Regions Hampton Roads

Sentara Healthcare wins Virginia Game Changer in Employee Health Award

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Norfolk-based Sentara Healthcare has won the first Virginia Game Changer in Employee Health Award presented by the Virginia Center for Health Innovation.

“This award recognizes a Virginia organization that has implemented an employee health strategy that demonstrates excellence in employee engagement, organization culture and community connections,” Dr. William A Hazel Jr.,  Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources and founding chairman of the Virginia Center for Health Innovation, said in a statement. “Our goal is to nurture and showcase innovations in health care that are yielding positive outcomes and then spread these innovations to improve the health of the commonwealth’s citizens.”

Misson: Health, a partnership between Sentara and Optima Health, has saved the organization $3.6 million in projected employee health costs in just over three years.

Nearly 90 percent of employees continually enrolled in the program either improved or maintained their critical health risk measurements.

More than 16,000 Sentara employees (93 percentof benefits-eligible employees) now participate in Mission: Health. 

The number of employees surveyed who exercised more than three times weekly rose nearly 15 percentage points (from 64.8 percent to 79.1 percent), while those using tobacco dropped by more than one third (from 9 percent to 5.3 percent).

The program also saw statistically significant drops in employee blood pressure and HDL cholesterol levels.

To help employees to meet their health and wellness goals, Sentara provides employees with tools and incentives, including:

- On-site fitness classes, discounts at local fitness centers, a pedometer-based walking program, and phone access to fitness coaches;
- Healthy, lower-cost choices in the cafeteria and vending machines, access to on-site Weight Watchers classes and access to nutritionists;
- Tobacco-cessation resources including reimbursement for nicotine replacement therapies (all Sentara facilities are tobacco-free);
- Sentara MDLIVE interactive physician consultations (phone or online video)

In addition, participating employees who are pregnant, are tobacco users or have one or more of the targeted chronic diseases (i.e. diabetes, heart disease, hypertension) have access to additional resources and incentives.

Finalists for the Game Changer award included Bon Secours Virginia Health System, Divurgent, Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Kaiser Permanente, Nova Medical Group, The Commonwealth of Virginia, and Valley Health System.

The award program is conducted by the Virginia Center for Health Innovation in partnership with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and Virginia Business magazine.

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