HEALTHCARE ENTERPRISE: Corporate Health Partners Changing the Face of Employee Wellness

Jan 02, 2014 at 05:31 pm by Staff

Since 2002, Corporate Health Partners has been reshaping employee wellness programs throughout the Southeast. With offices in Nashville and Atlanta, CHP’s 60 employees work to reduce health risks among participants while improving the bottom line for employers.

Rethinking Employee Health

“Just like safety policies are often the first thing you look at when you step onto a worksite, corporate wellness requires the same strategy,” said Jeremy Curtis, vice president and partner at CHP. “Employers should be asking themselves, ‘Is what we’re doing as a company helping or hurting our health?’”While corporate health programs are nothing new, CHP’s hands-on wellness model goes far beyond blood tests and body mass index. Healthcare veteran Jack Curtis founded CHP more than a decade ago after seeing the lack of follow-up care offered to overworked C-suite execs following standard executive medical exams. CHP, which merged with Community Health Network in 2013, services numerous industries and municipalities. With a lengthy client list now expanding beyond the Southeast, CHP has quickly emerged as a major player in workplace wellness – a $6 billion industry with some 500 players nationwide, a recent Reuters survey reports.
“Every wellness company tells you what the problem is,” Jeremy Curtis said. “Once we know a person’s health status, we work to make a difference in their lives throughout the year.”

Put Me In, Coach!
CHP’s clients are typically mid-to-large, progressive-minded companies that understand the long-term impact of a healthier workplace. Enrolled participants undergo biometric screenings and health risk assessments to identify potential problems. CHP then issues results including a wellness score ranging from one to 100 and assigns each participant a personal health coach who provides private coaching sessions – frequently for high-risk employees and less often for healthy individuals. CHP’s coaching team, comprised of trained dieticians and nutritionists, meet one-on-one with employees to discuss the daily challenges of creating healthier lifestyles, from ordering off menus to shopping smarter at the grocery store. They also work with employers to foster a healthier culture in the workplace. “Our coaches are very preventative minded and committed to changing behaviors,” Curtis said. “We focus a lot on improving workplace culture and policy since they work 24/7. We ask, ‘What is the culture of your company, and what sort of environment are you creating?’” CHP coaches take a multi-faceted approach to improving workplace culture. It’s not uncommon for coaches to help create stricter smoking guidelines, evaluate vending machine choices, facilitate wellness competitions, charter wellness teams, and organize education classes and community health events. Flexible Services

CHP offers flexible, a la carte services to companies of all sizes, although their popular ROOTS program offers the most comprehensive, scalable and customizable wellness plan. And while some clients opt for participation-based programs (only requiring participants to undergo screenings), Curtis said many opt for outcome-based programs that offer rewards, like lower insurance premiums, to employees who reach personal goals. CHP also offers an ExecTrack Program to help busy administrators live healthier lives.

Wellness and the Bottom Line
While corporate wellness plans come with a cost (CHP’s range from $18-40 per enrollee per month), Curtis said forward-thinking companies understand the value a strong wellness program has on the bottom line. Still, he said, many companies make the mistake of trying to gauge return on investments based solely on health claims. 
“Everybody asks me the ROI on a wellness program, and I ask them what the ROI is on offering health insurance benefits. They usually don’t know,” Curtis said. “Reactive companies only know the health of an organization based on the number of claims coming in. If it’s up 10 percent, they think people must be getting unhealthier, which may or may not be true. What we try to do is help an organization understand how at-risk their population is way before the claims process. It’s a very upstream approach.”

Successful Wellness Programs 101
Creating excitement around a corporate wellness program means full participation and effective communication from the top down. Helping employees understand this is a service being done for them …  not to them … changes their outlook and increases participation, Curtis said. Younger employees are more likely to see wellness plans as an added employment incentive, like medical insurance or 401Ks. Employees also should understand privacy is protected throughout the process and that employers will never see personal health reports. Offering wellness plans to everyone associated with the organization, from spouses to part-time or uninsured employees, also promotes buy-in. “Everyone affects the health of an organization,” Curtis said. “Wellness is a business strategy, not an ancillary program. It’s a way of looking at personnel in a different way. We want employers to understand this isn’t just about cost control, but about helping everyone have a high quality of life. If we help them lower a few risks, that ripple effect goes through the company and into homes where families start to make a change, and that ripples into communities and schools. You multiply those small changes, and there are so many benefits to corporate wellness.”

Sections: Archives