Population health management company Healthways announced today it has extended its SilverSneakers partnership with Highmark Inc. through 2017.
The insurer has partnered with Healthways for SilverSneakers, an exercise program aimed at seniors, since 2004. The partnership, which was set to expire this year, is available to nearly 400,000 Highmark Medicare members in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Terms of the contract were not disclosed in a release.
"By continuing to offer SilverSneakers through 2017, Highmark is demonstrating its long-term commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of its senior members," said Ben Leedle, Healthways president and CEO. "Healthways is proud to continue to partner with Highmark in offering a program that is proven to successfully transform participants' fitness and social activities, health attitudes and health outcomes."
Health care is powerful and very visible force in Middle Tennessee, where it accounts for one out of every eight jobs. But entities based in and around Nashville also have an international reach that touches millions of people on just about every continent. Here, from our new Healthier magazine out new, are just a few data points.
Healthways CEO Ben Leedle on Tuesday passed on to his employees word of the wellness company's ceasefire with activist investment fund North Tide Capital. Calling the deal to give North Tide three board seats a "positive outcome," he also took time to point out that he — a prime target of North Tide manager Conan Laughlin — and other senior executives will stay in their jobs.
In addition, Leedle described the Strategic Review Committee that will soon be formed as having the goal "to assure that the board and management remain aligned on the company strategy." That's an interesting — and, given Laughlin's calls for big changes, perhaps somewhat optimistic — spin on the language contained in the standstill agreement, which says "the purpose of the Strategic Review Committee shall be to review, evaluate and make recommendations to the Board regarding the Company's business strategy."
Here's a copy of Leedle's email:
North Tide Capital, the hedge fund taking aim at the Healthways board of directors, has updated its presentation to investors. The new version is beefed up with more questions about the company's investments in (and revenues from) initiatives such as MeYou Health, the Dean Ornish lifestyle management program and the Blue Zones partnership with Gallup. The new presentation — view it here and compare it to the old one here — strikes a tone that is softer at times but as strident as before in other places, especially in terms of the Healthways board's unconditional backing of CEO Ben Leedle and his strategies.
Some items that caught our eye:
• Addressing the company's insistence that its Silver Sneakers senior fitness program is a way to leverage costs across the company, North Tide manager Conan Laughlin says "Silver Sneakers funds a giant, money-losing science experiment."
• Tipping his hat to the board for disclosing that Healthways' international business posted a 2013 EBITDA of $3 million, Laughlin then turns around to say that means "the non-Silver Sneakers business loses more money than we had thought."
• North Tide quotes a note from Dougherty & Co. analyst Brooks O'Neil that thinks out loud about director candidate Mac Crawford becoming not just executive chairman if elected, but also filling the CEO seat now held by Leedle.
The investment managers at Wells Fargo & Co. have been sellers of Healthways shares so far in 2014. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wells says it owned almost 1.55 million shares on April 30, down from almost 1.9 million at the end of 2013. The sales comes as Healthways shares (Ticker: HWAY) have climbed almost 20 percent year to date and leave Wells with a stake of 4.4 percent in the company, which is facing a stiff board challenge from hedge fund North Tide Capital. Shareholders will vote on four director spots late next month.
SEE ALSO: More info on the definitive proxy statement Healthways filed Tuesday