As Steve Buterbaugh noted in the previous post, successful Wellness Programs need specific goals and top level support. These two factors play out in the design and implementation of the programs.
Wellness Programs have been successfully implemented by many central Pennsylvania companies. One successful program was highlighted by David Wenner in a recent article about D&E Communications. D&E’s Wellness Program likely succeeded because it had a specific goal (90% employee participation in a health assessment) and it had a commitment from the top of the organization(CEO personal appeals). These aspects are outlined in Mr. Wenner’s article as follows:
D&E had been looking for a way to hold down health insurance premiums, which had risen 12 percent in 2005 and 20 percent in 2004, said Judy Naylor, vice president of human resources.
Highmark Blue Shield recommended its wellness program, Lifestyle Returns. The insurer offered D&E a 2 percent premium reduction this year if 90 percent of employees participated in the first two steps of Lifestyle Returns, Naylor said. Employees had to pledge to become more health conscious and complete an online health risk assessment.
D&E qualified for the premium reduction, which amounted to about $100,000. It divided the money among participating employees, giving each a $200 reward.
Participation reached 65 percent after about six months, then stalled. CEO James Morozzi begin visiting each work site and making personal appeals. In the end, 96 percent of employees completed the health risk assessment, which asks about their health-related habits.