By Zack Budryk
At southwest Florida's Lee Memorial Health System, encouraging healthier choices is a large part of the wellness strategy, according to Scott Kashman, chief administrative officer of Cape Coral Hospital, part of the Lee system.
The system offers employee discounts to the two wellness centers it owns, as well as others in the area, Kashman (pictured right) told FierceHealthcare in an exclusive interview. The employee health plan has been part of its population health management efforts since 2010.
Hospitals across the country have similar programs.
"We've had a wellness incentive in place for two or three years now … out of our HR and benefits department," Cheri A. Miller, director of wellness services at the Christ Hospital Health Network in Cincinnati, told FierceHealthcare. In prior years, she said, the program focused mostly on smoking cessation.
However, "this year, we went to a results-based model where people had to meet not only the tobacco cessation criteria, but they also had to meet two out of four biometric criteria to be eligible for the wellness incentive." Employees were able to earn $800 through this program, she said.
This year, participation in the wellness initiatives improved, Miller said. "We just got done with that campaign last week, so I don't have the numbers, but it's probably going to be around 60 to 75 percent completion of both of those tasks," she said.
State institutions, meanwhile, are more limited in what they can offer to incentivize employees, Susan L. Johnson, Ph.D., director of health promotion at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), told FierceHealthcare.
"We cannot discount insurance premiums. However, we recently began to pilot a new employee plan that reduces copays if our employees stay within the MUSC network," she said. MUSC also offered free tobacco cessation and fitness programs, as well as reduced membership fees for its wellness center and weight management program.