|BHS Wellness Program Earns National Honor|
|September 28, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BHS Wellness Program Recognized Nationally by C. Everett Koop Health Project: Receives Honorable Mention in Koop National Health Award Program
PITTSFIELD, MA – The Berkshire Health Systems Wellness at Work program is one of a select group of programs to receive national honors from the C. Everett Koop National Health Project, receiving an Honorable Mention C. Everett Koop National Health Award for 2009. Only three programs received the C. Everett Koop National Health Award and two, including the BHS program, the Honorable Mention Award.
The Health Project is a non-profit, private consortium chaired by C. Everett Koop, MD, and dedicated to the furtherance of better health and lower medical costs by reduction in the need and demand for medical services. These awards are given annually to worksite, community, or provider programs which have soundly documented improved health and decreased medical costs. BHS representatives attended the national Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Conference in Atlanta, where they made a presentation on the BHS Wellness at Work program to attendees from across the country and formally received the Honorable Mention Award. Several of the programs cited for Honorable Mention in past years have gone on to receive a C. Everett Koop National Health Award.
“This national recognition is a true testament to the growing strength of our program, the level of support internally from senior leaders, and a serious commitment to the health of our employees, said Bobbie Orsi, MS, RN, Program Director for Wellness at Work. “Our staff has worked to continually improve the range of wellness program offerings, and we base our program strategy on what is considered best practice in the health promotion industry today. We are then able to offer the same level of service to other local worksites, many who have also made serious investments in the health of their employees. This Honorable Mention by such a distinguished national organization is evidence that we are making a difference.”
As Berkshire County’s largest employer, the Berkshire Health Systems Wellness at Work program provides an innovative worksite program for nearly 3,500 BHS employees, and also offers worksite wellness programs to many other local community businesses. Reviewers from the C. Everett Koop National Health Awards cited the numerous strengths of the BHS Wellness at Work program, which include high level leadership of the Chief Executive Officer and senior wellness team; a broad wellness champion network; a smoke-free campus and healthy food initiatives; integration with the Network Blue Plus Wellness benefit plan, a “serious” strategy for reducing risk and improving employee health, an annual health assessment with screening; health coaching, and many other creative programs to support employees.
As a leader in wellness program development and implementation, the Berkshire Health Systems team of wellness nurses, fitness, nutrition and behavioral health professionals provides comprehensive health screening, health coaching, and many programs at local worksites throughout the county. With healthcare costs on the rise, many employers are looking to initiate a wellness program at their worksite to help their employees stay healthy and/or lower their health risk. BHS offers area businesses the opportunity to choose from a comprehensive list of wellness services and programs and will assist employers in developing a customized, results-oriented program, designed to meet the specific needs of their organizations.
The “Wellness at Work” program’s serious approach towards improving employee health is evidenced by the results of an independent analysis conducted by researchers from Brigham Young University and Wellsteps, Inc. In this study, “Efficacy of the Berkshire Health Systems Cardiovascular Health Risk Reduction Program”, scheduled to be published in the American Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2009, 96% of BHS employees who participated in at least two wellness screening interventions improved at least one important cardiovascular risk factor such as blood pressure, cholesterol or blood glucose levels, weight, and smoking. Wellness program participation has increased significantly with levels of risk reduction parallel to study results.