“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller
Providing an employee wellness program to employees in one school district can be challenging but try offering wellness services to 22 school districts over 200 square miles. Allegany-Cattaraugus Schools Medical Health Plan in NY is making this happen with the help of its strategic partners. Read how this team found unique strategies to break down barriers and increase participation in the Health Plan’s wellness program.
As the executive sponsor of the Health Plan wellness program, Tom Potter, CFO is committed to providing a quality wellness program to over 5,100 eligible employees, retirees and spouses on the Health Plan. Tom and the Health Plan believed in leveraging the expertise of others to help them reach their goal.
Premier Consulting Associates has been the Health Plan’s trusted advisor since 2009. This firm understands the unique culture of each school and has formed relationships with the staff in all 22 districts. Interactive Health was recommended by Premier Consulting as the wellness partner of choice for the Health Plan over 5 years ago. Interactive Health leverages over 25 years of experience providing wellbeing services to school systems across the country.
The partners meet regularly to review the wellness program goals, performance and district feedback. In 2018, participation in the annual health screens was lower than expected. Multiple barriers to participation were uncovered including difficulties obtaining leadership buy-in and finding the right wellness champion at each district to promote the program. Confidentiality concerns, differences in district culture and lack of a meaningful incentive to motive members to participate were also identified.
Cathy Lambert, manager wellness services at Premier Consulting served as the boots on the ground to visit each district and explain the benefits of the wellness program. She manually registered members and obtained stakeholder buy-in. Each district identified a wellness champion and created 2019 participation goals.
Lindsay Magera, account manager at Interactive Health implemented a staggered approach for the health screening events allowing the screens to be held anytime throughout the school year. Smaller schools were combined to meet testing minimums and off-site testing was added as an additional screening option. Since teachers have trouble leaving the classrooms, floating subs were used so teachers could attend the screens.
A combination of the above strategies and a change in the incentive structure resulted in a 27% increase in health screen participation. Traction is growing among the members and superintendents are calling to learn more about the program. Through the wellness program, the Health Plan is showing its members they care by providing a valuable benefit and feel it is helping to keep premiums low.
“The wellness program has evolved over time and we are starting to break down barriers,” says Tom Potter. Evolution of the program continues into 2020 with new communication, program and incentive strategies.
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