EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants
Senior Wellness Consultant
BS in Health Education and Promotion, Worksite Studies, East Carolina University and minors in Business and Biology. Most Outstanding Senior in the program.
Certificate of Public Health Sciences concentrating in Administration Management, University of Colorado, Anshultz Medical.
I was honored by Employee Benefit Advisor as their 2016 Wellness Advisor of the Year and as a Top 30 Thought Leader in the benefits consulting and advising field.
My most valuable professional development experience has been the opportunity to study and learn under Dr. David Chenoweth, a national leader in worksite health and productivity management.
I have always been a health-focused individual making worksite wellness the perfect path for me.
While working with a national ambulance company and first responder, “Company X”, I helped to determine that health care consumerism and education were key issues in managing rising medical costs.
Many of the 3000+ plus drivers, EMT’s, and medical staff are knowledgeable with treatment of illness, disease and injuries but they did not understand access and utilization of the healthcare system. Claims data pointed to an overutilization of ER and hospital care and underutilization of PCP’s and preventive exams.
This industry works long hours and when illness or a medical needs surface; the convenience of the hospital ER setting is too convenient. Other concerns of note were a high frequency of respiratory, musculoskeletal and digestive claims.
To address these issues with Company X, we rank ordered priorities by highest risk, financial hardship, what could be implemented now and what needed more time and strategy to implement.
From our discovery meetings we came up with a 1 year, 3 year and 5 year strategy to educate staff on healthcare consumerism, implement programs addressing highest cost claims, and policy to assist the staff on work/life balance and engagement. We identified metrics to evaluate the success of the program and key components that were needed to implement each phase successfully.
Year 1 focus would be on improving health care utilization trends and getting the staff up to date on proactive healthcare needs and goals. Company X was partnered with a wellness provider who assisted in tracking annual exams, blood lipid markers and offered a tobacco cessation program. The CEO of Company X delivered a positive message to the employees and the investment the company was making for employees along their wellness journey. Each of the 8 regions identified wellness champion leaders were along with a support team.
Data is still being collected for year 1 results. Initial results suggest a decrease in ER visits, increased PCP and preventive visits, early identification of chronic diseases and adherence to Rx, and reduced gaps in care. The rest of phase 1 will be evaluated based on participation, as engagement will continue to be the focus of phase 2, with feedback/experience surveys to further validate and assess efforts. Policy changes are being evaluated and will be strategically implemented over the duration of the implementation efforts.
Over the past year as a Senior Wellness Consultant at EPIC, I have worked within my team of health promotion professionals to build the company’s employee benefits specialty consulting practice, webinar content, best practices protocol, and write a chapter in EPIC’s wellness playbook.
Being a relatively new company, we have had the opportunity to create, from the ground up, our own approach, process and protocols for delivering health, wellness and health management to those we serve. That is one of the biggest achievements I have had: to be with this team to create and develop the health and wellness practice.
Not only do I bring wellness knowledge to the workplace, I live it day-to-day through a strong commitment to personal health and fitness, even attempting to qualify for the Olympic trials in 2012. I moved to California and fell in love with the trails and became a sponsored athlete. My endeavors include races from ½ marathons to Transvulcania, a 50-miler out on the Canary Islands.
One of the things I believe sets me apart from other practitioners in my field is that I am objective and open minded and look at programming and strategies from multiple perspectives. Understanding the driving force behind why a company has decided to pursue wellness, what their objectives and goals are, what their culture and environment are, who the audience is and how the message will be perceived are all important. Many employers feel that policies related to ACA, EEOC and compliance regulations are a framework to create a wellness program when in fact they are not. There is a time and place for incentives but too often a company or practitioner expects them to support or be the program and promote change and it just doesn’t happen that way. My ability to see the picture as a holistically, rather than through the lens of siloes really helps to set me apart.
We are at an interesting time in corporate health promotion. You can see the shift starting to take place where wellness is no longer just the “check the box” process of getting your biometrics, doing your health assessment, talking to a health coach and doing a walking challenge.
As our culture shifts more into a “what’s in it for me” way of thinking there is an opportunity to tell a compelling story about worksite wellness and its true worth. Companies are starting to expand their metrics of success to not just health outcomes but presenteeism and absenteeism. Individuals are looking for a new way to connect with their companies and by creating a place that not only tells you, incents you or penalizes you for your health and well-being but truly invests in it by walking the walk as a company. I think we will start to see a shift to where ROI isn’t just measured by what was saved on health care expenditures but also by the positive impact on individual health and wellbeing and the quality of a person’s life, both personally and professionally.