Walking the walk, with food and competition

By Richard Asinof
Contributing Writer
When University Medicine Foundation, a medical practice employing about 200 physicians and 110 support staff, met recently with its representative from Health Advocate, the third-party administrator of its wellness program, the group was pleasantly surprised to learn that “no other client was as active as we were.” This, despite the fact that the firm’s wellness program was only a year old, said Tammy Lederer, University Medicine’s chief human resources officer. More

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Walking the walk, with food and competition

PBN PHOTO/ BRIAN MCDONALD
FARM FRESH: Nurse Practitioner Rachel Roach picks up her fresh vegetables – part of a R.I. Department of Health program – at University Medicine at Rhode island Hospital.
By Richard Asinof
Contributing Writer
Posted 8/13/12

When University Medicine Foundation, a medical practice employing about 200 physicians and 110 support staff, met recently with its representative from Health Advocate, the third-party administrator of its wellness program, the group was pleasantly surprised to learn that “no other client was as active as we were.” This, despite the fact that the firm’s wellness program was only a year old, said Tammy Lederer, University Medicine’s chief human resources officer.

“As a health care organization, our mission is to make people well, so it’s good that we have adopted a wellness program in our workplace. We want to be an example to the patients,” Lederer said.

The staff likes healthy competition, said Lederer, so University Medicine recently completed a three-month fitness challenge with another health care company, Rhode Island Medical Imaging, with individual and team winners recognized for both percentage of weight lost and time spent exercising. University Medicine won for team weight loss, Rhode Island Medical Imaging won for team exercise.

University Medicine is also participating with the R.I. Department of Health’s distribution of “veggie boxes” – fresh from local farms, delivered every Wednesday afternoon, to encourage healthy eating by employees.

University Medicine also encouraged employees to complete a personal health-risk assessment, with a 5 percent premium reduction tied to participation. It was an effort to broaden employees’ knowledge about their health data, the first step in learning ways to make productive changes. The medical practice achieved an 83 percent participation rate for its first year. •

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