Wellness at work: Mission Health launches employee health management program

WORKING OUT: Mission Health launches new wellness program. From left: Jennifer McGrath, Anna Walz, Gretchen Heacock, Tammy Israel, Devon Bush, Kathy Bumgarner.
WORKING OUT: Mission Health launches new wellness program. From left: Jennifer McGrath, Anna Walz, Gretchen Heacock, Tammy Israel, Devon Bush, Kathy Bumgarner.

It’s common sense that employers have a vested interest in employee health. After all, people can’t work if they’re sick, and people who aren’t feeling their best are less likely to do their best at work. Unfortunately, long hours and high stress on the job often stand in the way of an individual making healthy choices and carving out time for regular exercise.

Mission Health hopes to remove those barriers and encourage employees to take better care of themselves with a new program called MyHealthyLife WellConnect, a health management and wellness program that encourages employees to improve their health using personal fitness trackers, incentive campaigns and online assessment and education tools. The program will be extended to employers in the region later this year.

“It is critical that our caregivers take their health seriously, as healthy caregivers ultimately equates to improved patient care,” says Anna Walz, Mission Health director, system wellness. “As the region’s leading health system and a national Truven Analytics Top 15 Health System, Mission Health has a responsibility for overall population health and wellness and must serve as a wellness role model for the broader community.”

Mission Health is currently launching the program for 5,000 members of its own staff and will expand to the more eligible employees by September. While the program is designed to benefit employees and create a positive work environment, it’s also aimed at the bottom line, with goals such as enhancing productivity, lowering health care costs for both the employer and employees and reducing absenteeism.

Walz says employees are already responding enthusiastically to the new program, with 3,000 eligible participants already enrolled. So far, employees have collectively achieved 59.4 million steps since July 1, with an average of 4,433 steps per day or 2.11 miles.

The program got a test run at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital and Transylvania Regional Hospital in May and June, and feedback was largely positive, says Walz. One participant said, “I had not realized how motivating it would be to have an incentive to make time in my full-time schedule at work and over commitments at home to allow for time to exercise.” Other participants enjoyed the competitive spirit of the program, as well as the incentives for doing well.

 

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About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is an editorial assistant and staff writer for the Mountain Xpress. She can be reached at lmclellan@mountainx.com.

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