Mind/Body Medical Institute to participate in medicare lifestyle modification program demonstration

April 23, 2001

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) has invited the Mind/Body Medical Institute's Cardiac Wellness Program to participate in multi-year Medicare Lifestyle Modification Program Demonstration. The Cardiac Wellness Program, under the direction of Herbert Benson, M.D., will be offered to up to 1,800 Medicare beneficiaries with heart disease in a demonstration to measure the effectiveness of a lifestyle modification program in treating patients who are at high risk for revascularization. The program is currently available to patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston and M/BMI national affiliates.

"Recent research has suggested that aggressive risk factor treatment may reverse heart disease, which will in turn potentially avoid the need for an invasive intervention," said Jeffery L. Kang, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Office of Clinical Standards and Quality, HCFA.

The demonstration is designed to compare two national, multi-site, cardiovascular lifestyle modification models that offer a 12-month, interdisciplinary, clinical outpatient treatment program. The M/BMI Cardiac Wellness Program, which is based on moderate aerobic exercise, individual nutrition counseling (20-25% fat, plant-based diet) and a comprehensive stress management program, will be compared to the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease.

"We are pleased that the value of our cardiovascular program has been recognized by the federal government for further research," said Herbert Benson, M.D., founding president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute and Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. "We look forward to the program's widespread dissemination."

Factors to be assessed in an independent evaluation of the performance of the two programs include quality of care delivery, treatment outcomes, patient satisfaction, and potential savings to Medicare.
Other M/BMI sites around the country expected to participate in the demonstration include sites in Boca Raton, Florida; South Bend, Indiana; Warwick, Rhode Island; Nashville, Tennessee; Houston, Texas; Portsmouth, Richmond, Newport News, and Norfolk, Virginia; and Tacoma, Washington. For more information or to participate, contact the Mind/Body Medical Institute in Boston at 617-632-9528 or acasey@caregroup.harvard.edu or the local affiliate.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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