Tag Archives: wellness at work

Healthy reminder: HIPAA rules apply to most workplace wellness programs

By   John L. Barlament,    Quarles & Brady LLP

Wellness programs are great ways for employers to provide guidance on ways employees can improve their health through fitness, diet and various other means. But oftentimes, employers forget that wellness programs may be an extension of a company’s heath care plan. As such, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules apply equally to these wellness programs as they do health care plans.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released a list of questions and answers to remind employers of their HIPAA obligations with regard to wellness programs.

In the release, titled “HIPAA Privacy and Security and Workplace Wellness Programs,” HHS clarifies which wellness programs are subject to HIPAA rules. That is, any workplace wellness program a company offers as part of a group health plan for employees. “Where a workplace wellness program is offered as part of a group health plan, the individually identifiable health information collected from or created about participants in the wellness program is [protected health information (PHI)] and protected by the HIPAA Rules,” HHS says.

Full details:  http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=e61319a8-debb-46a9-92fe-96eb05b2e688

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Empowering Your Wellness Council For Program Success
60-Minute Wellness and Health Promotion Management Training Program on CD-Rom

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Active Listening Essential for Wellness Professionals – at Work and Home

After a rough day at work — placing others people’s problems into perspective — you may be faced with communication conflicts at home as well. For that reason, effective communication is a must!

According to Stephen M. Horowitz, Ph.D., who at the time achieved FAWHP status, active listening is a very important component of communication. Active listening, said Horowitz, “defuses anger by acknowledging the emotion and it allows you to decide whether or not you want to ‘buy into’ someone else’s momentary craziness.” Continue reading

Applying Quality Management (QM) Principles To Wellness Committees

Their is no disputing that the heart of a successful wellness program lies in a dynamic committee.  And, many important QM principles can be applied to the structure and function of your wellness committee.

Almost 75 percent of wellness professionals surveyed said they have a wellness committee for their organizational programs, and 80 percent said the committees are important for the success of their workplace wellness efforts, the survey revealed.  The survey was conducted by the Wellness Management Information Center.

Feedback

“The feedback the committee members provide is invaluable,” said a wellness program manager.  “They represent  Continue reading

New Study: Workplace Wellness Programs Seen Cutting Chronic Costs

Workplace wellness programs can lower health care costs in workers with chronic diseases, but components of the programs that encourage workers to adopt healthier lifestyles may not reduce health costs or lead to lower net savings, according to a new research study.

Following a large employee wellness program sponsored PepsiCo, the study conducted by the Rand Corporation found that “efforts to help employees manage chronic illnesses saved $3.78 in health care costs for every $1 invested in the effort.”

However, the program’s lifestyle management components that encourage healthy living did not deliver returns that were higher than the costs, the researchers found.

“The PepsiCo program provides a substantial return for the investment made in helping employees manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease,” said Dr. Soeren Mattke, the study’s senior author and a senior natural scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

“But the lifestyle management component of the program — while delivering benefits — did not provide more savings than it cost to offer,” he continued.

With any prevention effort, it is often “easier to achieve cost savings in Continue reading

2014! Resolutions Don’t Come Easy

Happy New Year!

As we head into the New Year people are trying to hang on to their recently made resolutions. However, it is not enough to simply make a resolution; you must be motivated to sticking to it, according to one wellness professional.

Here are four keys to success in keeping resolutions that wellness program managers can share with program participants:

The first key to success is learning how to stay motivated.

“Motivation comes in spurts, so you have to work at keeping it in the forefront of your mind.”

Wellness program managers can help with employee motivation in a number of ways. Continue reading

Program Success Motivates Employees To Participate In Health Promotion Programs

Getting employees to participate in worksite wellness programs is has been an ongoing chief concern of many wellness managers over the years, according to our Workplace Wellness Management Leadership survey.

Participation is the issue, said one corporate human resources director, because “most people are too busy or not motivated enough.”

Employee participation in an organization’s wellness program drives everything for wellness professionals, return on investment (ROI), healthier workforce, continued program funding and budget issues, and how a wellness manager is measured, so its a bottom line pocket-book issue.

Main concern: “Time crunch, employees can’t seem to find the time to get into the onsite fitness center,” said a company RN/fitness coordinator. “People in general just seem to be getting busier and busier!”

“It is just our lifestyles today as well as the mentality of employers — do more with less people,” the coordinator added.       Continue reading

Web-Based Health Promotion Program, Specially Designed For Truck Drivers

A fairly new program incorporating Web-based education is improving the health outcomes of truck drivers – a prime example of “lone workers,” according to results of a study.

Lone workers are at a special risk for poor diet due to limited healthy food choices, opportunities for exercise, and limited access to workplace wellness programs.

Truck drivers face the specific risks of obesity, diabetes, and traffic risks, according to Ryan Olson, PhD, and colleagues at the Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland who conducted the study.

After six months enrolled in the program, truckers reduced their weight by nearly eight pounds, on average, and improved their diets by reducing consumptions of fats and sugars, according to the study findings. An increase in physical activity was also noted. Continue reading

Are You Making the Most of Your Wellness Committee?

Workplace wellness and health promotion professionals agree that the heart of a successful wellness program lies in a dynamic wellness committee.

A couple of days ago a member of our Linkedin Workplace Wellness Management Group asked this question of group members: “While forming a wellness committee, do you have candidates apply to participate? Should candidates fit certain criteria? How do you ensure that you are capturing appropriate committee members?”

All good questions that shows that the member aims to build a successful wellness program.

Regarding candidates meeting certain criteria the committee should have a good Continue reading

Person-To-Person Can Make The Difference For Workplace Wellness Program

Personal involvement with participants seemed to drive up satisfaction with wellness initiatives, said Patty Clavier, Intel senior project manager, when discussing Intel’s global health wellness program during a webinar  sponsored by Wellness Management Information Center.

Between the two different types of coaching offered – on-site or telephonic –the highest rates of satisfaction are associated with personal face-to-face coaching, Clavier explained.

In both the U.S. and across the globe, two different health risk assessments are used, said Clavier, but people tend to “prefer the idea of working with Continue reading

Program Success Motivates Employees To Participate In Health Promotion Programs

Getting employees to participate in worksite wellness programs is always a concern of many wellness managers, according to our management surveys of wellness professionals.

Participation is the issue, said one corporate human resources director, because “most people are too busy or not motivated enough.”

Main concern: “Time crunch, employees can’t seem to find the time to get into the onsite fitness center,” said a company RN/fitness coordinator. “People in general just seem to be getting busier and busier!”

“It is just our lifestyles today as well as the mentality of employers Continue reading