FCHN Recipient of Harvard Pilgrim Health Innovator Award
For demonstrated insightful new ways to encourage and promote employee wellbeing
November 23, 2010
Harvard Pilgrim honors Franklin Community Health Network as the first Health Innovator Award recipient in Maine. From left: Rebecca Ryder, FCHN president and CEO, and Ed Kane, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care's vice president, Maine.
Harvard Pilgrim honors Franklin Community Health Network as the first Health Innovator Award recipient in Maine for its innovative ScoreHealth System. Through implementation of this unique wellness tool, Franklin Community Health Network (FCHN) has improved the health of its employees and their families.
“Franklin Community Health Network has demonstrated insightful new ways to encourage and promote employee wellbeing, which have shown such positive results that they deserve this special recognition,” says Ed Kane, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s vice president, Maine.
Rebecca Ryder, president and CEO of Franklin Community Health Network credits her team for helping to create innovative programs and initiatives with the goal of improving employee wellness. “We are focused on the overall health of Greater Franklin County and that includes our employees and their families.”
Sherra Osgood, Healthy Community Coalition Program Coordinator, also chairs the FCHN Wellness Committee, which has been in place for ten years. The 20-person committee creates programs for its 990 employees like the WOW program (Work Off Weight) that resulted in participants losing a combined 1,000 pounds in 16 weeks. The committee encourages employees to buddy-up to exercise on the walking trails that have been built on the hospital campus. Heart healthy choices in the cafeteria, flu shots, aggressive hand-washing protocols and a 100 percent smoke-free campus are other initiatives that the wellness committee has developed to promote the staff’s wellbeing.
Harvard Pilgrim has helped FCHN identify key health issues that the wellness committee can address by providing data about how their employee population is using their health benefits. Patterns and trends that emerge from the most common health claims help determine what types of wellness programs can be developed to address those key risk areas.
Tracy Harty, RN and director of comprehensive care management, explains that FCHN’s most unique wellness tool, the ScoreHealth System, has helped improve and encourage the community’s overall health. “It’s a web-based risk assessment tool that measures risk factors for disease. It has a self-reporting capability for patients. Health practitioners, such as health educators and nurse counselors along with primary care physicians, then provide individual care based on the ScoreHealth assessments.”
FCHN has adapted the use of the ScoreHealth tool for its employees with the Score Keeper program. Through Score Keeper, employees get a report on their personal risk factors and ideas on what they can do to initiate changes to improve their health.
What are the results of FCHN’s efforts? Positive morale, increased productivity and less sick time. One example of how FCHN has reduced staff injuries and days lost is through the safe patient handling program. FCHN’s benefit coordinator identified that staff injuries due to lifting patients resulted in 21 injuries and $200,000 in costs in 2006. Today, injuries are down to six per year, with less than $6,000 in costs, thanks to an investment in new equipment to help lift patients and by educating staff on how to prevent injuries when lifting patients.
Harty noted, “Simple things can have as much impact as big items. Just raising awareness of health issues—educating employees about health risks and prevention programs through newsletters, bulletin boards, lunch and learn sessions are low cost but have high value.”
Osgood adds, “FCHN can help companies in Greater Franklin County set up on-site blood pressure screenings and nutrition classes. We offer other worksite wellness ideas to local employers.”
Ryder advises, “Businesses see the writing on the wall. They are facing increases in health insurance costs, and there will come a time when they won’t be able to afford what they want to provide their employees. They need to find creative ways to keep costs down—wellness programs can help achieve that.”
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