Wellness Edition, Number 4
Wellness Q & A with Bob Seligson, NCMS
CHOICES recently sat down with Robert W. Seligson, Executive Vice
President/CEO of the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS), to discuss the
importance of workplace wellness programs. The NCMS has approximately 40
employees located in Raleigh and provides health insurance to its
employees through the NCMS Plan.
CHOICES: As an
organization, what is the North Carolina Medical Society’s position on
workplace wellness programs?
Mr. Seligson: The NCMS has
long promoted healthy lifestyle programs for North Carolina’s citizens.
Our members and their staffs see everyday the impact of unhealthy
lifestyles on their patients. We believe that effective wellness programs
lead to better lifestyle choices, which in turn lead to a healthier
CHOICES: Are there particular wellness programs
that the NCMS promotes?
Mr. Seligson: The NCMS has adopted
several resolutions supporting a tobacco-free society; I believe that
North Carolina Prevention Partners is one of several organizations in the
state that do a particularly good job of promoting tobacco-free
workplaces. We also support the Healthy Carolinian program, Be Active
North Carolina, and the Senior Games of North Carolina, among others.
CHOICES: And as an employer, what efforts has the NCMS made
to promote wellness?
Mr. Seligson: As CEO of the NCMS, I
try to lead by example. Personally, being fit and healthy is critical.
Working in health care is a stressful and challenging environment, whether
you work for a medical practice or an organization like the NCMS. I would
not be able to keep up with the pace of changes in health care if I didn’t
pay attention to my physical health with exercise and moderation.
I believe strongly in promoting wellness concepts to our
employees. The NCMS is a tobacco-free organization and we have started a
staff wellness committee. Some changes we are making include offering
healthy snack options in our vending machines and establishing guidelines
for healthy catering options when we have meetings here in the office.
This year we are rewarding all employees who complete a personal Health
Risk Assessment by increasing the value of their health benefits. Next, we
will complete a Healthy Workplace Assessment provided by North Carolina
Prevention Partners to help us identify areas for improvement that we can
focus on as our next steps. One of my personal goals in this area is to
motivate our employees to live fit lifestyles, with the ultimate goal of
increasing the quality of their lives.
resources has the NCMS utilized in developing its workplace wellness
Mr. Seligson: Some of the work has been done by
our staff; ultimately you have to have buy-in and support from the
employees to make this successful. We also had significant support from
the NCMS Employee Benefit Plan in this effort. They worked with our human
resources department to develop an internal action plan and they have
conducted on-site educational sessions for our staff about the resources
they offer to support healthy lifestyles. These services are provided at
no extra cost. I consider this to be a valuable part of our Plan. The NCMS
Plan is also committed to supporting our efforts on a long-term basis.
Overall, our efforts so far have required an investment of time and energy
rather than dollars from our limited budget. I hope that this effort will
yield solid results as an investment both in the health of our employees
and ultimately our bottom line in terms of savings of health care dollars.
The more money we can save on our health care costs, the more we can
invest in our employees in other ways.
CHOICES: What does
the NCMS hope to accomplish by promoting wellness programs in its
Mr. Seligson: In the short-term, we want to have
healthy and productive employees that are prepared to meet the objectives
of the NCMS. In the long-term, I expect to see a return on this investment
by helping to control future healthcare costs and reducing absenteeism.
Our workload doesn’t change when employees are out sick—we are still
accountable for meeting our goals and objectives. We are more efficient
and successful when our employees are both physically and mentally healthy
and prepared to do their best at work.
CHOICES: How does
the current debate in this country about health system reform affect
employee wellness programs?
Mr. Seligson: In the health
system reform debate, one area that everyone agrees upon is that Americans
must make better lifestyle choices in order to decrease health costs and
medical spending. As employers, this is key considering the significant
budget dollars we spend on employee benefits. NCMS members know first-hand
that we all benefit from healthier lifestyles, regardless of where health
system reform takes us as a country. I encourage all of our members to
promote healthy lifestyles for their colleagues and staff, as well as
Online Healthy Living Programs
Many people want to live a healthier lifestyle but are not sure where
to start. Your employees could be facing the same challenge. If so, the
NCMS Plan has good news. Employees and their family members on the NCMS
Plan can participate in several customized programs that are easy to
understand, easy to apply and tailored specifically to their needs. These
programs also offer interactive tools that can be found online. They
include a medical library, exercise videos, calorie counters, recipes and
tobacco cessation support. Read on to learn more about the five Online
Healthy Living programs. Employees and covered family members can sign
up for one or all of them…at no charge!
program creates a weight loss and physical activity plan for the specific
The Nourish™ program provides enrolled employees
with a personalized nutrition program that fits their specific lifestyle.
The Breathe™ program helps create a plan with strategies
for decreasing dependency on smoking, dealing with cravings, and quitting
The Relax™ program helps in dealing with the
stresses of everyday life—including stress related to work, school,
family, health, relationships, and finances.
The Care™ for
Your Back program helps tackle the pain, frustration and stress from back
pain, and offers advice on how to prevent back injuries.
Online Healthy Living programs are available through the NCMS Plan
and the plan administrator, BCBSNC. Each module provides specialized
health content, support tools and educational products that will help your
employees learn more about their health. These award-winning programs
offer information that is sent just when a boost may be needed.
enroll in these programs, employees can log on to www.bcbsnc.com and sign on with their
user ID and password. If they don’t have a user ID, they can easily
register for one. Then choose the Health Programs tab and click on
Online Wellness Programs. Next, click on the yellow button to be
directed to the Healthy Living Support page. By clicking on the
drop down menu, employees can choose which of the five programs they are
interested in. Once they select their program, they will be asked to fill
out a brief confidential enrollment questionnaire. Soon they will begin
receiving supportive information and resources to help them reach their
From all of us at the NCMS Plan, we hope your practice
finds these programs helpful and wish you and your employees much success!
For more information about Online Health Living programs or any of
the NCMS Plan's employer wellness programs, contact your account
representative or call (800) 662-7917.
About the North Carolina Medical Society
As the largest physician organization in the state, the North Carolina
Medical Society (NCMS) is devoted to representing the interests of
physicians and protecting the quality of patient care. The NCMS Plan,
sponsored by the NCMS, is the only statewide employee benefits plan
designed specifically for North Carolina physicians.
information about many other benefits of NCMS membership, visit www.ncmedsoc.org.