services, operations, market, marketing plans and strategies, competitive conditions, future developments and proprietary protections continue as projected.  Such statements and information reflect the current view of China Health with respect to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in those forward-looking statements and information.  By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements, or other future events, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the risk that the Company may not proceed or alter its growth strategy, the Company may not be able to obtain any required financing to accelerate growth on acceptable terms or at all, gross margins, revenue and profits may not continue to increase or increase less than expected, costs and expenses may increase greater than expected, and the Company may not be able to expand its business as expected through its sales network in any of the areas in which it has proprietary products, limited competition and strong government support.  These and other risks are further described under "Risk Factors" in the Company's year ended December 31, 2011 management's discuss and analysis dated April 16, 2012 , which is available on SEDAR and may be accessed at  When relying on China Health's forward-looking statements and information to make decisions, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events.  China Health has assumed a certain progression, which may not be realized.  It has also assumed that the material factors referred to above will not cause such forward-looking statements and information to differ materially from actual results or events.  However, the list of these factors is not exhaustive and is subject to change and there can be no assurance that such assumptions will reflect the actual outcome of such items or factors.


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TELUS Health to Support Newfoundland and Labrador in Expansion of the Newfoundland and Labrador Electronic Health ...

MONTREAL , May 30, 2012 /CNW/ - TELUS Health today announced it has signed an agreement with the Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Health Information (the Centre) to support the next phase in the province's deployment of an interoperable Electronic Health Record (iEHR).

The Centre's interoperable Electronic Health Record/Labs (iEHR/Labs) program is the next phase in Newfoundland & Labrador's implementation of an iEHR and will make important health information available to clinicians across the province. This new agreement continues the working relationship developed between the Centre and TELUS Health, which drew extensively on TELUS' technology capability to begin deploying the Pharmacy Network. The Pharmacy Network project delivered a core component of an EHR with the Health Information Access Layer (HIAL), in addition to a drug repository that connects the community pharmacies. The iEHR/Labs program will leverage this technology to support the additional iEHR information domains and components that will be implemented through this next phase.

"We are extremely pleased to continue our successful relationship with the Centre and work with the province of Newfoundland & Labrador on such an important initiative," says Glenn De Roy, vice president of Health Delivery Solutions for TELUS Health Solutions. "Deploying iEHR will give authorized health professionals secure, real-time access to critical health information, ensuring that Newfoundlanders receive better, more efficient care delivery."

In 2009, the Centre began deploying the Pharmacy Network, which connects pharmacies with a central, province-wide Drug Information System. Since then, more than 75 pharmacies have joined, covering more than 185,000 patients (about 34% of the province's population). The network currently contains 2.9 million medication dispense records, a figure which is increasing daily. More importantly, there have been more than 27,000 instances of shared information, meaning a pharmacist had access to additional information in delivering care to their client.

Designed and created by TELUS Health to meet Canada Health Infoway EHR Blueprint specifications, the HIAL, as a core component of the NL EHR, manages interactions between clinical systems (pharmacy management systems, hospital information system, physician EMRs, etc.), provincial repositories (drug, lab, shared health records, etc.) and provincial registries (client, provider, location and user). In addition to providing the first version of the HIAL contained within the Pharmacy Network, TELUS Health also provided the provincial Drug Information System, a medication management portal and a data warehouse. Since 2009, TELUS Health has also worked in partnership with the Centre in supporting the Pharmacy Network's production environment, through its managed services offering.

As part of the iEHR/Labs program, TELUS Health will extend HIAL services to include support for additional HL7 messages to support Lab and Shared Health Record interactions. A service will be added to manage the clinical terminologies associated with the expanded set of health information.  TELUS Health will also leverage its strategic relationship with HIPAAT to integrate HIPAAT's leading Privacy eSuite consent management service into the HIAL, which will add patient-centered privacy protection to all healthcare information. Committed to industry standards, TELUS Health will continue to align the solution to Canada Health Infoway's vision and standards.

TELUS Health will work with the Centre and other members of the project team to begin deployment of the new technology in 2013.

About TELUS Health
TELUS Health is a leader in telehealth, electronic health records, remote patient monitoring, mobile home and community care, consumer health, benefits management and pharmacy management. Our solutions give health authorities, providers, physicians, patients and consumers the power to turn information into better health outcomes. For more information about TELUS Health, please visit

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Health Highlights: May 30, 2012

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New Tests for E. Coli in Beef to Begin Monday

Beginning Monday, U.S. food safety inspectors are scheduled to begin testing for six strains of potentially deadly E. coli bacteria that will not be permitted in certain cuts of raw beef.

The implementation of long-delayed federal regulations target a group of E. coli bacteria collectively referred to as "the Big Six," reported.

These strains of E. coli will be classified on the same level of danger as the better known E. coli O157:H7, which is often implicated in serious illnesses associated with hamburger.

The new strains of E. coli to be the subject of testing include E. coli O26, O111, O103, O121, O45 and O145, reported.


Childhood Cancer DNA Research May Lead to New Treatments

The world's largest collection of genetic data on childhood cancers has been released by U.S. scientists in order to hasten the development of new treatments.

The U.S. Pediatric Cancer Genome Project team mapped the complete genome (all the DNA) of 260 young cancer patients and their work appears in the journal Nature Genetics, BBC News reported.

The data has already revealed a new treatment for a rare form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma and also provided new information about aggressive childhood cancers of the brainstem and blood.

"We have identified unusual, 'cryptic' changes in many patients' cancer cells that we would not have found using other methods," said Dr. Richard Wilson, head of the Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine, BBC News reported.

"We are pleased to be able to share this data with the research community in the hope that others can build upon our initial discoveries," Wilson added.


Disease Could Wipe Out Gray Bats in U.S.

Gray bats in the United States could be wiped out within a few years due to white-nose disease, Fish and Wildlife Service officials said Tuesday.

The first cases of the highly contagious disease were confirmed in the endangered bat species this spring, the Washington Post reported.

White-nose fungus has killed millions of bats in the northeastern U.S. and could prove especially devastating to gray bats, which live in the southeastern part of the country. Ninety percent of the gray bat population is found in nine caves in five states. The bats live in the caves year-round, which could lead to a fast spread of the disease.

"They could potentially be wiped out in just a couple of years," Ann Froschauer, the Fish and Wildlife Service's national communications leader on white-nose syndrome, told the Post. "If the disease behaves in a similar way it has in the Northeast, we really could be looking at losing this species."


Many Working-Age Veterans Lack Health Coverage: Study

A new study finds that more than 1.3 million working-age veterans in the United states don't have health insurance and are not taking advantage of health care available through Veterans Affairs.

Veterans ages 19-64 are more likely to have health insurance than people in the general population, but about 1 in 10 of the nearly 12.5 million veterans in that age group do not have any type of health coverage, reported.

Veterans under age 35 appear to have especially high rates of uninsurance, according to the study from researchers at the Urban Institute.

Their analysis of census data also showed that uninsured veterans also tended to have lower incomes and lower levels of education, and were less likely to have full-time jobs than veterans with health coverage, reported.


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Men's health: staying fit and healthy

Do you put off going to the doctor as you don't want to get examined, or haven't got the time? Shane Bilsborough goes along for a check-up, faces his fear of needles and learns why it's so important to be in touch with your own health.

For more information about men's health, visit our website:

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Mitt Romney: Out of Touch and Harmful for Women's Health

When women hear about Mitt Romney's plans for women's health -- in his own words -- they are appalled. Mitt Romney is out of touch and harmful for women's health in America. Planned Parenthood Action Fund will be making sure voters know exactly where Mitt Romney stands and will be mobilizing our more than 6 million strong network to fight for women's health come November.
Tell him you're watching, take the pledge:

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Three Healthcare Sales Executives Join Apollo Health Street

Stocks Waver After Jobs, Growth DataReuters

Stocks were flat on Thursday after a private-sector report showed the economy added fewer jobs than expected in …

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Diet Tips: Why You're Not Going To Lose Weight

Sarah counts down the top 5 diet mistakes and disasters.

Check out's Sample Meal Plans and Exercise Plans:

Find more fitness videos at or own this video for just $0.75! Is your new years resolution to lose weight? Here's why you wont. Learn what may be preventing you from reaching your goal weight this year.

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Body Transformation : Figure Competition 15 weeks out

Figure Competition Sept 8th Indianapolis
my apartment is a mess, it's fine.
Bikini from victoria's secret

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Health Dialog’s Shared Decision Making® Tools Recognized for Excellence

Thu, May 31, 2012, 9:37 AM EDT - U.S. Markets close in 6 hrs 23 mins

Sorry, I could not read the content fromt this page.

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Obama's health care aid to small firms disappoints

WASHINGTON (AP) — Many small businesses struggle to afford health insurance for their workers, but a a new tax credit meant to help them seems to be turning into a disappointment.

Although opinion polls show the credit is one of the most popular ideas in President Barack Obama's health care law, only 170,300 businesses out of a pool of as many as 4 million potentially eligible claimed it in 2010, about 4 percent.

A recent government report found the tax credit time-consuming to apply for and not rewarding enough to be financially attractive.

That's put the Obama administration in the awkward position of asking Congress to help fix the problems by allowing more businesses to qualify and making it simpler to apply. But Republicans who run the House say they want to repeal what they deride as "Obamacare," not fix its flaws.

"They completely missed the target on this thing," Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., said of the tax credit. "I don't think expanding it is going to make any difference whatsoever." Graves chairs the House Small Business Committee.

It doesn't help the administration's plea that the biggest small-business lobbying group is a lead plaintiff asking the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The National Federation of Independent Business isn't likely to spend much time tinkering with the tax credit or promoting it to members.

Small businesses represent the crumbling edge of the nation's system of employer-based health care. Only about 30 percent of companies with fewer than 10 workers offer health coverage, and they often pay more for insurance than large businesses. The credit, which once had support from lawmakers of both parties, was supposed to help businesses already providing coverage afford the premiums. Maybe it would even entice some to start.

"We agree it is not a panacea for all costs," said John Arensmeyer, founder of Small Business Majority, an advocacy group that supports the health care law and disagrees with the much larger independent business federation. The problem is all the negative publicity around the health care law has discouraged business owners from applying for the credit, he says.

"There has been more heat than light shone on this," Arensmeyer said. "There is no reason why small businesses shouldn't be taking advantage of this credit." About 770,000 workers were covered by the businesses claiming the credit in 2010.

The administration says word is finally getting out, and it expects the number of companies claiming the credit for 2011 to more than double, reaching 360,000 businesses.

A recent report by Congress' nonpartisan Government Accountability Office identified several problems with the program.

To begin with, the GAO said, the tax credit is structured so its biggest benefits go to very small companies paying low wages. About 4 out of 5 such businesses don't offer coverage, and the tax credit is not sufficient to encourage them to start doing so.

"Small employers do not likely view the credit as a big enough incentive to begin offering health insurance," the report said.

The average credit claimed in 2010 was about $2,700, although some companies qualified for much more.

Many small firms did not qualify because they paid fairly decent wages. The GAO report quoted an unidentified tax preparer who explained that "people get excited that they're eligible and then they do the calculations and it's like the bottom just falls out of it and it's not really there." It's almost a bait and switch.

Complexity has been another obstacle. IRS Form 8941, which employers must complete to claim the credit, has 25 lines and seven worksheets, the GAO said. Some tax preparers told the agency it took clients from two to eight hours to pull together supporting information and tax professionals another three to five hours to calculate the credit.

Trying to help, the IRS identified "three simple steps" employers needed to follow, but the GAO found "the three steps become 15 calculations, 11 of which are based on seven worksheets, some of which request multiple columns of information."

Arensmeyer said claiming the credit will be simpler once it becomes standard in tax-preparation software.

If the health care law withstands Supreme Court scrutiny, more employers could start claiming the credit. Even so, time is running short. After 2014, the credit is only available for two years. It may just go down as a missed opportunity, for policymakers and small-business owners alike.



The Government Accountability Office's report:

(This version CORRECTS the final paragraph to delete erroneous 2016 expiry date.)

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Cardinal Health, Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System Announce Unique Collaboration To Promote Urban Renewal

DETROIT, May 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cardinal Health, Detroit Medical Center (DMC) and Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) today announced a unique collaborative effort to spur urban renewal and bring jobs to the city of Detroit.

(Photo: )

As part of the economic recovery effort, DMC and HFHS have agreed to long-term distribution agreements with Cardinal Health, enabling the company to relocate a medical products distribution center to the midtown area from its current Romulus locations. The transfer will bring 140 jobs to the city of Detroit.

"DMC was focused on leveraging our partnership in a meaningful way to contribute to the city's revitalization. This new facility will fulfill Cardinal Health's commitment to relocate its Michigan based distribution operations within the City of Detroit, which was part of the negotiation of the DMC agreement. We are excited our 20 year partnership will continue and the relocation will be an opportunity for new construction within the midtown area," said Donald P. Groth, corporate vice president, Materials Resource Management, Detroit Medical Center.

"Henry Ford Health System is deeply committed to the revitalization of the midtown area and is pleased to be collaborating on what we envision as the first step in a major redevelopment effort," said Nancy Schlichting, HFHS CEO. "We're thrilled to be making progress and expect that this project will lead to further development not only in the areas of warehousing and office space but also in retail and residential space."

Cardinal Health has construction plans for a 273,520 square foot distribution center. The company has filed an application with the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and is awaiting a number of City Council approvals before details can be finalized. The company advises that its relocation to the site within city limits is dependent upon those approvals and a robust package of local, state and federal economic development incentives.

Pending approvals, Cardinal Health could begin construction by the end of 2012. Construction would be complete in approximately 12 months.

"We're pleased that we have entered new, long-term agreements with both Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Health System and that, as a result of our mutual long-term commitments, we're able to collaborate with these organizations in support of their commitment to the city of Detroit and its revitalization," said Steve Inacker, president, Medical Channel Management at Cardinal Health.

Cardinal Health will also serve surrounding areas in the state of Michigan as well as northern Ohio and northern Indiana from its new location.

About Cardinal Health

Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, Cardinal Health, Inc. (CAH) is a $103 billion health care services company that improves the cost-effectiveness of health care. As the business behind health care, Cardinal Health helps pharmacies, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and physician offices focus on patient care while  reducing costs, enhancing efficiency and improving quality. Cardinal Health is an essential link in the health care supply chain, providing pharmaceuticals and medical products to more than 60,000 locations each day. The company is also a leading manufacturer of medical and surgical products, including gloves, surgical apparel and fluid management products. In addition, the company supports the growing diagnostic industry by supplying medical products to clinical laboratories and operating the nation's largest network of radiopharmacies that dispense products to aid in the early diagnosis and treatment of disease. Ranked #21 on the Fortune 500, Cardinal Health employs more than 30,000 people worldwide. More information about the company may be found at and @CardinalHealth on Twitter.

About Detroit Medical Center

The Detroit Medical Center operates 10 hospitals and institutes, including Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit Receiving Hospital, Harper University Hospital, Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, Hutzel Women's Hospital, Cardiovascular Institute, Kresge Eye Institute, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, Sinai-Grace Hospital, and DMC Surgery Hospital.  

The Detroit Medical Center is a leading regional health care system with a mission of excellence in clinical care, research and medical education.

The Detroit Medical Center is proud to be the Official Healthcare Services Provider of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons.

About Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford Health System, one of the country's largest and most comprehensive integrated health care systems, is a national leader in clinical care, research and education. The system includes the 1,200-member Henry Ford Medical Group; four acute care hospitals; two residential behavioral health facilities; Health Alliance Plan, a 600,000-member health insurance and wellness company; Henry Ford Physician Network, a physician-led organization to drive clinical integration and quality and reduce costs; and 150 ambulatory, health-related and wellness sites throughout southeast Michigan. Henry Ford is a 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient.

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TCWF Honors Health Education Leaders Committed To Underserved Communities

LOS ANGELES, May 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Three dedicated leaders in health education will be honored by The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) as the 2012 Champions of Health Professions Diversity for their successful efforts to improve the health and wellness of California's most underserved communities. Lawrence "Hy" Doyle of the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, provides skills and opportunities for disadvantaged students to enter and succeed in medical school. Peter Manoleas is an educator at the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley, mental health clinician in Oakland and health policy leader with a focus on ensuring access to mental health services. Angela Minniefield recently became vice president of strategic advancement at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles and previously directed programs to increase the diversity of the health professions at the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development in Sacramento.

On June 12, 2012, TCWF will honor these three leaders at its tenth annual "Champions of Health Professions Diversity Award" ceremony in San Francisco. In recognition of their efforts to mentor and inspire students, increase access to higher education and better serve the health and well-being of California's underserved and disadvantaged communities, each honoree will each receive a cash award of $25,000.

"The honorees have dedicated their careers to helping California's underrepresented minority students join the health workforce and improving health access and outcomes in underserved communities," said Diana M. Bonta, TCWF president and chief executive officer. "The Foundation is proud to honor these leaders at our tenth consecutive awards ceremony and share this milestone with them."

As one of the only California foundations making grants in this area, TCWF has awarded more than $45 million to increase the diversity of the health workforce through a variety of approaches, including research, scholarship and loan repayment programs and leadership recognition. A number of factors have contributed to the Foundation's decade-long commitment to increasing California's health workforce and its diversity. Research from the Foundation confirms serious health worker shortages across the state, particularly in primary care and allied health professions, as well as a lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the health workforce.

"Ensuring a diverse health workforce requires commitment and perseverance of leaders at all levels of both our education and health care systems," said Cristina M. Regalado, TCWF vice president of programs.

Lawrence "Hy" Doyle, Ed.D.
For more than three decades, Lawrence "Hy" Doyle has used his expertise in developing student test-taking abilities and learning skills to improve opportunities for underrepresented minority students to succeed in higher education. He is currently the executive director of the Program in Medical Education (PRIME) at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). UCLA PRIME is a five-year dual-degree program which works to develop the leadership skills of medical students committed to improving healthcare in medically underserved communities. Doyle also provides guidance to disadvantaged students through UCLA's Summer Medical and Dental Program and the UCLA Hispanic Center of Excellence.

"Remarkably often, students whose numbers weren't that good, but have personal significant experience are the ones who truly relate to patients," Doyle said. "That's the goal of the PRIME program, to develop leaders for underserved and disadvantaged communities in California."

Peter Manoleas, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
As a social work clinician, educator, consultant and administrator with a focus on mental health and substance abuse issues, Peter Manoleas has dedicated his career to ensuring that underserved communities of color have access to mental health services. Since 1983, Manoleas has been a lecturer and field work consultant at the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. He also maintains a private clinical practice based in Oakland and has served for more than 25 years on the board of directors for La Clinica de La Raza, one of the largest community-based clinics in the state committed to providing culturally appropriate, high-quality care.

"To be involved in a diversified workforce, we must practice cultural humility," said Manoleas. "We cannot be experts on everyone, so we need to continue to learn from our patients."

Angela L. Minniefield, M.P.A.
Angela Minniefield worked for 20 years in state government advancing policies and programs that increase the number of underrepresented students in health professions. Minniefield recently became the vice president of strategic advancement at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. She previously held several leadership positions at the state Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, including deputy director of the Healthcare Workforce Development Division.

"Not only is increasing access to higher education imperative in developing and diversifying California's health workforce," said Minniefield,  "there is also a direct relationship between one's educational background and his or her own health status."

The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. The Foundation prioritizes eight issues for funding: diversity in the health professions, environmental health, healthy aging, mental health, teenage pregnancy prevention, violence prevention, women's health and work and health. It also responds to timely issues and special projects outside the funding priorities.

Since its founding in 1992, TCWF has awarded 6,544 grants totaling more than $815 million. Please visit TCWF's website at for more information, including a newsroom section devoted to the award and the three honorees. High-resolution photos are available. Video interview clips are posted at TCWF's YouTube channel.

Note to reporters & editors:
"The" in "The California Wellness Foundation" is part of the Foundation's legal name. Please do not drop or lowercase the "T."

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Episode 5: Grow Beards to Lose Weight! TWEET me your before/after photos AND leave me a VIDEO RESPONSE with your weight loss questions.

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Shay Carl, Shayloss, Shaytards, weight loss, losing weight, la marathon, Shay, Carl, Maker Studios, free video, Shay Answers, exercise advice, health advice, eating well, proper fitness, secret, secrets, lose fat, grow beards

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Heritage Health Solutions, Inc. Announces New President

Thu, May 31, 2012, 9:37 AM EDT - U.S. Markets close in 6 hrs 23 mins

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Monday, May 28, 2012

The REAL Secret to Weight Loss... (ShayAnswers Ep.4)

Episode 4: Eating Your Weight Loss Questions! Ask me anything you want about losing weight and feeling great. I'm not an expert, but I know a thing or two!



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Shay Carl, Shayloss, Shaytards, weight loss, losing weight, la marathon, Shay, Carl, Maker Studios, free video, Shay Answers, exercise advice, health advice, eating well, proper fitness secret secrets lose fat

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Health Highlights: May 24, 2012

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New Health Care Law Saves Patients Billions in Drug Costs, Medicare Says

In the first four months of this year, more than 416,000 Americans with Medicare saved an average of $724 per person on prescription drug costs after they hit the drug benefit coverage gap ("donut hole"), for a total savings of $301 million, according to data released Thursday by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Under the Affordable Care Act, more than five million seniors and people with disabilities in Medicare saved a total of $3.5 billion on prescription drugs after they hit the donut hole between March 2010 and April 2012.

In addition, more than 12 million people in traditional Medicare received at least one free preventive service at no cost to them in the first four months of this year. That included 856,000 who took advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit provided in the Affordable Care Act.

Last year, more than 26 million people in traditional Medicare received one or more preventive benefits free of charge, according to the CMS.

In 2010, people with Medicare who hit the donut hole received a one-time $250 rebate. In 2011, Medicare recipients in the donut hole began receiving a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and seven percent coverage of generic drugs. This year, coverage for generic drugs for people in the donut hole rose to 14 percent.

Coverage for both brand name and generic drugs for people in the donut hole will continue to increase until 2020, when the donut hole will no longer exist, the CMS said.


Fukushima Workers Not Killed by Radiation: U.N. Agency

Radiation did not cause the deaths of six former workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, according to the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

The workers died in the year since an earthquake and tsunami triggered nuclear meltdowns at the plant. While several workers were irradiated after contamination of their skin, the committee said "no clinically observable effects have been reported," the Associated Press reported.

In a statement, chairman Wolfgang Weiss said the agency plans to evaluate irradiation levels for about two million people who lived in Fukushima prefecture at the time of the March 11, 2011 incident.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said several areas near the nuclear plant had radiation above cancer-causing levels, the AP reported.


Huge Tobacco Tax Hike in New Zealand

There will be a 40 percent increase in tobacco taxes over the next four years, the New Zealand government announced Thursday.

Officials hope that higher taxes and tighter restrictions on smoking will help the nation achieve the goal of eliminating smoking by 2025, the Associated Press reported.

New Zealand already has among the highest cigarette prices in the world. With the new taxes, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes will be $15 by 2016.

Smoking rates among adults have fallen from about 30 percent in 1986 to about 20 percent today, and cigarette sales have fallen even more sharply, the AP reported.


Nancy Reagan Recovering From Fall

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan is still recovering from a fall in March in which she sustained a number of broken ribs, a spokeswoman said Tuesday. She was unable to attend an event Tuesday evening at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., CNN reported.

Reagan, 90, "has been recovering slowly and has been adding a few appointments back on to her schedule, but was advised by her doctor today not to try and attend large events too far from home just yet," spokeswoman Joanne Drake said Tuesday.

According to CNN, Mrs. Reagan has been hospitalized at least two times over the past few years and rarely appears in public. In October 2008, she was hospitalized with a broken pelvis after a fall at her home, CNN said.


Chan Reappointed WHO Director-General

Dr. Margaret Chan has won a second five-year term as director-general of the World Health Organization.

Chan ran unopposed and was reappointed Wednesday during a closed-door session, the Associated Press reported.

In a WHO news release, Chan said she will fight for universal health coverage as "the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer. It is a powerful equalizer."

She also said uncertainty over international health funding is a top priority, the AP reported.

Chan is a Canadian-trained medical doctor with Chinese nationality who joined WHO in 2003, after serving as health director in Hong Kong.


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Nutrition, Diet and Supplements For Runners: Race Day Nutrition

Jimmy Smith from tells you about proper race day nutrition and supplements and the proper diet for runners

Visit my site :

And join This runners diet is exactly what you need on race day

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How To Lose 10 Pounds In A Week-How Lose 10 Pounds In A Week Easy
Do You Want To Know The Secret How To Lose 10 Pounds In a Week or just How To Lose 10 Pounds.Super easy weight loss trick that you can do in just a few minutes a day

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Weight loss Yoga for Beginners

"Weight loss for Yoga Beginners" Is an interesting sequence to become more fit and lose some weight. Do this sequence 3/4 times a week. Remember to drink lots of water and eat moderately and healthy.

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The Craziest Fad Diets for cute Blogilates gear! In this vid, Cassey talks about some of the WORST diets out there. DO NOT try these as you will probably end up gaining back more weight than when you started.

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Jillian Michaels Welcomes Baby Boy, Adopts 2-Year-Old Girl (Daily Dose With Jillian Michaels)

After a lengthy adoption process, Jillian Michaels brought home her two-year-old daughter, Lukensia, just days after her partner, Heidi, gave birth to a baby boy, Phoenix. In this special episode of Daily Dose, Jillian shares their joy and opens up about being a new mom - times two!

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Daily Dose with Jillian Michaels Jillian
Michaels: fitness expert, life coach, best-selling author and host of Everyday Health's Daily Dose. Jillian along with her co-host, Janice Ungaro, discusses a range of topics, from exercise and nutrition to finding success in all aspects of life. It is a mix of one-on-one
interviews and musings which leads viewers on a journey to unlock their fullest potential.

Jillian Michaels
Jillian is one of the leading health and wellness experts in the country. She contributes to and is a New York Times best-selling author. She was the trainer and life coach on The Biggest Loser for six years and Losing it with Jillian (NBC) and she has released numerous exercise DVDs. Personalized diet and fitness plans by Jillian are available through which syncs seamlessly to her mobile application
published by Everyday Health. Her mobile app is available on iTunes and receives a 4 star rating. Jillian has a long-standing relationship with Everyday Health, which launched her website,, in 1996.

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and start feeling better — every day.

"Celebrity Kids" "Jillian Michaels" "Celebrity Moms" "Celebrity Parents" "Jillian Michaels Lukensia" "Jillian Michaels Adopts" "Jillian Michaels Baby" "Jillian Michaels Kids" "Jillian Michaels Phoenix" "Jillian Michaels Two Kids Celebrity News" "Jillian Michaels" "Jilian Micheals" "Biggest Loser" workout work out routine p90x 30 day shred zumba fitness training abs shred diet bodybuilding "self-medicate" leukemia cancer "caller 911" "high fructose corn syrup" "body building" Ultimate "ab exercise" workout fitness core jillian arms chest muscle ripped fat burn shred abs ab weight loss "lose weight" strength sexy "work out" plank tips girls women muscles running body fit "shape up" legs diet hot videos training stretching push ups toning health trim circuit

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How Does SmartLipo Work? - American Health and Beauty TV: Episode 2

Maybe you watched SmartLipo being performed on the Doctors TV show... in this video, Newport Beach Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Thomas Barnes demonstrates the laser lipo on a patient, you can actually see how the laser works under the skin. As seen on

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Dogs - A Healthy Future

This film, narrated by Clare Balding, looks at the issues affecting dog health and wellbeing in this country and what is being done in 2012 to help ensure that dog welfare stays at the top of the agenda.

'Dogs -- A Healthy Future', focuses on the main issues that affect dog health and welfare, including hereditary diseases, issues created by breeding dogs for the way that they look and the problem of cruel puppy farms that breed dogs for profit without regard for their health and welfare.

The film explores the steps that have already been taken to address these issues and the need for united action in order to ensure that the progress continues in 2012.

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Health Net Announces Appearance at Sanford C. Bernstein’s 28th Strategic Decisions Conference


Health Net, Inc. (HNT) today announced that members of its management team are scheduled to present at Sanford C. Bernstein’s 28th Strategic Decisions Conference on May 30, 2012, at approximately 9:00 a.m. Eastern time.

A live webcast and replay of the presentation will be available at under “Investor Relations.” The webcast is open to all interested parties. The webcast should be accessed at least 15 minutes prior to its start time. Anyone listening to the webcast will be presumed to have read Health Net’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended March 31, 2012, and other reports filed by the company from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

About Health Net

Health Net, Inc. is a publicly traded managed care organization that delivers managed health care services through health plans and government-sponsored managed care plans. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable. Health Net, through its subsidiaries, provides and administers health benefits to approximately 5.6 million individuals across the country through group, individual, Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly referred to as “Part D”), Medicaid, U.S. Department of Defense, including TRICARE, and Veterans Affairs programs. Health Net’s behavioral health services subsidiary, Managed Health Network, Inc., provides behavioral health, substance abuse and employee assistance programs to approximately 4.9 million individuals, including Health Net’s own health plan members. Health Net’s subsidiaries also offer managed health care products related to prescription drugs, and offer managed health care product coordination for multi-region employers and administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.

For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit Health Net’s website at

Cautionary Statements

Health Net, Inc. and its representatives may from time to time make written and oral forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (“PSLRA”) of 1995, including statements in this and other press releases, in presentations, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), reports to stockholders and in meetings with investors and analysts. All statements in this press release, other than statements of historical information provided herein, may be deemed to be forward-looking statements and as such are intended to be covered by the safe harbor for “forward-looking statements” provided by PSLRA. These statements are based on management’s analysis, judgment, belief and expectation only as of the date hereof, and are subject to changes in circumstances and a number of risks and uncertainties. Without limiting the foregoing, statements including the words “believes,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “expects,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “estimate,” “intend,” “feels,” “will,” “projects” and other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by the forward-looking information and statements due to, among other things, health care reform and other increased government participation in and regulation of health benefits and managed care operations, including the ultimate impact of the Affordable Care Act, which could materially adversely affect Health Net’s financial condition, results of operations and cash flows through, among other things, reduced revenues, new taxes, expanded liability, and increased costs (including medical, administrative, technology or other costs), or require changes to the ways in which Health Net does business; rising health care costs; continued slow economic growth or a further decline in the economy; negative prior period claims reserve developments; trends in medical care ratios; membership declines; unexpected utilization patterns or unexpectedly severe or widespread illnesses; rate cuts and other risks and uncertainties affecting Health Net’s Medicare or Medicaid businesses; Health Net’s ability to successfully participate in the dual-eligibles pilot programs; litigation costs; regulatory issues with federal and state agencies including, but not limited to, the California Department of Managed Health Care, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and state departments of insurance; operational issues; failure to effectively oversee our third-party vendors; noncompliance by Health Net or Health Net’s business associates with any privacy laws or any security breach involving the misappropriation, loss or other unauthorized use or disclosure of confidential information; any liabilities of the Northeast business that were incurred prior to the closing of its sale as well as those liabilities incurred through the winding-up and running-out period of the Northeast business; investment portfolio impairment charges; volatility in the financial markets; and general business and market conditions. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the risks discussed in the “Risk Factors” section included within Health Net’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC, and the risks discussed in Health Net’s other filings with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Except as may be required by law, Health Net undertakes no obligation to address or publicly update any of its forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that arise after the date of this release.

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2012 Weight Loss Challenge

This is the start of my 2012 Weight Loss Challenge. The over all goal is to be healthy. This challenge is just an added benefit of becoming healthy. Do not become obssesed with fitting into your old garments. The idea is to use the garments to motivate, track and reward yourself along your journey.

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Health Reform Explained Video: "Health Reform Hits Main Street"
Health care reform explained in "Health Reform Hits Main Street."
Confused about how the new health care reform law really works? This short, animated movie -- featuring the "YouToons" -- explains the problems with the current health care system, the changes that are happening now, and the big changes coming in 2014. Written and produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Narrated by Cokie Roberts, a news commentator for ABC News and NPR and a member of Kaiser's Board of Trustees. Creative production and animation by Free Range Studios.
Also let the YouToons illustrate how health insurance coverage will work under reform. Visit:

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

CRC Health Group Joins Hero Health Hire to Promote Employment of America's Wounded Warriors and Veterans

CUPERTINO, CA--(Marketwire -05/17/12)- CRC Health Group today announced that it has joined Hero Health Hire, a coalition of companies and other entities in the health care industry that are united with the goal of employing wounded warriors and veterans. Launched in Washington, D.C. at a 2011 industry summit that included the U.S. Secretary of Labor, members of Congress, and representatives of a number of government agencies and the military, Hero Health Hire includes companies, associations and hospitals from across the spectrum of health care that collectively employ hundreds of thousands of employees. Each has committed to working to help veterans find and retain jobs in health care.

"It is our privilege and our duty to join this coalition of health care partner organizations, to support our wounded warriors and veteran patriots with employment options within CRC Health Group," said Andy Eckert, CEO of CRC. "We pride ourselves in providing the best quality care to those who are willing to fight for our freedom daily. Our treatment experts do everything possible to ensure our servicemen and women lead ongoing productive lives."

CRC Health Group has TRICARE-certified treatment programs in North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Texas that treat members of the U.S. armed forces and their beneficiaries. Since 1993 these facilities have served over 7,000 beneficiaries.

Four-Star General Barry McCaffrey (Ret), the former National Drug Policy Director and a CRC Health Group senior advisor and board member, stated: "I am proud that CRC, with whom I've worked since I left the White House, has a high priority to help veterans recover from mental health, substance abuse, and PTSD issues, and to hire veterans for positions on the CRC team. There is no more important group in America than our service men and women and veterans, and CRC strongly recognizes this."

This announcement falls on the heels of a recent national conference, "Freedom and Recovery: Integrated Mental Health and Addiction Treatment for Service Members," at which Eckert and General McCaffrey were featured speakers. In a media interview, Eckert acknowledged the benefits of employing veterans on the treatment staff, saying it makes them more relevant to the numerous active duty, veteran and TRICARE beneficiary populations which CRC treats. CRC Health Group actively seeks employees with military experience, posting jobs with employment groups at military installations and with military community partners.

According to Hero Health Hire, each month, tens of thousands of Wounded Warriors, men and women in the military who have been injured or become ill during service, transition out of the military, only to struggle in the civilian workforce. For many, they may be interviewing for a job or writing a resume for the first time, unsure of how military skills and experiences might translate or what accommodations may be needed for transition to a civilian workplace.

The health care industry is considered this nation's fastest growing industry; current estimates are that 30 million people work in this field. These jobs require skilled individuals to help meet multi-generational health care needs. This industry is therefore uniquely positioned to understand and support the unique needs of this nation's veterans and the wounded warriors who return home to face physical and mental health challenges.

Hero Health Hire unites the health care industry with government agencies and the military to understand and eliminate the barriers to employment facing wounded warriors, as well as developing ways to the support them in their transition. Since its inception, Hero Health Hire has recruited additional industry partners representing more than a half million employees with worksites in every U.S. state.

CRC Health Group also just announced that its National Military Programs Liaison, Nancy Evanko, has joined the advisory board for Hero Health Hire, further expanding the synergy between these two entities.

About Hero Health Hire:

Hero Health Hire is a coalition of 30 health care industry leaders employing more than 500,000 Americans in all 50 states and who share the common goal of helping wounded warriors gain employment within health care organizations that are well-suited to their skills and will offer them opportunities for professional, financial and personal stability. For more information, visit

About CRC Health Group:

CRC Health Group is the most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral healthcare services in the nation. CRC offers the largest array of personalized treatment options, allowing individuals, families and professionals to choose the most appropriate treatment setting for their behavioral, addiction, weight management and therapeutic education needs. CRC is committed to making its services widely and easily available, while maintaining a passion for delivering advanced treatment. Since 1995, CRC has been helping individuals and families reclaim and enrich their lives. For more information, visit or call (877) 637-6237.

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Health Fair

Today a few community groups joined forces to battle health problems in the metro area.

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Some River Ranch bagged salads deemed health risk

Certain products made by River Ranch Fresh Foods are under scrutiny "Routine sampling" detected Listeria contamination, the California Health Department saysThe company's products are distributed nationwide under various names

(CNN) -- Citing a potential health risk, the California Department of Public Health warned consumers Friday to not eat certain bagged salads manufactured by River Ranch Fresh Foods and sold under various names.

The company, based in Salinas, California, voluntarily recalled the salads "after routine sampling detected Listeria Monocytogenes in two packages of shredded iceberg lettuce purchased from retail locations in California and Colorado," the health department said in a news release.

No illnesses have been reported, it said.

The affected salads have been distributed to outlets across the country under the brand names River Ranch, Farm Stand, Hy-Vee, Marketside, Shurfresh, The Farmer's Market, Cross Valley, Fresh n Easy, Promark and Sysco, it said.

River Ranch is a wholly owned subsidiary of Taylor Farms, also of Salinas. Neither company responded to calls for comment.

A spokeswoman for the health department said it was not immediately clear how large the recall would ultimately be. "We're looking into that right now," Heather Bourbeau said.

The bacteria are commonly found in soil and water.

Symptoms of infection may include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, they may include a headache, a stiff neck, confusion, a loss of balance and convulsions.

Infants, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are at highest risk for severe illness and death. Among pregnant women, the bacteria can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, premature delivery or infection of the newborn.

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Health care industry’s perfect storm

When local health care officials talk about the state of their industry, they say a perfect storm is brewing.

Kevin Poorten, president and CEO of KishHealth System, and Michael Flora, executive director of the Ben Gordon Center, said providers work together to ensure people who need care get it, even as demand increases.

At the same time, providers are in the midst of what Poorten calls an unprecedented shift in how health care is delivered in the U.S. on the backdrop of financial challenges.

There’s the federal Affordable Care Act, which aims to improve access to and quality of health care while controlling costs through a number of mandates. And at the state level, there are proposals to cut billions from the Medicaid program and discussion of taking away the tax-exempt status of hospitals – all as Illinois continues to drown financially.

“I’ve never seen the rate of change at the pace that we currently are experiencing,” Poorten said.

Jane Lux, administrator for the DeKalb County Health Department, said there is no doubt health care has to be delivered differently.

“There is the push to improve outcomes and yet to do it more efficiently and at less cost,” Lux said. “It’s exciting in a way, when you work in the field of health care. Now you have to look at this and figure out, how are we going to do this? It’s an opportunity, but it’s also a very big challenge.”

Flora said there’s so much innovation in health care it could almost be called disruptive innovation.

“It’s that perfect storm, where there are multiple factors,” Flora said. “In the meantime, providers responding to the change still have to perform care on a daily basis. The demand doesn’t change.”

All the unknowns – whether that be new mandates at the federal levels, cuts at the state level, waiting for the reimbursement check to come or insurance providers wanting to reduce payments – make it hard to plan for the future, said Alice Freier, administrator of the DeKalb Clinic.

“Because of the continued uncertainty of what the government is going to do, whether it be the local, state or federal, it’s very hard to make plans going forward,” she said.

Shifting priorities

Providing care to the community is what local health care providers said their core mission is and will remain despite the uncertainty. What will change is how they do that.

The reform focus at the federal level – and appropriately so, Poorten said – is transforming the health care system from one based on volume and quantity to one focused on value and quality.

Poorten said the three-fold aim of the federal Affordable Care Act – improving access and quality while decreasing costs – is a good one. So are many of the reforms, such as letting young adults stay on a parent’s insurance until 26 and the elimination of pre-existing conditions as a reason to be denied insurance coverage.

But the act presents “an incredible amount of challenges” for health care systems developed on volume and quantity standards, he said, and the transition is going to take time.

Take the mandate to have all medical records kept electronically. Flora said that will make it easier to provide integrated care amongst various doctors – which is what’s best for patients, he said – but it takes investments administratively and financially to get there.

Local health care providers realize the federal government can’t sustain health care as it is today. Spending on health care was 17.6 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in 2010, according to the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Studies. By 2020, it’s expected to be 19.8 percent.

While local officials agree health care needs to focus on less-expensive prevention efforts, that needs to be accompanied by a culture shift.

“We have to, as a culture, be engaged in prevention,” Lux said. “That’s why it’s what we hear from all levels. There is a huge push to address the problem with issues of obesity, how do we eat healthier, how be more physically active, how change environments and communities so we can be more healthy.”

One provision of the Affordable Care Act aims to do that. As of October, hospitals will not get paid if Medicaid patients with certain conditions – such as some heart ailments – are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged.

Today, the hospital is reimbursed for both visits, Poorten said, but starting in October, it will only get paid for the first time.

The move will encourage health care systems to provide better care coordination to ensure patients follow up with a primary care physician, eat right and take necessary medication, he said.

But it also depends on patient self-care. And that can be tough for a number of reasons. Nationwide, 30 percent to 40 percent of people discharged from hospitals don’t fill prescriptions – often because they can’t afford it, Poorten said.

Lux said health care officials are doing a better job than ever before at informing patients about how to stay healthy, as well as focusing on prevention and offering wellness classes. KishHealth and the Kishwaukee Family YMCA have gotten involved in initiatives such as Pioneering Healthy Communities, which is designed to change environmental factors and local policies to promote healthy behavior.

At the same time, it’s hard for many to access health care, often due to economic and social factors, Lux said.

“It takes resources, money or time or learning about how to [be healthier],” she said. “If your family is in crisis mode most of the time, it’s just going to be harder to even get to that point of, what am I doing with food that could be more healthy.”

State proposals

The mandates of the federal health reform are playing out as the state’s dismal finances take a toll on health care providers.

The DeKalb Clinic is owed $4 million in state and federal payments. The state is a year behind paying the County Health Department and more than 200 days late in paying KishHealth, which is owed $20 million.

The state is current with payments to the Ben Gordon Center, which provides mental health services to local residents. Still, the center provides more than $400,000 in care annually above the grants it receives. And the state has cut its mental health budget by more than 31 percent since 2008-09, Flora said.

With the state billions of dollars in debt, the Illinois Hospital Association says it understands that everyone has to be a part of solving the state fiscal crisis.

Illinois is expected to end this fiscal year with almost $2 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills, caused in part by rising medical costs, increased enrollment and a deferral of $1.9 billion in last year’s bills to this fiscal year, according to Gov. Pat Quinn’s office.

Medicaid provides health care for low-income and disabled people. Quinn has proposed reducing Medicaid spending by $2.7 billion for the next fiscal year, a 23 percent reduction.

His plan calls for about $1.35 billion in service cuts next fiscal year, an 8 to 9 percent reimbursement cut for health care providers, and a $1 tax increase on every pack of cigarettes.

“We must act quickly to save the entire Medicaid system from collapse, and protect providers and the millions of Illinois residents that depend upon Medicaid for their health care,” Quinn said in April when announcing his proposal. “This proposal will fundamentally restructure our Medicaid system, alleviate the pressures on the rest of our budget, and ensure the program is sustainable for years to come.”

The Civic Foundation, a nonpartisan government research organization working to maximize the quality and cost-effectiveness of government services in Illinois, supports Quinn’s proposed budget – the first time in four years the organization has supported a proposed budget.

In a news release issued earlier this month, the Foundation said Quinn’s Medicaid reform proposal aims to eliminate the funding gap. While the foundation notes it is unfortunate the state allowed the program to get to the brink of collapse, Quinn’s proposal “is a reasonable effort to restructure the program given the severity of the crisis.”

But A.J. Wilhelmi, senior vice president of government relations for the IHA, said Quinn’s proposals are too drastic.

“We feel there are alternatives to blunt cuts to the program,” he said. “Cuts of that magnitude will cause irreparable harm to patients.”

Health care officials fear lawmakers aren’t considering all of the unintended consequences as they rush toward a solution.

Take the governor’s proposal to cut the reimbursement rate – a rate, Poorten noted, that hasn’t been increased since the 1990s. If it goes through, it would mean a $1.16 million hit for KishHealth. If the reduction includes behavioral health, it could mean a reduction of $80,000 to $100,000 for Ben Gordon Center, Flora said.

The state already doesn’t cover all the costs of a Medicaid patient. For example in fiscal 2011, KCH was paid 43 percent and Valley West 36 percent of what it costs to provide care for a Medicaid patient.

And if the Affordable Care Act is upheld through its legal challenges, every U.S. citizen will be required to be insured by 2014. Many will go onto the Medicaid system of whatever state he or she lives in.

The IHA is asking lawmakers to take time and make smart changes or be prepared to suffer unintended consequences. The organization has submitted a dozen alternatives that could save up to $1.4 billion. Ideas include enforcing current eligibility policies so those who no longer qualify for the program are removed from the program; a co-pay of $10 for non-emergency visits to emergency departments by Medicaid patients; and enhancing provider-based care coordination.

State Rep. Robert Pritchard, R-Hinckley, said the governor refuses to look at proposals that would move the state into a good direction, such as those focusing on eligibility and fraud.

“My frustration is the governor’s staff isn’t responsive to those kinds of arguments,” he said. “The hospital association has been meeting with them for ages and they take a few of the low-hanging fruit ideas but don’t do the things that will also save us some real money. ... It’s not all a matter of logic and what can be justified, it’s what is politically feasible that can we get accomplished.”

State Sen. Christine Johnson, R-Shabbona, serves on the state’s Medicaid task force. She said proposals that target fraud and waste should be the first step to reform. When the state sent out an annual mailing in January, for instance, 6 percent of the replies came back from people with out-of-state addresses.

Other ideas Johnson supports include scaling back who is allowed on Medicaid, noting the program has undergone massive growth in recent years, mainly due to expansions under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Illinois also covers more services, such as adult dental care, under Medicaid than other states, and going to the national average for those services could save $1 billion.

Johnson said action on Medicaid could come next week. While she agrees that decisions shouldn’t be rushed, she also noted Medicaid discussions have been ongoing since January.

“As critical as this is getting to be, we have to do something,” she said. “We need to make our best good-faith effort to try to avoid all the pitfalls you can. There is no such thing as a perfect bill, unfortunately.”

Property tax concerns

Another idea being discussed in Illinois is to take away the tax-exempt status of hospitals, which traditionally are considered nonprofit organizations.

If KishHealth lost its tax-exempt status, it would mean paying $2 million to $2.5 million more annually in property taxes. KishHealth already pays property taxes on some property, such as on Hauser-Ross and the cancer center. Brad Copple, president of Kishwaukee Community and Valley West Community hospitals, said both could be taken off the tax rolls but the health system keeps them on there in order to be a good neighbor.

There is a push that would say the only way a hospital can earn property tax-exempt status is to look at how much a health provider spends on charity care, which is defined as care provided to people who cannot pay.

But charity care doesn’t include things such as the Community Cares Clinic – the effort between KishHealth, Northern Illinois University and private donors to provide affordable access to primary medical care – sponsorships of events such as the cancer walk, or donations to places such as Ben Gordon Center that are specifically targeted for those on Medicaid, the underinsured and uninsured populations of the county.

In its most recent community benefits report, KishHealth gave $68 million in what Poorten calls community benefits. Of that, about half was the gap between what the system is paid for treating Medicaid patients and what it costs to actually take care of those patients.

“We aren’t saying everything needs to be included, but we are saying the bucket needs to include a lot more than just charity care,” Poorten said.

Johnson and Pritchard agree the definition of charity care needs to be expanded. The Civic Federation and Illinois Chamber of Commerce have expressed support for keeping hospitals tax-exempt and establishing clear standards of eligibility, as has almost the entire Illinois Congressional delegation.

Finding solutions

Poorten called himself “the biggest optimist” and said the industry’s problems will be figured out. But he stressed lawmakers need to create clarity for health care providers and keep financial impacts of their actions in mind.

“I think there is a general sense, even in Springfield, that hospitals are doing OK, that hospitals are making money, that we don’t have to necessarily have to worry about the financial, that we can continue to take more from the hospitals, because we have continued to take more from the hospitals and they have continued to survive,” Copple said.

“That has to end,” he said. “We are at a point where with the piling on ... we are going to start losing hospitals, and that’s going to include an access problem.”

Poorten encouraged residents to get informed about the looming changes and proposals because whatever is implemented affects everyone in the end.

“That’s the takeaway. It’s not about Medicaid, it’s not about pensions,” he said. “It’s about quality of life for our community.”

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Health Highlights: May 18, 2012

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Psychiatrist Apologizes for Study Supporting Therapy to 'Cure' Gays

A man considered by some to be the father of modern psychiatry has apologized for his 2001 study that supported the use of so-called reparative therapy to "cure" gay people who were strongly motivated to change their sexual orientation.

Dr. Robert L. Spitzer's apology appears in a short letter to be published this month in Archives of Sexual Behavior, the journal that published the original study, The New York Times reported.

"I believe I owe the gay community an apology," his letter concludes.

Reparative therapy, also called sexual reorientation or conversion therapy is a theory promoted by social conservatives, who used Spitzer's study to push the idea that homosexuality is a choice and can be cured.

That idea is rejected by psychiatric experts, and a World Health Organization report calls the therapy "a serious threat to the health and well-being -- even the lives -- of affected people," The Times reported.


U.S. Panel Mulls Bioterrorism Protection for Children

The question of whether the anthrax vaccine and other treatments being stockpiled in case of a bioterror attack should be tested on children is being considered by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

"We can't just assume that what we have for adults works for children," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the commission Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

The panel began discussing the issue Thursday and its recommendations are expected by the end of the year.

"There are serious ethical issues around the development of medical countermeasures for children in general," Sebelius said, the AP reported.

While it is important to develop ways to protect children from bioterror attacks, it must be done in a way that puts "our children's safety as our highest priority," she noted.


Stem Cell-Based Drug Approved in Canada

The first manufactured drug based on stem cells has been approved by Canadian regulators.

The drug Prochymal was approved to treat children suffering from graft-versusu-host disease, a potentially deadly complication of bone marrow transplantation. The drug is made by Osiris Therapeutics of Columbia, Md., The New York Times reported.

The approval is seen as a boost for the field of regenerative medicine.

"It's really a good day for the concept and the hope behind stem cell therapies becoming a reality," C. Randal Mills, the chief executive of Osiris, told The Times.

The company plans to apply later this year for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug.


Consumers Should Avoid South Korean Shellfish: FDA

U.S. federal and state officials are warning consumers against eating shellfish from South Korea and say that retailers should stop selling it.

A Food and Drug Administration analysis of the South Korean shellfish program found unacceptable water pollution levels in shellfish-growing areas and periodic presence of norovirus, which can cause gastroenteritis (stomach flu), the Washington Post reported.

On May 1, the FDA removed firms that transports South Korean shellfish off its list of approves shippers and said it may launch a recall of South Korean shellfish, specifically fresh, frozen or processed oysters, clams, mussels and scallops.

The FDA advisory does not affect South Korean crab or shrimp, or any shellfish grown and produced in the U.S., the Post reported.


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