University launches new employee wellness program

February 7 2008

Indiana State University wants to help its faculty, staff and their families maintain a healthy lifestyle and control the effects of chronic diseases.

The university has contracted with Spectrum Health Systems of Indianapolis to design and manage a comprehensive health and wellness program for employees, spouses and eligible domestic partners.

The plan was announced Thursday (Feb. 7) in conjunction with the launch of Gov. Daniels’ 2008 INshape Indiana “10 in 10 Challenge” that encourages Hoosiers to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks through a combination of sound nutrition and physical activity.

“This year, the governor’s ‘10 in 10 Challenge’ is being expanded to focus on the workplace. Through this new wellness program, we at Indiana State University will be doing our part to help our colleagues, both in the workplace and elsewhere, make informed decisions on diet and exercise so that they can live healthier, more productive lives,” university President Lloyd W. Benjamin said.

“By working together we can improve the quality of life for our employees and their families, decrease time away from work due to illness and lower health claim costs for both employees and the university,” Benjamin added.

Approximately 20 percent of the university’s health coverage membership utilizes 80 percent of the total claims dollars spent each year, Wil Downs, assistant vice president for human resources, said.

According to the university’s medical plan administrator, more than 1,100 individuals on the ISU health plan have a chronic disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, or heart-related conditions.

Employees and spouses who participate in health screenings this year may see lower health plan premiums in 2009, Downs said, and the university may offer other incentives after evaluating the program, which includes:

• A 24-hour nurse line & online nurse chat to provide timely answers to questions or required information.
• Yearly health screenings that include blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and other measurements
• Bi-monthly health newsletters mailed to employee’s homes
• A more than 330-page Healthwise handbook designed to help employees make informed decisions about their health
• Personal health coaching programs where employees have a coach to discuss issues
• Disease and lifestyle management programs
• Prenatal programs to help expectant mothers have healthy babies

“Spectrum employees will also know Indiana State University’s medical plan coverage in detail so they can remind employees of the services/prescription drugs that are covered. For example, if a participant is trying to quit smoking, the personal health coach will remind them that smoking cessation drugs are now covered under the university’s prescription drug plan,” Downs said.

Spectrum will send a mailing to employees and their spouses/partners explaining the new wellness benefit, which is confidential and paid for by the university. Orientation meetings and health screenings will be scheduled on campus.

Contact: Wil Downs, assistant vice president for human resources, Indiana State University, 812-237-4114 or wdowns@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

Indiana State University has contracted with Spectrum Health Systems to design and manage a comprehensive health and wellness program for employees and their spouses and eligible domestic partners. The plan was announced in conjunction with the launch of Gov. Daniels' 2008 INshape Indiana "10 in 10 Challenge" that encourges Hoosiers to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks through a combination of sound nutrition and exercise.

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