When Carmen Terry needed a partner to help improve the Lycoming County Insurance Consortium members’ health and wellness, she turned to a familiar name — UPMC.
“When I started this program in 2012, it made sense to find someone in the community who knew our employees and would help me design a health and wellness program that fit our needs,” says Carmen.
Carmen is the health and wellness coordinator for the Lycoming County Insurance Consortium. The consortium provides health insurance to the employees of the eight school districts in Lycoming County and Pennsylvania College of Technology. Carmen’s vision is to improve the members’ overall health by inspiring them to live healthy lives, manage chronic diseases, get appropriate vaccinations, and participate in their own health and wellness.
Carmen remembers, “When I created the program, I tried to find a new and different way to evaluate the health of our employees and guide them to better health. UPMC listened to what I wanted and became an extension of my office.”
Keeping the Focus on Wellness During a Pandemic
Working with school districts in a normal year can be logistically difficult, but that is compounded even more during a pandemic. Planning for annual health screenings begins in the spring each year. As you may remember, in spring 2020, school districts weren’t focused on wellness — they were busy trying to learn a new way to teach children.
“We didn’t start planning until early summer this year, which gave us a little less time,” says Carmen. “We knew the restrictions for masking, cleaning, and social distancing would be challenging, and we would have to ensure each member’s safety during the process.”
Carmen worked with the UPMC Healthy Partners team to make sure they could schedule the screenings at 34 buildings from September through November. With safety being the number one priority, it took a lot of planning for Carmen and the Healthy Partners team.
Carmen remembers, “We made it through the entire consortium with little hiccups and no rescheduling due to closures. Even when I personally experienced COVID-19, the UPMC team stepped up to do my job, as well as their jobs at screenings I was unable to attend.”
UPMC Healthy Partners works with Carmen to conduct health risks for employees, biometric screenings, and basic blood chemistry so each employee understands their current health status. Carmen also provides incentives when members participate in some community education programs offered by UPMC.
Sam Sawyer, supervisor, Healthy Partners, says, “Our team of local experts consist of licensed practical nurses (LPNs), health coaches, doctors, nurses, and medical staff who are passionate about improving the health of the communities we serve. We believe that creating a personalized program for each client is what is most effective.” Healthy Partners guides each client organization in four areas:
- Awareness — Learning the diseases for which your employees are at risk and what they can do to prevent and manage these conditions.
- Engagement — Provide individuals with information about their current health status with screenings and blood work.
- Accountability — Offer employees incentives for healthy behaviors and completing wellness initiatives.
- Culture of Wellness — Help your organization shift lifestyles, both personally and professionally.
Carmen feels an incentive program to promote health and wellness is the most successful format for her member group. By participating in the health screenings, vaccinations, and education programs, her members get points which turn into money back in the employee’s pockets through lower premium costs. The consortium has saved over $2.8 million in claims from 2015-2020 for people who participate in the program.
Carmen is still scheduling weekend sessions for members who could not attend the screenings and vaccinations at school this fall and winter. This year, even with a pandemic, she has provided 601 flu shots and 627 health screenings to consortium members.
Carmen says, “The program grows every year. I am very proud of the work we do. If you are looking for a partner to improve the health and wellness of your team, there is no better partner than UPMC.”