August 3, 2011 | last updated May 31, 2012 8:14 pm

Avon's Magellan seeks to cut states' health costs

Seizing on states' need to corral healthcare costs, Avon's Magellan Health Services Inc. says it launched a pair of pilot programs that marry holistic care and traditional treatment of mental and physical ailments.

Magellan says its Integrated Health Home pilots in Arizona and Iowa aim to forge a stronger link between the behavioral and physical health providers and holistically focus on the individual with the goal of driving better health outcomes.

Magellan says the programs and their participants will benefit from its behavioral health expertise and experience in managing Medicaid recipients with physical health providers.

The goal, says Magellan Chairman and CEO Rene Lerer M.D., is a more effective environment to help states improve the quality of care and lower the costs of treating the seriously mentally ill population.

"It's a national tragedy,'' Lerer said in a statement Wednesday announcing the pilots, "that individuals with severe mental illness who are served by our public mental health system die 25 years earlier on average than the general population, largely due to treatable, manageable conditions.''

Magellan did not disclose how long the pilots will last and their cost. A call to the company Wednesday was not immediately returned.

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