‘Healthy You’ Launches Wellness Effort
By"Healthy You," a University initiative to improve the health and wellness of all Boston College employees, will launch a campaign this month called "Know your Numbers," which will ask employees and their spouses to complete a confidential health questionnaire in the hope of proactively identifying potential health issues.
The questionnaire, prepared and maintained by doctors and nurses at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, will gather information on employees' health history as well as their biometric numbers for height, weight, blood pressure, overall and HDL cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
As an incentive to participate, Boston College will offer a $100 gift card to all eligible employees and their spouses who complete the questionnaire. The University will also offer six free biometric screenings on campus for employees between Feb. 28 and April 30, hosted by nurses from Harvard Pilgrim and the Connell School of Nursing.
Employees and spouses who are covered by one of the University's health plans will have until April 30 to complete the questionaire and receive the gift card. A brochure describing the health questionaire in more detail will be mailed to subscribersÕ homes this month.
"The goal of the 'Healthy You' initiative is to raise employees' awareness of potential health issues so that they can be addressed before they become problematic," said Associate Vice President for Human Resources Robert Lewis. "This is a benefit enhancement that helps people to help themselves by improving their health awareness and providing them with health-related resources."
The first biometric screening will take place on Feb. 28 in the Heights Room at Corcoran Commons from 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. Employees must have their Harvard Pilgrim membership card with them to take part in the screening. To take the health questionaire and be eligible for the $100 gift card, employees must open a Harvard Pilgrim HPHConnect account by going online to www.harvardpilgrim.org/bostoncollege and following the instructions for "Be HPHConnected." The questionaire may be completed online, at the "Know Your Numbers" screenings or from home beginning Feb. 28. Employees who do not have a home computer may use computers in the Human Resources Office.
After the questionnaire is completed, the gift card -- which can be applied to most any kind of purchase, including dinner, travel and shopping -- will be mailed by Harvard Pilgrim to the employee's home. If the subscriber's spouse completes the questionaire, the card will be reloaded with an additional $100.
Lewis stressed that the "Healthy You" initiative, offered to employees at Boston College and 15 other area colleges and universities through the Boston Consortium for Higher Education, is a completely voluntary and confidential program designed to help BC employees understand, improve and maintain their health. The completed health questionnaire will be maintained on a secure Harvard Pilgrim website, and the information will be shared exclusively between BC employees and their Harvard Pilgrim hnurses, who may recommend a plan of action to rectify a health issue, or lifestyle coaching to assist employees in weight loss, smoking cessation, stress management or cholesterol reduction.
Also, long-term outreach will be provided by Harvard-Pilgrim doctors and nurses in managing diseases such as asthma, diabetes and coronary artery disease.
In addition to the benefits of a healthy workforce, Lewis said he hoped this effort over time would lead to reduced health care costs that now exceed $40 million annually for BC employees.
"We believe that by providing incentives to our employees to take simple steps to live healthier lives, we can enhance wellness and slow the increase in health costs that are shared by BC and its employees," said Lewis. "We see this program as a win-win for Boston College, and one that is in keeping with our mission as a Jesuit university."