National Railroad H&W Plans Win 2009 Apex Award

Apex Award
From left: Mike Matteo, UnitedHealthcare National Accounts CEO; Nick Stewart, Administrator, CRLO Health & Welfare Committee; Dan Elliott, UTU Associate General Counsel; David Marcus, NRLC Director Employee Benefits

UnitedHealthcare Honors The National Railroad Plans for Their Fully Integrated Custom Care Coordination and Behavioral Services Programs

UnitedHealthcare has announced that the National Railroad Plans have received a 2009 Apex Award, an honor given to employers who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to innovative health care benefit strategies.  The National Railroad Plans were honored for their ‘integrated medical-behavioral care’ approach to improving overall member wellness.        

The OptumHealth and United Behavioral Health (UBH) co-located medical and behavioral teams in Atlanta provide the opportunity to truly deliver ‘integrated medical-behavioral care’. OptumHealth care management and disease management nurses and wellness coaches work along side UBH care advocates in an innovative approach to impacting member care of the ‘whole person’.  Staff has both medical and behavioral physicians available for consultation on cases.  These programs co-manage members, especially those members with chronic disease states, to maintain a healthier lifestyle while also preventing them from becoming high risk members in the future, or returning to a high risk status.

The National Railroad Plans offer a full range of benefit options to support employees and their families.  Highlighting the success of the medical-behavioral integration, the Apex Award recognized that in the first year of the newly designed program for Railroad there was an increase of 73% in the number of members enrolled in a clinical program, and a 104% increase in the number of actively engaged members.  In addition, through the collaborative efforts of UnitedHealthcare, OptumHealth, United Behavioral Health and other medical vendors supporting the Railroad plans, this approach provided for Railroad member’s ability to maintain their choice of medical plan, while providing an integrated medical-behavioral approach to the care of their membership.

An independent judging panel composed of leaders from across the health care industry selects the winners based on employers’ innovative approaches to a specific health care challenge.  General judging criteria includes: recognition of a pressing health care benefits challenge, innovation in determining a unique, market leading and/or creative solution and demonstration of impact and measurable results.

This year’s Apex judges had these overall comments:

  • Excellent integration of behavioral health and medical
  • A good example that innovative programs can be implemented in collectively- bargained environments.  National Railroad Plans and OptumHealth should be  commended for the recognition of the linkage between behavioral and medical  interventions.
  • A remarkable example of the value of integration of behavioral and medical services  mitigating the additive impact that coexisting depression presents to people with  serious medical disease
  • The integrated, shared team approach that simultaneously considers the holistic  dimensions of medical disease, behavioral conditions, and work life status offers the  greatest promise of an effective, efficient and patient-centric care experience

Now in its fifth year, the Apex Awards program is sponsored through UnitedHealth Group’s hub magazine, a health care publication that showcases employers’ innovation and leadership that is driving true change in our nation’s health care system.  All 2009 Apex Award winners and their award-winning programs and initiatives will be featured in the summer issue of hub, due for online publication this summer at