Wellness Edition, Number 1
Welcome to a special Wellness Edition of CHOICES! In this
issue, we will focus on wellness in an effort to educate you about the
resources available and practical ways to improve the health of your
employees. Partnering with you, we can encourage healthier lifestyles and
control costs with wellness programs that work.
Create a Culture of Wellness
A wellness program in your practice should begin with a strong and
supportive foundation. A foundation that is comprehensive and consistent
with your message of wellness. We encourage you to educate your employees
about the resources available through the NCMS Plan and its plan
administrator (BCBSNC), but also consider some of these very practical
ideas for creating a culture of wellness in your workplace.
As a healthcare provider, your practice shares a common goal with the
NCMS Plan, the goal of promoting health and well-being. A great way to
achieve this goal is to implement a tobacco-free workplace policy at your
own practice. Here are just a few benefits to becoming a tobacco-free
- Easier for your employees to speak with patients at every visit
about quitting their use of tobacco products.
- Employees take fewer sick days
- Help employees quit using tobacco products
Becoming a tobacco-free practice overnight may not be the best
approach. Consider a planned approach that may span up to twelve months to
reach the ultimate goal of 100% tobacco-free. There are a wealth of free
resources available to assist you and your employees.
There are descriptions of brochures, posters, and other promotional
materials and programs that directly address tobacco cessation. We can
assist you with obtaining any of the materials described.
visit Quit Now NC!
for model policies and a template for a 12-month timeline to a
tobacco-free practice. This site specifically targets healthcare
facilities, so it is particularly relevant.
Healthy Vending Options
Do you have a vending machine in your office filled with potato chips,
candy bars, and pastries? How about soda machines with sugar-filled soft
Creating a culture of wellness requires changes both large
and small. Studies show that when given healthy options, employees are
more likely to make changes in their diet and lifestyle. Try adding light
juices, flavored waters and only diet soft drinks. If that's too drastic,
perhaps you can work with your vending service to price the products in
such a way that encourages healthier choices. Price the waters and light
juices less than the soft drinks.
What about the snacks? How about
Peppermint Patties instead of Snickers bars? 100-Calorie snack packs of
Oreos instead of a whole package? The NCMS Plan has compiled a list of
healthy vending alternatives for you to share with your vending machine
operators. Visit http://www.medicalmutualgroup.com/mmic/media/pdf/wellness_resources/Approved_Vending_List.pdf
for more suggestions for vending alternatives.
And don't forget
about the pharmaceutical and other sales representatives that so
generously bring lunch and snacks for you and your employees. Don't be shy
about asking them to take your "culture of wellness" into account when
Policies that Support Wellness
Hired a new employee lately? One of the first things you probably did
was sit them down and review your practice's employee handbook and
policies. How great would it be if from the outset your employees
understood how important their health is to you, their employer, and the
impact their health has on the practice and their fellow team members.
One policy that can easily be modified to highlight your
practice's emphasis on health and wellness is your leave policy.
What types of leave are acceptable under your current policy? Vacation,
sick, and bereavement leave are common, but what about wellness leave. In
a formal policy, consider allowing, and even encouraging, employees to
take wellness leave for their annual physical exams including
colonoscopies, mammograms, and routine physicals. Perhaps it's simply
another way employees can use the sick leave they already accrue. Sure, it
may be more time out of the office, but the benefits of a well employee
far outweigh the short term loss of time on the job. You may be surprised
how many employees do not get the check ups they should because they do
not feel it is supported by their employer or that it could be an
unacceptable use of leave.
Online Health Assessments: The Best Way to Start
We all know how important it is to make healthy lifestyle choices. We
know we should eat well and exercise, and that by doing so we can feel
better, be more energetic, and even live longer. But how do we know where
to start? Having a good understanding of your current health and wellness
is the first step. That is why the NCMS Plan has partnered with Blue Cross
and Blue Shield of North Carolina to bring you and your employees an
online Health Assessment. This is a free and confidential assessment.
Every employee that is covered by the NCMS Plan is eligible, as well as
any family members over the age of 18 who are covered by the Plan.
So what is an online Health Assessment and why should you take it
and encourage your employees to do the same? The health assessment will
help you learn more about your health and steps you can take to improve
it. You will be asked simple questions about your health history and daily
choices and when you are done, you’ll instantly receive a personalized
assessment of your health, information about potential risk factors, a
preventive screening schedule, nutrition and fitness guidelines and tips
to kick-start your overall plan for better health. You will be asked if
you would like to join Member Health Partnership or Online Healthy Living
programs. In addition, you will receive 1,000 BluePoints ($10 equivalent)
which are redeemable for merchandise, gift cards or can be donated to
charity. In future Wellness Editions of CHOICES we'll
introduce you to Member Health Partnerships, Online Healthy Living
programs, and BluePoints.
So what are you waiting for? In just
twenty minutes you can have your results!
Ready to get started?
Log onto http://www.bcbsnc.com/ and
register if you have not already done so. Once on the Member Services
webpage, look for “Health Programs” and you will see the link called “Take
a personal health survey.” Click the blue bar to start your questionnaire.
By offering a health assessment to your employees, you are
supporting a healthy lifestyle. In order to increase employee
participation, you may want to offer an incentive for taking the
assessment during a specific time period. Consider challenging your
employees to meet a 90% Health Asssessment participation rate in a 30-day
period and reward them with a healthy lunch.
As an employer, you
will be showing your employees that you value their commitment to well
being and are taking steps to encourage healthy living.
employees' health assessment responses are confidential. As an employer,
you will not have access to individual employee results. Health Assessment
results are not used to determine insurance rates or eligibility for
coverage. When 50 or more employees from a single employer take the Health
Assessment, the employer can see a snapshot of the health status of the
practice. These practices receive a group report which contains an
overview and summary of prevalent risk factors among employees. Individual
results are not shared.
Knowledge is power! Increase your
awareness of your own personal health status and risk factors. Take the
steps to live a healthier life and utilize free health resources! Log on
now and make the commitment to impact your health and well being.
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 http://www.ncmedsoc.org/.