Cigna and USA TODAY are joining forces to present “Building Healthier Communities” in Houston September 18, a two-hour forum that will explore ways to improve health care and better manage escalating costs. The forum will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Houstonian Hotel, and will feature remarks by Cigna President and CEO David M. Cordani about building a stronger, more sustainable health care system in the U.S. Two panels of experts will follow, speaking about innovations in public health programs, as well as how to reach underserved rural areas with care. Both panels will be moderated by leading USA TODAY health reporters Laura Ungar and Jayne O’Donnell.
The public is invited to follow live Twitter coverage of the event @usatodayhealth and @cigna, which will be featured on Cigna’s new health care leadership site: health care leadership site.
“Disruptions such as economic forces, an aging population and the rise of chronic disease are having enormous impact on health care systems around the world. By shifting our emphasis from ‘sick’ care to ‘health’ care, we can promote better health, sustainability and economic vibrancy, while lowering the cost burden on consumers and on the entire health care system at the same time,” Cordani said.
Cigna and USA TODAY joined together to focus the country’s attention on the need to build affordable health care programs throughout the U.S. Houston was selected as the site for the first forum because the city has aggressively tackled the challenge of improving the health of the city’s employees and communities while lowering costs. Texas is among the fastest growing states, and according to the Texas State Data Center, health care costs in the state could grow faster than its population by 2040. In the face of these cost and health challenges, Houston took action five years ago to create a culture of health, including an aggressive wellness program designed with Cigna, who provides health service to the city’s workforce.
Houston, now the fourth largest in the country, also initiated Go Healthy Houston, http://gohealthyhouston.org/, which seeks to improve the health of all Houstonians by increasing access to healthy foods, physical activity, and tobacco-free zones. The innovative health care initiative was launched by Mayor Annise Parker in 2012 and is led by a coalition of public and private partners, including Cigna. The initiatives employed by the city serve as a model for other cities around the country.