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Workplace Wellness Programs

Sep 14, 2014

Only three months left in this year and it's no surprise that by the time New Year's rolls around in January, people are ready to make a resolution to commit to a healthier lifestyle in the year ahead.

How can companies assist with that goal? By offering a wellness program to keep employees on track the whole year through.

"Helping employees understand their own risk factors and incentivizing them to make healthy choices while offering a variety of engaging activities throughout the year can change an individual's trajectory to health," said Julie Day, medical director of the University of Utah Health and Wellness Center. "The workplace is an ideal place to promote a healthy culture everyday through utilizing peer support, friendly contests, offering healthy rewards, and mentoring."

At University of Utah Health, employees have access to a top-notch wellness plan that started in 2007. Employees can get help to quit smoking, weight control, stress management and learn how to cook healthier through making an easy appointment or signing up for a fun cooking class on a week night —all courtesy of their employer.

To enroll in the appropriately named WellU program, employees must complete a general health assessment in conjunction with Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield. Employees log-on to a web site and complete a questionnaire about
their health habits, which is designed to be the start of a conversation between the employee and their health care provider or wellness coach on behaviors that could be changed for better health.

Besides the general health assessment, employees participating in the wellness program must also participate in two activities over a period of time. They can choose from health care provider services including:

  • an annual physical exam,
  • preventive health screenings,
  • flu shot,
  • dental cleaning and exam,
  • breast cancer screening (women),
  • cervical cancer screening (women),
  • osteoporosis screening (women),
  • prostate cancer screening (men), and
  • colorectal cancer screening (men and women).

Employees can also choose to participate in a selection of community partner services, including campus recreation programs PEAK Health and Fitness classes like spinning or aerobics, and a host of other options available at the University Health and Wellness Center.

As part of its benefits package, University of Utah Health pays for the first two services provided to employees, who may wish to continue with appointments and classes at a nominal cost. And if employees complete requirements of the program, they receive a discount on their health coverage of up to $40.