Healthways Up on Healthcare Deal Extension - Analyst Blog

In its noble endeavor to enable people attain long-lasting health and overall wellness, Essence Healthcare announced renewal of its existing partnership with Healthways Inc. ( HWAY ). The deal facilitates the continuation of the popular SilverSneakers Fitness Program through 2016.

Healthways' shares shot up as much as 3.4%, in the trading session following the deal announcement.

SilverSneakers is an innovative exercise and wellness program, targeted at older adults to accustom them to a healthy and active lifestyle. The program is available to Essence Healthcare members across the St. Louis region.

The program aims to reduce medical expenditure, often regarded as a financial burden for the families of senior citizens.

The SilverSneakers Fitness Program is believed to be a holistic program, designed to improve the quality of lifestyle in older adults.

Wellness improvement provider Healthways is a perfect strategic fit for Essence Healthcare as the former's fitness center network provides easy access to more than 15,000 participating fitness and wellness facilities across the nation.

The 2012 survey results validated 67% of Essence Healthcare participants of having excellent or very good standards of health. The results were encouraging as it surpassed more than twice the national average of 32% for older adults. Further, 84% of Essence Healthcare participants reported no impairment in activities of daily living, which again crossed the national average of 63% for older adults.

Accordingly, Healthways looks forward to this partnership to deliver long-term value to the aged population.

Recently, Healthways forged an agreement with UCLA Health System to make the latter an approved provider of the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease in Southern California.

Healthways got a three-year contract to provide Australia's largest health coaching program, Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service in New South Wales, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and South Australia.

All the recent collaborations demonstrate the need of such healthcare initiatives to improve sustainable health of people, given the need to inculcate healthy lifestyles.

Currently, Healthways carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Investors interested in the medical services industry can look at better-ranked stocks like Air Methods Corp . ( AIRM ), MedAssets, Inc . ( MDAS ) and Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. ( CRL ). All the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

AIR METHODS CRP (AIRM): Free Stock Analysis Report

CHARLES RVR LAB (CRL): Free Stock Analysis Report

HEALTHWAYS INC (HWAY): Free Stock Analysis Report

MEDASSETS INC (MDAS): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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