School District seeks to add employees to its Wellness Program
Although the Lee County School District has attracted some of their employees to participate in the Employee Wellness Program, which promotes and supports a healthy environment and lifestyle, they are seeking to engage more participation through a possible incentive program.
Lisa Brown, wellness coordinator said over the past five years they have increased health awareness for employees, which in turn has reduced health risk factors and increased personal morale.
She also touched upon what some of the costs that drive of the district’s health care expense. An additional $1,500 a year in health care costs is attributed to obesity, along with an annual cost of $1,600 for smokers versus non smokers. Brown went on to say that they need to address those areas and implement programs that would change individual behavior.
Brown said lifestyle choices are very personal in nature but have a direct relationship as to how everyone lives their lives.
Many programs have been implemented throughout the district to address stress, health challenges, and nutrition and weight management, along with on-site exercise classes.
The stress management workshops, which attracted 246 individuals, were held at three host sites. Of those participating, 83 percent reported less stress in their lives.
Six health challenges were held for the school district employees, which had involvement from 1,597 individuals. The challenge had a positive impact on 64 percent of its participant regarding personal health awareness.
The Employee Wellness Program offered 22 separate programs at 140 sites during fiscal year 2010.
The nutrition and weight management classes were held at seven host sites for 929 attendees, which positively impacted 47 percent of the participants.
Thirty-two sites were provided for on-site exercise classes, which attracted 1,712 attendees. Out of those participants, 76 reported an increase in their activity.
Brown said to attract more employees for the Employee Wellness Program, the district will have to offer an incentive program to get them involved.
“Unless employees can identify a personal incentive they will not change,” she said.
Board member Don Armstrong said he thinks it is a great idea to offer some type of incentive.
“I think it would be a really good idea to take a proactive stance in this,” he said. “It will be beneficial for every one of us to do this and look into it a lot further.”
Chairman Tom Scott also believes a higher incentive than $200 should be awarded, along with each individual having the choice of what program.
Board member Jeanne Dozier said she would like the program to be more family oriented and friendly, so it could involve the entire family.
“Improved wellness means improved productivity,” Vice Chairman Mary Fischer said.
Blue Cross Blue Shield funds the Wellness Program, by providing $100,000 a year.