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Honey Bee Health Coalition Ready to Provide Leadership in Implementing National Pollinator Health Strategy

Keystone, Colo. (PRWEB) May 20, 2015

The Honey Bee Health Coalition applauded the announcement of the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators and the accompanying Pollinator Research Action Plan, released today by President Barack Obama’s Pollinator Health Task Force. The Strategy represents a critical step in improving the health of honey bees and other pollinators that support billions of dollars annually in U.S. and Canadian agriculture. The Strategy sets clear goals for pollinator health that underscore the importance of the Honey Bee Health Coalition’s ongoing work. The Honey Bee Health Coalition commends the Task Force for its emphasis on public-private partnerships to improve pollinator health and stands ready to provide coordination and leadership. The Strategy specifically cites the Coalition as an example of a public-private partnership and vehicle for collaboration, outreach, and education.

“The Strategy released by the National Pollinator Health Task Force underscore the importance of pollinator health for agriculture and the environment,” said George Hansen, a commercial beekeeper, past president of the American Beekeeping Federation, and a member of the Coalition’s Steering Committee. “As one of the largest and most diverse public-private partnerships already working to address honey bee health across agriculture, the Honey Bee Health Coalition is eager and ready to support the implementation of the Strategy. In fact, the Coalition is already working to advance collaborative solutions and is poised to drive commitments and positive impacts on the ground.”

Agriculture, healthy lifestyles, and worldwide food security rely on honey bee health. The Honey Bee Health Coalition works at the intersection of honey bee health and agriculture, bringing together stakeholders from across the agricultural supply chain as well as from government, academia, and conservation. The Coalition advances public-private solutions for honey bee health in four priority areas: hive management, forage and nutrition, crop pest management, and outreach, education, and communications.

“The Honey Bee Health Coalition appreciates the Task Force’s comprehensive, multi-factor approach recognizing the need for collective action on multiple fronts as well as the positive role that all stakeholders can play in this effort,” said Julie Shapiro, Coalition facilitator and senior policy director at Keystone Policy Center. “The Strategy accentuates the importance of the work that the Coalition is already undertaking that will help achieve goals related to reducing honey bee colony overwintering losses and restoring and enhancing pollinator habitat. Coalition members look forward to working with the Task Force and other private and public partners in implementing the Strategy to achieve a vision of Healthy Bees, Healthy People, Healthy Planet.”


Honey Bee Health Coalition Activities Advance the Task Force Strategy and Goals

In June 2014, President Obama established the Task Force to identify essential actions needed in the categories of pollinator research, public education, and public-private partnerships. The Task Force has identified critical goals related to reducing overwintering losses for managed honey bees, restoring and enhancing pollinator habitat, and increasing monarch butterfly populations. The Honey Bee Health Coalition’s public-private partnership activities complement and advance the goals of the Task Force in the following manner:

** The Coalition is working to put the best available tools, techniques, and technologies in the hands of beekeepers so they can better manage their hives. President Obama called for a need for “… expanded collection and sharing of data related to pollinator losses [and] technologies for continuous monitoring of honey bee hive health … and new cost-effective ways to control bee pests and diseases.” The Coalition aims to support on-the-ground efforts underway to provide beekeepers with monitoring and expert advice and analyses to best manage hive health, as well as to promote development of new products and use of best practices for Varroa mite control. These activities will collectively help to reduce overwintering losses of managed honey bee colonies:

The Coalition is raising awareness of and helping to increasing funding for the Bee Informed Partnership’s Tech Transfer Teams to provide essential extension, education, and monitoring to beekeepers at all scales.

The Coalition is working in partnership with the private and public sector to prioritize and accelerate the identification and registration of products to effectively control Varroa destructor mites.

The Coalition is synthesizing best available information from academia, industry, and the public sector and developing first-of-their kind resources for commercial, small scale, and hobbyist beekeepers that bring together, in a single place, information on tools and practices for Varroa mite control.

** Coalition members are collaborating to ensure honey bees — especially those in and around production agriculture — have access to a varied and nutritious diet. Our work aligns with the Pollinator Health Task Force’s goal of restoring and enhancing 7 million acres of pollinator habitat, Federal actions and public-private partnerships. Restoration and enhancement of pollinator forage also supports the goal of reducing overwintering losses of managed honey bees.

In March 2015, the Coalition submitted recommendations to the Task Force regarding actions to increase and improve forage and habitat for honey bees and other pollinators through USDA conservation programs, public-private partnerships, and research. These recommendations emphasize adopting science-based and stakeholder-informed seed specifications and technical guidelines for USDA conservation programs specific to honey bees to encourage planting greater acreages of more nutritious, affordable, varied forage for honey bees. The recommendations also emphasize the value of public-private partnerships, demonstration projects, and information-sharing for promoting, establishing and evaluating honey bee forage. Finally, the recommendations emphasize the need for research and development to inform seed specifications and the development of nutritional supplements for honey bees when forage is lacking. The Coalition looks forward to working with Task Force members to further discuss and advance these recommendations as it implements the Strategy.

The Coalition is encouraging efforts among members and partners to promote agricultural practices that benefit pollinators. For example, the Coalition is working to help drive awareness and support for public-private forage development efforts like the Honey Bee and Monarch Butterfly Partnership, which offers an excellent example of the kind of public-private partnership called for by the Task Force. The Partnership provides a parallel effort that complements the US Department of Agriculture’s conservation program. These parallel efforts afford key opportunities for partners to raise awareness of and engage landowners in pollinator forage programs, provide monitoring support, and share lessons learned across different programs. These results can also help to inform improvements to future public-private programs and USDA conservation programs.

The Coalition is currently working to integrate more stakeholders and experts into its forage and nutrition discussions as it moves forward to advance the development of forage partnerships and projects as well as the development of pre-competitive solutions for improving honey bee nutrition supplements.

** The Coalition is advancing communication, education, and solution building across diverse stakeholders to control crop pests while safeguarding pollinator health. The Coalition’s activities align with President Obama’s call for “identification of existing and new methods and best practices to reduce pollinator exposure to pesticides” and support overall goals related to honey bee and pollinator health.

The Coalition has developed a quick guide for incident reporting and an accompanying article released in Bee Culture Magazine in May 2015; it is being promoted through Coalition member efforts.

The Coalition is bringing together beekeepers, agricultural producers, crop advisors, University extension, industry, and other stakeholders in the discussion and implementation of science-based pest management practices that are appropriate for the given regions, crops, and other contexts.

The Coalition is determining appropriate ways to support the State Managed Pollinator Protection Plans through engagement with leadership organizations and other key stakeholders. These important, state-led processes can affect wide-scale understanding of pollinator-friendly crop pest management practices.

** The Coalition is promoting outreach, education, and communications to raise awareness of honey bee health challenges and opportunities and to encourage collaboration to improve honey bee health. The Coalition’s activities align with and support the Task Force’s work to develop a public education plan as well as to promote public-private partnerships that will support the Task Force’s three overarching goals.

Coalition members are collaborating to deliver outreach materials about honey bee health and the value of honey bees, the multiple factors that impact honey bee health, the need to improve bee health through a diversity of approaches, the need for public-private collaboration across all stakeholders, and the message that beekeepers and farmers are part of ‘One Agriculture’ system supporting global food security. The Coalition is delivering tools ranging from its public-facing website and newsletter, to honey bee health informational signs for a variety of field settings, to information and messaging for use at conferences, workshops and tradeshows. Visit for more resources and information on honey bee health.

Through an innovative Bee Understanding program, Coalition members are also promoting increased stakeholder understanding through supply chain job swaps that help beekeepers and crop producers better understand each other’s operations, decision-making, and mutual concerns related to honey bee health. This effort is just getting started with field-based job swaps occurring this spring. It will continue to engage more stakeholders in on-the-ground learning in the future, while at the same time producing videos and other communications and outreach materials to help stakeholders and the general public gain appreciation for the importance of finding collaborative solutions for honey bee health.

Through these and other efforts, the Coalition looks forward to providing leadership and public-private collaboration in implementing the National Pollinator Health Strategy, supporting and accelerating the Task Force’s goals, and ensuring healthy pollinators, productive agriculture systems, and healthy ecosystems.


About the Honey Bee Health Coalition

The Honey Bee Health Coalition brings together beekeepers, growers, researchers, government agencies, agribusinesses, conservation groups, manufacturers and brands, and other key partners to improve the health of honey bees and other pollinators. Its mission is to collaboratively implement solutions that will help to achieve a healthy population of honey bees while also supporting healthy populations of native and managed pollinators in the context of productive agricultural systems and thriving ecosystems. The Coalition is focusing on accelerating collective impact to improve honey bee health in four key areas: forage and nutrition, hive management, crop pest management, and communications, outreach and education.

Through its unique network of private and public sector members, the Coalition fosters new partnerships, leverages existing efforts and expertise, and incubates and implements new solutions. The Coalition brings its diverse resources to bear in promoting communication, coordination, collaboration, and investment to strategically and substantively improve honey bee health in North America.

AJMCs ACO Coalition Explores the New Rules of Patient Engagement

SAN DIEGO, California (PRWEB) May 04, 2015

Getting patients to work with physicians, employers, and health plans to manage their health is critical to achieving the “triple aim” of better population health, improved patient satisfaction and reducing costs, but this will require a shift in thinking from stakeholders across the healthcare spectrum. This change also demands that health systems move beyond their traditional boundaries to reach hard-to-treat populations, according to speakers who took part in the third live meeting of the ACO and Emerging Healthcare Delivery Coalition.

Improving patient engagement, and the consequences of failing to do so, were themes of the meeting that took place April 30-May 1, 2015, at the historic Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, California. The Coalition is an initiative of The American Journal of Managed Care.

“How do we engage people in their own healthcare?” asked Coalition Chair Anthony Slonim, MD, DrPH, as he opened the meeting. Dr. Slonim, president and CEO of Renown Health in Reno, Nevada, set the tone for the speakers, panel discussions, and small-group workshops; and for networking time with fellow members.

Both the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and goals set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) connect payment with healthcare quality. For providers who are part of ACOs, financial success—even practice survival—now means looking beyond what happens during the office visit or trip to the hospital to all the factors that contribute to population health. Important takeaways included:

“Ninety-nine percent of health outcomes are not related to healthcare,” said Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP, vice president of Integrated Health Services for IBM Corporation. Factors such as diet, exercise, the environment, and socioeconomic status all contribute to health outcomes—and always have—but the rise of ACOs has brought them under the purview of healthcare systems.
For years, Dr. Rhee said, rising healthcare costs have limited hiring and the size of raises. This has forced employers to become more engaged in the health of workers. Now that the ACA has defined what employers must pay, more costs are being shifted to workers.
Many speakers discussed how reaching high cost, hard-to-treat patients requires partnerships with social service organizations and a willingness to meet basic needs. Howard C. Springer, administrative director of strategy for accountable care services for Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, offered an example: Efforts to get a mentally ill woman to exercise failed until her health team learned she wouldn’t go to swim class for lack of a bathing suit. So they bought her one.
Technology offers many tools for patient engagement, including add-ons for electronic health records, apps for smart phones, and wearable technology. But use of technology must be folded into the normal workflow or it will fail, said Ira Klein, MD, MBA, FACP, senior medical director, National Accounts, Clinical Sales and Strategy at Aetna.
Failure to engage patients, or to have provider contracts that address differences in patient populations, will lead to more disputes within ACOs. Mediation can offer a better way to resolve disputes between providers and the ACO. Patient engagement is so important that it could be the fourth part of a “quadruple aim,” said Leonard Fromer, MD, executive medical director, group practice forum and assistant clinical professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of California.
All agree that ACOs must address social and environmental factors that affect health, Coalition participants said quality metrics and reimbursement models have not caught up with this fact. After Springer presented a model for integrating behavioral health into primary care, Jennifer Lenz, assistant vice president, Quality Solutions Group, California, National Committee for Quality Assurance, acknowledged that getting quality metrics and CMS’ own reimbursement standards into alignment can be very difficult, and this lack of consistency can limit innovation.

Despite these challenges, ACOs are driving change, although it’s too early to declare any single new payment model superior to all others, said Suzanne F. Delbanco, PhD, executive director of Catalyst for Payment Reform. Things have come a long way since 1999, when the Institute of Medicine issued the groundbreaking report on the hospital safety crisis, To Err is Human. “No one wanted to believe it,” Dr. Delbanco said.

“It’s much more accepted today that quality does vary,” she said. “We know when we buy healthcare, we’re not getting the same healthcare every time we write a check.”

Unlike past attempts to overhaul healthcare, leaders in today’s payment reform movement seek improved health outcomes alongside efforts to rein in spending. For CPR, quality is an essential element. “Payment reform must have attention to quality, otherwise it’s just shifting costs around,” she said.

Upcoming events for the ACO Coalition, which now has 190 members, include web-based sessions on June 25, 2015, and September 24, 2015. The fall live meeting will be October 15-16, 2015, at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida.

About the ACO Coalition

As ACOs and other emerging delivery and payment models evolve and move away from traditional fee-for-service system models toward cost-effective and value-based care, the need to understand how these models will evolve is critical to building long-term strategic solutions. The mission of the ACO Coalition is to bring together a diverse group of key stakeholders, including ACO providers and leaders, payers, IDNs, retail and specialty pharmacy, academia, national quality organizations, patient advocacy, employers and pharmaceutical manufacturers to work collaboratively to build value and improve the quality and overall outcomes of patient care. Coalition members share ideas and best practices through live meetings, Web-based interactive sessions and conference calls. Distinguishing features are the Coalition’s access to leading experts and its small workshops that allow creative problem-solving. To learn more, click here.

CONTACT: Nicole Beagin

(609) 716-7777 x 131


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Honey Bee Health Coalition Releases Bee Healthy Roadmap to Improve Honey Bee Health

Keystone, Colorado (PRWEB) October 16, 2014

The Honey Bee Health Coalition, a coalition of more than 30 organizations and agencies from across food, agriculture, government and conservation, today released Bee Healthy, a roadmap to improve honey bee health through collective action that will accomplish more than any one group can achieve on its own. Facing unacceptable declines in honey bee health, the Coalition’s Bee Healthy Roadmap lays out specific priorities and actions that it will take to reverse these declines and improve the health of honey bees and other pollinators. The Roadmap also provides a framework for ongoing collaboration inviting anyone with a vested interest in honey bee health to work together to achieve its vision of Healthy Honey Bees, Healthy People, Healthy Planet.

Coalition establishes science-based platform for cross-industry coordination on four priority areas

“The Bee Healthy Roadmap lays out a specific set of priorities through which the Coalition will achieve its core mission,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland’s Department of Entomology and a member of the Coalition’s Steering Committee. “By collaboratively implementing solutions through partnerships across food, agriculture, government, and conservation partners,” he continued, “we can achieve a healthy population of honey bees and healthy populations of native and managed pollinators, productive agriculture systems, and thriving ecosystems.” The Coalition is committed to developing explicit goals, milestones and metrics to measure improvements in honey bee health. Knowing that the Coalition can’t improve honey bee health on its own, the Bee Healthy Roadmap identifies four priority areas that need immediate and consistent action from partners across the landscape. These include improving Hive Management, Forage & Nutrition, Crop Pest Management, and Cross-Industry Education, Outreach and Coordination. For each priority, the Bee Healthy Roadmap sets out specific actions the Coalition and its members will take and invites others to join forces or take steps on their own to improve pollinator health.

Improving honey bee health takes better management, technology, and innovation backed by science

Hive Management

“The Coalition is actively working to address major challenges to honey bee health, including poor nutrition and the need to protect bee health while controlling crop pests. One of the biggest threats is the Varroa destructor mite and even the best beekeepers could use help controlling it,” said George Hansen, Past President of the American Beekeeping Federation and a member of the Coalition’s Steering Committee and its Hive Management Working Group. “The Bee Healthy Roadmap invests in gathering and then transferring specific know-how and technologies to beekeepers to improve hive monitoring and training to control varroa mites and other pests and pathogens.” The Coalition also identified gaps in existing hive management research and will promote science-based innovations to close those gaps, including the development and registration of new products to address the varroa mite. In 2014 and 2015 the Coalition will help increase funding for “tech transfer teams” to go into the field and collect data and directly monitor bee health while also providing beekeepers with important information to inform management practices. The Coalition will also undertake the creation of a best practices guide for beekeepers for managing varroa mites.

Forage & Nutrition

“Bees, like most species, need a healthy, diverse habitat for their foraging diet,” said Peter Berthelsen, Director of Habitat Partnerships for Pheasants Forever, Inc., a member of the Coalition’s Steering Committee and Forage & Nutrition Working Group. “Which is why the Bee Healthy Roadmap focuses on building strategies to promote improved nutrition for honey bees through several important initiatives that can also benefit a broad range of other species’ foraging and habitat needs.” The Bee Healthy Roadmap calls for the development of high-quality, bee-friendly landscapes in places and seasons when bees can most use them — like flowers planted on transportation corridors or in and around farms, ranches and other production agriculture areas. Nutritional requirements vary from region to region, so the Coalition will begin this year by identifying strategies for meeting forage and nutrition needs in the agricultural lands of the American Upper Midwest and will later identify strategies in other regions of North America. The Coalition has also begun work to identify and promote the planting of bee-healthy forage along transportation corridors and rights-of-way and will continue to look at other opportunities for forage in private and public lands. The Coalition will also encourage the development of supplemental nutrition options for bees and the planting of bee-friendly cover crops. All of these solutions aim to create win-win solutions for bees, other species, agriculture producers, and other land owners.

Managing Crop Pests

“To feed a hungry planet we need to simultaneously manage agricultural pests while ensuring the health of bees and native pollinators,” said Gregory Sekulic, Agronomy Specialist at Canola Council of Canada and a member of the Coalition’s Crop Pest Management Working Group. “This Roadmap lays out plans for promoting crop- and product-specific pest management practices that enable us to do both.” To achieve this goal the Coalition will work to accelerate the adoption and use of the best known crop pest management practices, also known as Best Management Practices (BMPs). These BMPs include promoting and improving communication and coordination between beekeepers and producers to avoid honey bee losses, and also promoting better understanding and reporting of incidents of honey bee losses that impact bee health when they do occur.

Cross-Industry Collaboration

“The Coalition itself is a cross-sector collaborative platform and the success of our efforts depends on effective communication, outreach, and education across all stakeholders,” said Bill Kuckuck, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for CropLife America and a member of the Coalition’s Steering Committee and Outreach, Education and Communication Working Group. “That’s why the Bee Healthy Roadmap lays out specific plans for improving collaboration and communication throughout the food chain and with the general public.” The Coalition is building a set of tools to support its work and accelerate the adoption of best practices and technologies and will promote understanding across stakeholders.

In all of its efforts, the Coalition emphasizes the need for partners to join together in taking collective action that will achieve more than any one partner can accomplish on its own.

“The Coalition’s Bee Healthy Roadmap is very ambitious,” said The Keystone Center’s Julie Shapiro, the Coalition’s facilitator, “but by building off of the excellent collaboration among Coalition members to date, and with the help and support of new partners, we can achieve our goal of substantially improving honey bee health.”

To get involved in the Coalition or to learn how you can take action, please visit

About the Honey Bee Health Coalition

The Honey Bee Health Coalition brings together beekeepers, growers, researchers, government agencies, agribusinesses, conservation groups, manufacturers and brands, and other key partners to improve the health of honey bees and other pollinators. Our mission is to collaboratively implement solutions that will help to achieve a healthy population of honey bees while also supporting healthy populations of native and managed pollinators in the context of productive agricultural systems and thriving ecosystems. The Coalition is focusing on accelerating collective impact to improve honey bee health in four key areas: forage and nutrition, hive management, crop pest management, and communications, outreach and education.

Through its unique network of private and public sector members, the Coalition fosters new partnerships, leverages existing efforts and expertise, and incubates and implements new solutions. The Coalition brings its diverse resources to bear in promoting communication, coordination, collaboration, and investment to strategically and substantively improve honey bee health in North America.

Coalition members currently include Agricultural Retailers Association, Almond Board of California, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association, American Seed Trade Association, Bayer CropScience, Browning Honey Company, Canadian Honey Council, Canola Council of Canada, CropLife America, CropLife Canada, Ducks Unlimited, DuPont, Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Monsanto Company, Oregon State Beekeepers Association, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Corn Growers Association, Pheasants Forever, Pollinator Stewardship Council, Project Apis m., Saint Louis Zoo’s WildCare Institute Center for Native Pollinator Conservation, Syngenta, Unilever, United Soybean Board, University of Maryland’s Department of Entomology, U.S. Canola Association, and Western Apicultural Society. The Coalition also includes ex officio participation from U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

About The Keystone Center

The Honey Bee Health Coalition is facilitated by The Keystone Center, an independent, non-profit organization specializing in collaborative decision-making processes for agriculture, environment, education, energy, and health policy issues.

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