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Kaiser Develops New School District Employee Wellness Plan

Kaiser Permanente, Elk GroveKaiser Permanente has recently devised a way to help Elk Grove Unified School District employees stay healthy and fit.

As part of their national campaign geared towards the wellness of employees, Kaiser provides user-friendly tools, resources, and events to help school district workers manage their fitness and health.

The Kaiser Your Health, Your Choice Worksite Wellness program is providing school district employees with nine to 11 biometric healthcare screenings at high schools in the area; three of them will be held at the district office.

At these events, workers – whether they are Kaiser members or not – can receive screenings that measure their levels of glucose, cholesterol, body mass index, and blood pressure.

All of the tests can help someone identify potential risks that may lead to future health issues.

“The school district designed this program and turned to us as the primary healthcare provider to develop the clinical arm of it,” said Dr. Lisa Liu, medical director for Kaiser Permanente. “It’s really important for people to understand what their numbers mean and for us to see what we can do to help.”
The Worksite Wellness program began in September, and the hope is that school employees will gather what they learn from their screenings and meet with their primary care physician to discuss the information.

“The appointments are solely focused on analyzing your improvement,” Liu said. “It’s important to point out any barriers you notice and ask yourself where you will be in 10 years if you don’t make some (lifestyle) changes.”

She stressed how an employee’s fitness impacts their productivity at work.

“People spend an average of 2,000 hours at work every year…their health is definitely linked to their productivity,” Liu said. “It’s all about seeing what you can do as an employer to influence your workers to stay healthy and we’re totally committed to this partnership.”

Kaiser’s Thrive Across America program is a voluntary interactive one that helps you track your physical activity online.

Toolkits are also available online for non-Kaiser associated health groups to help non-member businesses create wellness committed groups at their workplace.

Eligible employees who satisfy a list of wellness requirements are offered a Wellness Rebate as a perk for joining the program.

If they complete a glucose and cholesterol screening, a blood pressure and Body Mass Index test, an online Health Risk Assessment, and a wellness consultation with their primary health care provider, they will receive a rebate equal to 5 percent of the total premium costs of the district’s low cost health plan based on the subscriber’s benefit level (single, two party, family) selected for that year.

To put it simply, if eligible employees submit a Wellness Certificate form that verifies their completion of the wellness requirements, they will get 5 percent back of the 20 percent of the premium cost they normally pay each year.

An annual Employee Wellness Rebate check is compensated on a date dependent on when the certificate is submitted and approved.

There is no cost to the school district for the wellness program this year, as it is in its pilot stage.

District spokesperson Elisabeth Graswich noted that the success of the program will be evaluated to determine its continuation, and to see what changes – if any – will be made.

“Workers’ pre and post surveys will be evaluated, and the district will look at attendance, workers’ compensation, website data, and participation numbers to see the impact of the program,” she said. “So far the number of employee biometric screenings and online activity has definitely gone up,” she said.

This article initially appeared in the Elk Grove Citizen Online, “Promoting Worksite Wellness.”