Making the ‘healthy choice’ is easy here

For the past three years, Lifespan, the state’s largest health care-services provider, has stressed one thing to its employees: know your numbers. It has nothing to do with sales, output or operating costs, but refers to an attitude that the company states is part of its DNA: health. More

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HEALTHIEST EMPLOYERS

Making the ‘healthy choice’ is easy here

PBN PHOTO/ RUPERT WHITELEY
ALL THE RIGHT FOODS: Chef Daniel Van Etten leads a tour of the healthy food offerings at Lifespan’s cafeteria, including many kinds of fruit.
Posted 8/13/12

For the past three years, Lifespan, the state’s largest health care-services provider, has stressed one thing to its employees: know your numbers. It has nothing to do with sales, output or operating costs, but refers to an attitude that the company states is part of its DNA: health.

Through a $200 incentive, the company’s 12,500 employees have been encouraged to enroll in a three-part initiative called “myHealth.” The first part begins with an online health-risk appraisal, consisting of a 90-item questionnaire. The second is a biometric screening that measures things like body-mass index, waist circumference and blood pressure.

“Most people don’t know these things about themselves,” said the company’s senior vice president of human resources, Brandon Melton. “Of the 5,000 employees who took part in the program [in 2012], 60 percent required four to five sessions with a qualified health coach.” To incentivize the third and final stage, employees were offered another $200. “I’ve seen a change in mindset, from the ‘show me the money’ to ‘I need to be healthy,’ ” said Melton.

In its short history, myHealth has demonstrated its fortifying effects. With a decrease in workforce hypertension, cancer, diabetes and asthma, the effect has been single-digit decreases in the premium for Lifespan’s self-insured health plan, a decrease of almost 10,000 leave-of-absence days over the previous year, and an annual savings of $3 million to $4 million due to absence management.

Melton noted, “Sheila Jacobs, our health promotion and wellness manager, says about our approach to health, ‘We want to make the healthy choice easy,’ ” •

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