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Posts Tagged ‘Jennings and Company’

At a time when employers are cutting back on their contributions to employee healthcare costs, expecting employees to pick up more of the tab, a new report indicates that many of those same employers are putting a renewed interest in employee wellness programs. The idea is to get employees to adopt healthier lifestyles which in turn should help reduce overall healthcare costs for the organization and the individual. This is the subject of a recent story in The New York Times titled “Getting Healthy, With a Little Help From the Boss.” Here’s the link to the story: http://tinyurl.com/oj8taa.

Quoting from the May 22, 2009 story:

“According to a January survey by the benefits consulting firm Hewitt Associates, nearly two-thirds of large employers planned to transfer more costs to employees. At the same time, one-third planned to put greater emphasis on wellness plans — programs that encourage employees to adopt healthier lifestyles.” (Source: The New York Times, May 22, 2009)

The story goes on to point out that employers are taking serious steps to encourage their employees to adopt healthy habits:

“About 80 percent of big employers offer health risk surveys, which are aimed at identifying health problems or potential health problems. And 60 percent of employers give financial incentives to employees who fill them out, according to a joint survey by the benefits consulting firm Watson Wyatt and the National Business Group on Health, an association of more than 300 large employers.” (Source: The New York Times, May 22, 2009)

So is it acceptable for employers to delve into employees’ health information? Here’s what The New York Times article had to say about the matter:

“According to privacy laws, the information you provide to the plan administrators cannot be used by your employer for any purpose related to your employment status. In addition, an employer cannot deny health insurance to an employee for failure to complete a health risk questionnaire, says Martin J. Moderson, vice chairman of employee benefits and executive compensation at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.

While many employers offer incentives for filling out health surveys, there is some debate over whether it is legal for them to do so. Under the federal health privacy law known by its acronym, Hipaa (pronounced HIP-ah), your employer can provide an incentive for filling out a risk survey, as long as the reward does not exceed 20 percent of the cost of coverage under the plan, and certain other requirements are satisfied, Mr. Moderson said.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, however, has questioned whether such incentives would violate the American with Disabilities Act. If you feel coerced into filling out a questionnaire, or annoyed that some employees get paid for doing so, speak to the human resources department.”  (Source: The New York Times, May 22, 2009)

This is a really good article about a growing trend. I encourage you to check it out online at http://tinyurl.com/oj8taa.

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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Health Magazine has published its list of the top 10 healthiest fast food restaurants. As someone who works a great deal in healthcare, and with more hospitals moving to healthy food programs, the list caught my attention. Check out the list below, there may be some surprises! My brief commentary follows the list.

Health Magazine’s Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants

  1. Panera Bread
  2. Jason’s Deli
  3. Au Bon Pain
  4. Noodles and Company
  5. Corner Bakery Cafe
  6. Chipotle
  7. Atlanta Bread
  8. McDonald’s
  9. Einstein Bros. Bagels
  10. Taco Del Mar

Interestingly, two of the top 10 are McDonald’s properties – Chipotle Mexican Grill and McDonald’s. The choice of McDonald’s surprised me. Health magazine feels that McDonald’s is “leading the way in overhauling its menu to offer heart- and waist-friendly fare” – at least among the burger-based chains. Like Health magazine, I applaud the steps McDonald’s has taken. But really, didn’t Wendy’s travel down this road long before McDonald’s? It seems odd to me that McDonald’s would make the list before Wendy’s. Maybe its just my perception (or misperception), but I’ve always felt that Wendy’s led the other burger places with its healthier options such as the baked potato, side salads, chili and fruit. Wendy’s french fries has zero grams of trans fats. And they are now offering Marzetti, all-natural, preservative-free salad dressing.

The truth is, most places offer some healthy options, and eating in moderation is often the key to healthy food consumption. It is exciting to see that so many fast food places are moving in the right direction – even offering organic options. Now it’s up to consumers to make healthy choices when they visit their favorite fast food joints!

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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What follows is video footage of the joint press conference, held on February 25, 2009, by Lexington Medical Center and Providence Hospitals to announce a significant agreement reached by the two parties. This is video footage of a joint press conference held by Lexington Medical Center and Providence Hospitals in Columbia, South Carolina. Basically, the two hospitals announced the terms of an agreement that advances both of their efforts to improve health care delivery in the Midlands of South Carolina. Specifically, Providence Hospitals will support Lexington Medical Center’s efforts to secure an open heart surgery program (a long time coming) and Lexington Medical Center will drop its objections to a proposed expansion at Providence Hospitals Northeast. For more info, visit http://www.lexmed.tv.

Here is part two of the press conference:

Here is the final question and answer session with reporters:

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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Brad Warthen, an editor at The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, wrote a very thoughtful and honest post in his blog yesterday about the new agreement between Lexington Medical Center and Providence Hospitals. See my post yesterday for more context – “When Two Hospitals Come Together.”

bradsblogBrad titled his post: “The war is over — between Providence and Lexington Medical.” Warning, it is a long post. But that’s appropriate because this was a very big development for the people of the Midlands of South Carolina. And Brad points out how he is torn as he tries to reconcile his feelings about this agreement. Check out the post. It is an interesting and well constructed piece. I haven’t agreed with Brad’s position on Lexington acquiring an open heart program (I support Lexington, he hasn’t), but I respect his thoughts on the matter.

The State newspaper has also had a couple of articles covering the agreement. Today’s article, “Providence could enlarge its Northeast facility as part of deal; DHEC approvals needed” is the latest from Noelle Phillips. Check it out online by clicking here.

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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Today I received the call for entries for the National Health Information Awards. These awards are produced by the Health Information Resource Center. They recognize high-quality consumer health information – very different from the traditional healthcare marketing awards competitions. You can access the awards online at www.healthawards.com. The entry deadline is April 3, 2009.

The four main classes of entries include:

  • Health Promotion/Disease and Injury Prevention Information
  • Patient Education Information
  • Consumer Decision-Making Information
  • Other/Miscellaneous Information

Entries are sorted by target audience and the type of organization that produced the work (HMO, Hospital/Health System, Insurance Company, Business Private Sector, etc.).  At $49 per entry, this competition is reasonable priced. The same group produces the annual Web Health Awards that have a Spring entry deadline of April 3, 2009. Information about the Web Health Awards can be found at www.healthawards.com.

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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If you are not familiar with the Baldrige National Quality Program, it might be worth checking out and sharing with your leadership team. It is a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), designed to enhance the competitiveness, quality and productivity of U.S. organizations for the benefit of all residents. At times like these, we can all benefit from improvements in the performance of our organizations! The Baldrige Program is helping organizations deal with the challenges of a rapidly changing health care environment, and changes in consumer expectations. Most importantly, its participants achieve improvements in health care outcomes and service delivery!

The first step is to go on their website, and use their organizational self-assessment and planning tool. Be sure to select the assessment for health care. You can do the self-assessment online at no cost. That alone may be an excellent learning experience. The Baldrige Program’s website is located at www.baldrige.nist.gov. When you visit the site, you can download a “Getting Started” brochure that walks you through the self-assessment process.

Often organizations in crisis will turn to a Baldrige assessment to begin a turn-around. But healthy organizations can use the Baldrige Program to improve on their performance. The seven categories of the Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence include:

  • Achieve superior health care outcomes and service delivery outcomes
  • Attain positive patient- and other customer-focused outcomes
  • Achieve significant gains: Financial and market outcomes
  • Know your strongest assets: Human resource outcomes
  • Operate as a Leader: Organizational effectiveness outcomes
  • Be a role model: Leadership and social responsibility outcomes
  • Results: Performance and improvement in key outcome areas

Some recipients of the Baldrige Award in Health Care include Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, Bronson Methodist Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City.

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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q1logo2Jordan Sanders of Q1 Productions , a new member of the Healthcare Marketing Online Community, posted information about an upcoming event: The Health Care New Media Marketing Conference. Jordan’s firm, Q1 Productions, is producing the event. The conference will take place June 15 – 17, 2009 in Phoenix, AZ.

According to Q1 Productions’ website, presenting organizations will include:

  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Duke University Health System
  • Henry Ford Health System
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Topics for the conference will include:

  • Utilization of online media to reach patients, community groups and special interest groups
  • Healthcare Blogging Pros and Cons
  • Podcasting for Health Care Systems
  • Creating Patient Communities with Social Networking Sites
  • Metrics: Proving the value of New Media
  • VideoCasting: How to Effectively Use Sites Like YouTube
  • Best practices in utilizing Google for Health information
  • Content Management Systems for Health Care Websites

For more information about the conference, go to www.q1productions.com/eventPages/event_Health2.0.php. Q1 Productions’ events include conferences, in house training classes, custom seminars, workshops and exhibitions emphasize trends and technology developments that foster intellectual capital and strategic initiatives.

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

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