Healthways contract with state to create 100 jobs

Franklin company to roll out wellness program for 277,000 employees, dependents

It's been a very productive summer and fall selling season for executives at Healthways, whose latest deal has been struck very close to home.

The Franklin-based company has signed a five-year agreement to provide a suite of wellness services to members of the State of Tennessee Group Insurance Program and their dependents. That group includes a total of 277,000 people and is now receiving wellness services from APS Healthcare, a division of New York-based Universal American Corp.

"For our state to be competitive and to thrive, we must increase well-being in Tennessee. Low well-being results in decreased productivity and increased healthcare costs, a growing burden that simply cannot be afforded," said Healthways President and CEO Ben Leedle. "Through Healthways’ participation in this program to improve Tennessee’s well-being, we can help state employees lead healthier, more productive lives and reduce healthcare costs, while further enhancing the state’s reputation for healthcare innovation and leadership."

Healthways officials said the new contract, which kicks in Jan. 1, will create 100 new jobs. It's the latest in a series of contract wins announced in the past month that includes the Family Dollar retail chain. Shares of Healthways (Ticker: HWAY) have lost a little bit of ground during that time — they closed Friday trading at $11.09 — but are still up more than 60 percent in 2012.