May 2018
In This Issue
•Practice Wellness Grant
•How Do You Stay Well-Balanced?
•Practice Wellness Personal: Interested In Practical Well-Being Tips?
•Reducing Burnout Among Healthcare Workers
•Wellness in the News


Practice Wellness Grant

Are you a NCMS Plan practice seeking a creative way to financially support your health promotion efforts while effectively engaging, motivating, and incentivizing your employees?

The Practice Wellness Grant Program, with the mission of financially rewarding practices for launching a sustainable health promotion program or expanding an existing one, is a platform for you to get started or continue building upon your successes. Practices have the opportunity to earn up to $100 per enrolled employee ($20,000 max) for implementing the CORE components. "We are excited to welcome back this program and recognize that practices, like people, are unique. Our goal is to tailor programs to meet the needs of our population," said Jason Horay, Health Promotion Manager for the NCMS Plan.

Surf Pediatrics and Medicine provides health care to children and adults residing in eastern North Carolina and encourages overall wellness. They are currently working on implementing the CORE components of the Practice Wellness Grant Program. We recently connected with Jennifer Nieman, Office Manager, and learned about their motivation to engage in the Practice Wellness Grant Program. I learned what the practice is doing internally to create a healthier culture while aligning with the CORE components. This includes taking steps to engage their employees and encourage them to make informed choices, and in turn take control of their health. Jennifer shared that the owner physicians are supportive and constantly encourage all employees to be their best selves.

Historically, they have always encouraged their patients and community to live a healthier lifestyle and then realized that they needed to “walk the talk” and took the concept internally and started the LIVING FULL program. The Practice Wellness Grant program will further support these efforts and allow and encourage their employees to engage in the Nags Head 5K, the March of Dimes walk, and volunteering at the local food pantry. On a personal note, Jennifer used to smoke for many years. When she decided to quit, she leaned on the support of her practice. She is grateful for the supportive culture that helped her finally live a tobacco-free life.

Join your fellow NCMS Plan practices that are launching sustainable health promotion programs or who are expanding an existing program. Act now! Email Jason Horay or call 919.878.7530 if you are interested in applying for a Practice Wellness Grant or if you have questions about the program.


How Do You Stay Well-Balanced?

Everyone longs to be healthy and happy. After all, what's the point in working hard toward a long and healthy life if you can't enjoy it? While focusing on a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating right is great for your body, balanced living means protecting your mental and emotional health, too. And stress reduction needs to be at the top of your to-do list. Here a few personal stories, including my own, that tell a story of staying well balanced.

There was a recent time in my life when my work life balance was off. In short, I wasn’t living a life that was true to who I genuinely was. Ultimately, it effected every aspect of my life, including my physical and mental well-being and my meaningful relationship with family and friends. I also attribute this “off time” to lower back issues that led to surgery, significant weight gain, and depression. Fortunately, I sought out meaningful connections with loved ones and began to pull myself up, seek medical attention, and build confidence and the courage to take risks. Once these components were addressed and authenticity was established within myself, I began to heal. Each day is a challenge and I continue to strive to be the person and father who I want to be in this world. I’ve realized life is a journey about growing and changing and coming to terms with who and what you are and loving who and what you are. Now to stay balanced, I get up at 4 a.m. so I can get a head start on the day ahead. I enter the day feeling caught up and accomplished. I sit each morning with my boys while they eat breakfast and fully engage with them in a meaningful way. I schedule "me time" every day. I use this time to run, walk, or just sit and have a healthy meal by myself. On the weekends, I connect with friends, drink good beer (in moderation), and garden.

Tamara Rivera is the Manager of Occupational Safety & Health at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates. As part of the HR & Compliance Team, Tamara helps CEENTA stay compliant with municipal, federal & state regulations such as infection control, proper sterilization procedures, and compliance with OSHA standards.

Earlier in her career, she constantly focused on getting further and climbing the corporate ladder. She quickly learned how easy it is to get wrapped up in work. At this point in her life and career, she has learned this lesson the hard way. She understands where her priorities should be and she is incredibly careful to follow her own personal plan. Maintaining balance is a constant task for Tamara. She maintains a healthy eating lifestyle and walks regularly, both in the office and after work. She certainly gets her steps in whenever possible and doesn’t let her schedule dictate her physical activity.

As a manger and an advocate of work-life balance, she encourages others to take the time to learn what they need to move forward. She suggests, Attend a class, read up on respectable websites, gain the knowledge you need to be successful. Also, make a plan and stick to it. Understand every day is different and no one is perfect. If today wasn’t as good as you wanted it to be, then make tomorrow better. The idea is to be better in small steps. You didn’t get this way overnight, and you will not make it better overnight. This is about the long race… and slow and steady will always prevail.”


Practice Wellness Personal: Interested In Practical Well-Being Tips?

Practice Wellness Personal, an employee assistance program, is designed to support healthcare professionals with best-in-class counseling, life coaching, and digital content unlocking emotional, mental, physical and financial wellness. Practice Wellness Personal is available to NCMS Plan members at no additional charge.

Physical and emotional health are a big part of well-being. Financial wellness and balancing work, life and personal goals—these all impact how you feel every day. In the age of information overload, how can you keep up with all that you have to do and focus on your well-being?

We are excited to announce an enhancement to Practice Wellness Personal: Snackable Well-being. Accessible to you through the Practice Wellness Personal platform, this offering is a confidential and personalized approach to well-being. Through the News Feed, you’ll receive well-being “snacks” filled with tips and strategies from leading experts and best-selling authors. You choose topics of interest to you across a broad range of topics—Body, Mind, Personal Finances, Relationships, and Work. Then youfed bite size pieces of information ("snacks) relevant to your life and curated just for you.

Maybe you’re interested in learning how to practice mindfulness, pursue a new career goal, or improve your sleep or exercise habits. With Practice Wellness Personal Snackable Well-Being, you can devote just minutes a day to boosting your well-being through access to high-quality content. It requires just a small investment of your time and has many great benefits.

Here’s how to get started:
1. Go online to Practice Wellness Personal to access the LifeWorks desktop site, or download the most recent version of our mobile app. Simply search for LifeWorks in the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

2. In the LifeWorks News Feed, you’ll see a special promotion for Snackable Well-being. Click on it to set up your profile and select topics of interest to you to create your personalized Well-Being content feed.

3. LifeWorks will then begin sending well-being snacks to your News Feed. It will be easy to find at the top of your News Feed. Remember, only you can see this personalized feed of content.

If you’re looking for comprehensive help and support in ANY area of your life, you can speak confidentially to a trained consultant or counselor. Call the dedicated and confidential number (1.800.248.6615) or visit Practice Wellness Personal and enter your invitation code. Your code is made up of ‘PWP-’ followed by your subscriber ID.


Reducing Burnout Among Healthcare Workers

Jason Horay, Health Promotion Manager, spends a lot of time in NCMS Plan practices across North Carolina. He is constantly moved by the support and kindness that caregivers demonstrate on a daily basis. The doctors, nurses, technicians, and other medical staff constantly put themselves last and display endless compassion and determination to provide the best care possible. This experience gave him a fresh perspective on the importance of an important issue: burnout among employees.

Burnout can undermine not only employee well-being but also patient outcomes, safety, and quality of care. Burned out employees are three times more likely to leave and 63% more likely to take a sick day. For organizations, burnout translates to increased turnover, lost productivity, and increased professional liability lawsuits. As healthcare leaders continue to tackle unrelenting change and uncertainty, burnout is a problem they cannot afford.

To enrich employee well-being, healthcare leaders must do more than just offer a well-being program; they need to create an organizational culture that allows employees to actively participate in it. That is, leaders need to infuse well-being into their organizational beliefs, behaviors, and systems.

The North Carolina Medical Society will be hosting the LEAD Health Care Conference, offering all that the name suggests: leadership development, educational sessions, the latest advocacy news, and innovative health care discoveries that can help improve the lives of your patients. There will be sessions dedicated to physician resilience and burnout. For more details and registration information visit

Contact Jason Horay or 919.878.7530 to create a practice culture that allows your employees to thrive.


Wellness in the News

Change Your Environment, Change Your Habits
Too often we focus on goal setting, achievements, motivation, and discipline to create change in our lives. One aspect that can encourage or deter change is the design of our physical space. Our physical environment is often overlooked but can be crucial in our behaviors and choices. I encourage you to take a moment in your day to truly look around your practice with fresh eyes. Is there visual clutter that adds to your daily stress level? Is there a blank wall that could use a serene art piece? Could an unused space be used as a place for a mental break?

Be Kinder to Yourself. Research Shows it Could Make You Healthier
What if being kinder to yourself could make you healthier? Research shows that mindfulness, self-kindness, and recognizing imperfections are important for mental and emotional health and well-being. According to a 2017 study published in Health Psychology Open, those who exercise higher levels of self-compassion tend to handle stress better. This is important because chronic daily stress is harmful to your health. If you’re looking for comprehensive help and support in any area of your life, you can speak confidentially to a trained consultant or counselor. Call the dedicated and confidential number (1.800.248.6615) or visit . and enter your invitation code. Your code is made up of ‘PWP-’ followed by your subscriber ID and you can set up your account. Practice Wellness Personal supports healthcare professionals with best-in-class counseling, life coaching, and digital content unlocking emotional, mental, physical and financial wellness.

Podcasts for HR and Wellness Pros
Listening to a podcast on your commute to work or on your lunch break can be an easy, yet effective, way to up your game as a practice administrator. Many of these podcasts share insight on gaining expertise in leadership, HR policies, or employee wellness. As mentioned in the Forbes article link, podcasts can help you find inspiration, continue learning, inspire others, and grow both personally and professionally. The article suggests the six best podcasts to listen to now.