Wellness Program Attacks Causes of Bad Behaviors

October 4, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Great-West Healthcare has announced its new wellness program, which focuses on unhealthy habits and addresses the root causes of these behaviors.

With both online and telephone features, the Great-West Healthcare wellness program is built around fitness, nutrition, sleep and stress management, a news release said. Members begin the program by taking the online health and well-being assessment, which evaluates overall health risks and scores health habits. Based on their responses, members are identified as healthy or at risk. If at risk, they begin to receive advice and guidance through personalized e-mails and telephonic support, according to the announcement.

“When a person chooses to engage in unhealthy behaviors, he or she increases the likelihood of requiring additional health care,” said Terry Fouts, M.D., chief medical officer at Great-West Healthcare, in the news release “In fact, controllable behaviors such as overeating, tobacco use and physical inactivity account for 25 percent of all U.S. health care spending. Our wellness program addresses the root causes of unhealthy behaviors to support lifestyle changes that may improve people’s productivity and quality of life.”

Participants who score low on the overall health and well-being assessment are assigned a personal health coach who serves as their primary point of contact for the year-long program and provides individualized support, according to the announcement.

All health coaches are licensed nurses who specialize in key areas of the program. The personal health coach and member work together to establish realistic goals and forge long-term lifestyle changes. Even participants who are not at risk may self-refer themselves and work with a personal health coach. In addition, the company said, any participant may call the program’s toll-free 24/7 Great-West Healthcare nurse line to reach a licensed nurse.

For employers, Great-West Healthcare provides quarterly reports that include participation, outcome and trend data, the announcement said. For employers that have incentive programs, monthly progress reports are provided as a tool for tracking employees’ participation in the program.

More information on the company is  here .