Wellness Programs Offset Rising Health Care Costs - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Wellness Programs Offset Rising Health Care Costs

Local lab showcases new cholesterol test



    Wellness Programs Offset Rising Health Care Costs
    Getty Images
    A local North Texas lab showcasing a new cholesterol test is seeing huge growth as healthcare costs increase.

    A Euless-based company that offers corporate wellness programs is seeing huge growth as more businesses wrestle with rising health care costs.

    "This year we're experiencing 60 percent growth even in a down economy," said Johnette van Eeden, president and CEO of Lone Star Screening.

    "There are (clients) seeing double-digit growth every year in their insurance premiums alone based on the claims coming in. So, they're looking to wellness programs to prevent those claims," said van Eeden.

    Lone Star Screening is one of several vendors at a conference in Fort Worth catering to human resource professionals. 

    State of the Art Cholesterol Check

    [DFW] State of the Art Cholesterol Check
    Abnormal cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart disease. A typical screening, though, may not go far enough in determining that risk. But now there is a "new gold standard" called the Vertical Auto Profile (VAP) test.
    (Published Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009)

    More than 2,000 people went to the HR Southwest Conference looking for business solutions, and health care costs is a key issue.

    "A lot of our employees are in a sedentary environment, so they're sitting down all day and our medical premiums have gone through the roof," said Tara Tibbetts, human resources specialist at the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.

    "So that's where we come in," van Eeden explained. "We offer the on-site medical screenings for prevention and early detection and alert people to things that are going on before they become chronic conditions."

    One of those early detection tools is the VAP Cholesterol Test which van Eeden described as "the new gold standard for cholesterol testing."

    The VAP test takes a closer look at cholesterol in the blood than the typical test. it breaks it down into subclasses and checks for genetic markers, giving doctors a better idea of who is at risk for heart disease.

    "It will identify problems in 40 to 50 percent more people than standard cholesterol test would," said van Eeden. "It's a far superior test and more doctors should be using it. This is the new gold standard for cholesterol testing. "

    A spokeswoman for the company that makes the VAP test said the test is available at diagnostic labs such as Lone Star Screening and is reimbursed by many of the largest private insurers as well as Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, the Department of Defense's health care plan for the armed services, retirees and their families.

    If a patient pays out of pocket the test cost varies state by state,and is often less than $99.