I am a Registered Nurse currently employed by Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company as the Health/Safety/Wellness Manager. We have 720 employees in 12 states with the majority, 550, in the home office in Grinnell, Iowa. We are a property/casualty insurance company.I have worked in health promotion population health management for 10 years.
Helping with the company picnic
I am a Registered Nurse with a Master’s Degree in Nursing Education. I am also a certified Health Coach from the National Society of Health Coaches and hold a managed care nurse certification from American Association of Managed Care Nurses. I am also a WELCOA Faculty member. I have a strong background in disease management such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, tobacco cessation counseling, nutrition counseling, weight management, and stress management. I was also instrumental in Iowa tobacco policy changes in the late 1990's when the state became non-smoking, leading a program to have hospital campuses statewide become tobacco free. For my tobacco policy work, I was the recipient of the 2006 Sword of Hope Award from American Cancer Society, the Iowa Health Foundation 2002 Community Prize Award, and the 2007 Iowa Governor's Hermina Award. I have a strong background in disease management such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, tobacco cessation counseling, nutrition counseling, weight management, and stress management. While employed at Vermeer Corporation, my leadership was recognized by the 2008 CHD Meridian Healthcare Leadership Award. I have lead two companies to WELCOA GOLD awards for excellence in wellness. Moving from sick care to wellness, I have been rewarded with helping people manage their disease or remain low risk and realize better health. Transferring the knowledge I have to others and the ability to motivate individuals toward positive behavior changes is more important to me than any paper recognition. In 2011, I had a vision for a more medical model for our company health benefits. I presented my vision along with a feasibility study of offering an onsite clinic and disease management program for our employees and families. Health Matters, was started in 2012 and has grown into a free standing outpatient clinic for disease management and urgent care along with weekly stress management group sessions. A fitness center was opened in the fall of 2013. The addition of the stress management aspect for total worker health is quite unique. More than 4000 visits were seen in the clinic last year and 100 people remain engaged in weekly group meetings with the licensed social worker/therapist. I work to tie together education as well as offerings in the clinic. One example being a presentation from our local surgical office regarding skin cancer prevention followed by promoting skin cancer screening appointments in our clinic. That presentation, viewed by 212, either at the lunch meeting or via videotaped recording, resulted in 250 skin cancer screening appointments with 5 early cancers detected and treated. Early cancer detection is priceless! It became a “badge of honor” to have a bandage from the skin screening and tell your story. Beyond providing clinic benefit and educational offerings for the employees, the company sees positive results in regards to retention and recruitment, decreased absenteeism, and reduced healthcare cost burden. Health insurance cost for Grinnell Mutual has remained relatively flat over the last 5 years, some years even having a negative percent plan renewal. Nationally, health insurance experiences an annual increase of 8-12%. Analysis of our company health claims data and aggregate biometrics reveals in the past 5 years a decrease in measurements of fasting blood sugar (6%), BMI (2%), blood pressure (7%), and cholesterol (12%). There has also been an increase in reported happiness and stress control based on an annual wellness questionnaire which is completed by 80% of our employee population. Mental health claims are fewer and our utilization of our EAP has increased due to employee awareness. Preventative care/routine diagnosis is the 4th highest claims paid per diagnosis group on our health plan. This is exactly where we want to be spending our dollars. These reductions, taking place over the course of a few years, are the result of our education and health promotion programs, as well as a change in the culture toward healthier living. Participation in the wellness program is voluntary. As the company culture has evolved to be more wellness based, participation in the program has reached 78%. In consideration of the WELCOA 7 Benchmarks, undertaking a medical model of health benefit delivery takes support from the upper management and board of directors; working closely with the benefit team, wellness team and management team to realize and promote the vision; and then collecting and substantiating the success with the data mentioned above. I live a healthy lifestyle and “walk the talk” with a few examples of initiating a Family Fitness Day, Grinnell Mutual’s own Mutual in Motion 5K, and grocery store tours, “What’s in my Pantry”. I believe the successful implementation of our onsite clinic, group stress counseling meetings, and fitness center and made great strides for our population health management. Grinnell Mutual believes that our greatest asset is our employees. We have created a culture that shows that, not only to our employees but to their families, the community, and the new talent we hope to recruit. The biggest opportunity I see in health promotion is increasing employee engagement. How can we get someone to care about their health while they still have it? That’s the big question. We have a Wellness Rock Star bulletin board which highlights each month an employee that has improved their health and tells their story. Our employees find strength and courage in the shared stories from their peers. The Rock Star even gets a rock (yes, a real rock!) to set on their desk. How can I generate more rock stars? That is my biggest opportunity for the future. It comes without influence from politics and doesn’t take much money but can have an impact beyond measure. Coming full circle, the end goal of the program is for those participants to take the healthy living information home and share it with their families, extending the knowledge and healthy living lifestyle beyond the corporate setting.