CMS HEALTH PILOT SEES 100,000TH WELLNESS SCREENING AS PROVIDERS EXPAND PROGRAM REACH

The Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) announced the year-long pilot health-screening partnership between the State of Illinois and a key state health insurance provider reached a significant milestone – its 100,000th free screening to identify a variety of vital signs and possible symptoms. State officials believe the pilot program is already influencing better health decisions among state workers. The pilot program between CMS and Aetna began in May 2018 to provide more than two dozen self-use, health-monitoring machines in State facilities across Illinois. The health stations gave workers and clients using those facilities an easy way to monitor their personal vital signs and follow up with medical action as needed. The smart health stations, named higi, allow workers to privately, conveniently and regularly check the kinds of vital signs doctors use to monitor patient health, such as weight, body mass index (BMI), pulse, and blood pressure.  Early anecdotal information from users shows that monitoring for blood pressure and pulse have been among the most frequent indicators prompting people to seek health assistance, at a time when treatment often amounts to prescribing proper medications before problems become severe or lead to other damaging health results. Illinois is the first state to offer this innovative aid to wellness and is seeking to quickly expand its reach. The screenings have already surpassed expectations on usage, and CMS officials believe the outcomes have led to better personal health decisions. Aetna joined the partnership to help encourage earlier diagnosis and treatment when symptoms or vital numbers indicate action is warranted. CMS intends to deploy at least 100 health stations across state facilities by June 2020 and make them available to help more employees routinely take part in monitoring, protecting and improving their health. Aetna estimates that adequate early treatment for high blood pressure can save an individual thousands of dollars in health care costs, while avoidance of more serious consequences like stroke or heart disease, can save lives and much higher costs over the long term.

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