BLaST IU #17
Health and Wellness Coordinator
2.5 years in the field
Over 3,000 employees
After earning a master of Science degree in biology from Bucknell University in 1995 and working as a certified athletic trainer for 21 years, I accepted my current position as the health and wellness coordinator for the Lycoming County Insurance Consortium. In 2014, I became a certified WELCOA Faculty member with training in several areas. Our consortium won the Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce and Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s 2014 Healthy Workplace Award. With my unique experience as a certified athletic trainer and WELCOA faculty member, I strive to deliver a well-rounded health and wellness experience for our employees.
In 2012, when I took over the health and wellness program, employee participation was very low and the districts had stopped doing health screenings at the workplace. At the same time medical claims for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol were continuing to climb, and morale regarding wellness was skeptical. After surveying our employees, we found that it was necessary to revamp our strategy in order to get people excited and involved with employee wellness. In the fall of 2012, we invested financial resources and promoted health screenings to all full-time employees and their spouses. We also began providing health screenings at a discounted rate for part-time employees with the districts. I worked with Susquehanna Health System to plan what type of screenings we could offer and how those screenings would help our employees better understand their health. We decided that a full cholesterol panel and glucose screening along with height, weight, blood pressure and pulse would provide an employee with a good starting point. We were able to give immediate results along with educational material and consultations to each employee after their test results. During the first year, our employees were excited to see the results within two minutes of their blood test, and more importantly, they were able to talk with me about their results and get immediate feedback. In 2013, we saw an increase of 28% in the number of people being screened from 2012. We were also able to provide a look back to the previous year for those that had been screened in 2012 so they could understand how their numbers have changed. If a person’s results were significantly different than the year before, we could provide them with the opportunity to set up a private consultation with me to see what lifestyle and behavior improvements could be made. I also provided follow-up with individuals who came back with results that put them at risk for serious health conditions to make sure they had made appointments with their physicians in order to discuss their results. Additionally, I have worked with health coaches from Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania to provide support for our employees and this has become an integral part of our wellness program. We are now in our third year of offering health screenings, and we are seeing similar results in the number of staff participating. We are also seeing a decrease in risk scores of employees with chronic conditions of diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia by 9.5%. Capturing administrative support was integral in pushing our health screenings forward, and with over 3,000 employees and their spouses eligible to particpate, the impact has been significant. Choosing this intervention has helped employees with high risk conditions gain the support they need in helping to manage their health status. Furthermore, we anticipate that these award winning preventative measures will save the school systems significant dollars in medical claims in future years.
As a leader in health and wellness for the Lycoming County Insurance Consortium, I feel it is my duty to educate, motivate and provide an example of how behavior changes can make a difference in someone’s life. Even with a busy schedule of work, sports and children, I am a physically active person and adapt healthy eating habits so I can be a great example for our employees. Each district with which I work has its own leadership, policies, mission and values. Being able to work closely with each of them allows me to adjust programming within each district and to provide them with the best opportunities for their employees. I can also provide our employees with that personal touch that they may not get otherwise by working with them individually. I believe being a good leader requires listening to what the employees and leadership want, and then adapting programs that fit their needs within each district.
In 2013, we started an incentive program called BeHIP (Better Health Incentive Program), which uses online health assessments, health screenings and many other activities to offer our employees solutions for behavior change. By partnering with Blue Health Solutions to offer some of these activities, our employees have many resources at their disposal. A major effort in our programming has been to add a primary care physician declaration to our incentive program as our compliance rate for routine physical exams were around 30% for all of our members. By including the primary care physician declaration, we are able to help employees who may not have a primary care provider find one. For those who may have one, but haven’t made regular visits, we encourage them to make an appointment. With each employee health screening, we send the results to their primary care physician within 7-10 days.
I believe one of the biggest opportunities we have over the next five years is the ability to educate ourselves and our employees about living better and healthier lives and providing support for them when their health status has changed. One of the directions that I am focusing on in our area is helping other employers improve their processes for the health and wellness of their employees. I am presenting to other area employers the best practices that we have managed in our employee wellness program, specifically with the West Branch Human Resources group. I believe it is truly important to have that personal touch with your employees so they feel valued and important in their role as an employee and a person. Sharing our successes with other employers helps our community as a whole by providing better health care and healthier lifestyles.