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MHN Launches Workplace Smoking Cessation Program

Managed Health Network, Inc. (MHN), a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. (NYSE: HNT), announced today the launch of its first Smoking Cessation Program for associates, clients and its members, to support MHN’s commitment to improving health and productivity.

Point Richmond, CA (PRWEB) November 29, 2005 -- Managed Health Network, Inc. (MHN), a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. (NYSE: HNT), announced today the launch of its first Smoking Cessation Program for associates, clients and its members, to support MHN’s commitment to improving health and productivity.

The smoking cessation program reviews the steps that smokers can take to become tobacco-free. Participants have the opportunity to discuss the role of smoking in their lives, analyze their smoking patterns and learn about developing new habits to ease the transition to becoming a “quitter.” The program also offers guidelines for developing support systems and tips for avoiding relapse.

Smoking costs the health care industry billions of dollars each year. Cigarette smoking has been identified as the single most preventable cause of morbidity, disease and death in the United States. Further, employers incur indirect costs for employees who smoke, related to increased absenteeism and decreased productivity. According to the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, several studies have indicated that smoking employees have substantially greater absenteeism, injuries, and accidents than do non-smoking employees.

To combat this deadly habit, MHN’s Smoking Program encourages its associates, clients and their members to live healthier lifestyles.

MHN’s Smoking Cessation program provides “a unique combination of motivation, education and support to ‘kick the habit’,” according to Arlene Darick, director of Employee Assistance Program Services at MHN. “Quitting is not an easy undertaking. It requires effort, determination and a commitment. Along with counseling, some key objectives for participants are understanding the addictive nature of smoking, learning how to avoid smoking ’triggers’ and determining behavioral readiness“, Darick added.

MHN also offers online coaching, support and training through its Employee Assistance Program (EAP). “’Breathe,’ our Web-based program, provides members with a personal plan for decreasing dependency, managing withdrawal and dealing with cravings,“ explained Darick. “Our health care professionals develop a program just for the individual,“ she continued. These wellness coaches are licensed professionals and educated in the behavioral health industry, wellness, nutrition and health education.

In addition, Health Net is committed to helping its members quit smoking by offering “Quitting Matters,” a program that provides online support, self-help information and free telephone support with trained counselors.

“Although the dangers of cigarette smoking are well known, one in four Americans still light up and job performance usually becomes a casualty,” explained Deirdre Hiatt, Ph.D., vice president of Quality Management at MHN. ”We will study the relationship between smoking and other health conditions as well as the relative impact of smoking and health conditions on job performance. By understanding both the physical addiction and the psychological dependence of nicotine, we can develop tools and techniques to help smokers quit for life,” she added.

About MHN

MHN is one of the largest and oldest providers of managed behavioral health care and Employee Assistance Programs in the United States, serving more than 10 million members. Based in Point Richmond, Calif., MHN provides workplace solutions ranging from EAP and behavioral health to integrated disease management and psychiatric return to work programs. MHN's provider network includes 45,000 practitioners and 1,400 hospitals and facilities throughout the United States.

MHN strives to improve employers and employees’ health by providing innovative, clinically-based solutions that drive behavior change.

MHN is a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT). Health Net, Inc. is among the nation's largest publicly traded managed health care companies. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable. The company's HMO, POS, insured PPO and government contracts subsidiaries provide health benefits to approximately 6.4 million individuals in 27 states and the District of Columbia through group, individual, Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE programs. Health Net's behavioral health subsidiary, MHN, provides mental health benefits to approximately 7.3 million individuals in all 50 states. The company's subsidiaries also offer managed health care products related to prescription drugs, and offer managed health care product coordination for multi-region employers and administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.

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