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LeadingEdition: E-Newsletter for Purdue University Supervisors

WorkLife to offer new health incentives for employees

In January 2006, Human Resource Services will unveil a Purdue-wide health improvement initiative for benefit-eligible faculty, staff, and their spouses. Through WorkLife Programs, the initiative will include:

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New financial incentives

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Health risk appraisals and wellness screenings

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Personalized health resources

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One-on-one telephonic coaching

These components will focus on the prevention of illness and the reduction of health risk factors.

Why focus on prevention and risk factors?

Health care costs at Purdue continue to rise; between 1997 and 2003, the costs of Purdue�s medical claims doubled to $63 million and are projected to rise by 12 percent each year. In order to protect Purdue�s comprehensive benefits, we must look at employee health in new ways.

Research shows that prevention efforts are the best investment of Purdue resources to protect the health of Purdue employees and contain rising health care costs. Healthier employees enjoy higher productivity, fewer sick days, and a greater sense of well-being.

The Purdue employee population is aging � nearly 40 percent of employees on the Purdue benefit plan are 45 years of age or older � and facing increases in age-related illnesses. Prevention is not only less expensive than treatment, but it allows us to catch illness early when treatment is most effective.

A significant part of Purdue�s prevention effort is focused on helping people identify and modify their risk factors. A risk factor is something which increases risk or susceptibility to illness or disease. For example, the American Heart Association notes that factors such as increasing age, high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking increase the risk of heart disease.

Some risk factors, such as age or gender, are out of our control. Others, like body weight, sedentary lifestyle and stress are linked to lifestyle habits and can be modified. According to research, the greater number of risk factors an individual has, the greater the medical costs.

What does this mean for me as an employee?

If you are a benefit-eligible faculty or staff member, you may participate by completing a health risk appraisal (HRA) and wellness screening. An HRA is a questionnaire with items about medical and family health history, eating habits, physical activity, stress, and more. Your cholesterol, glucose, height, weight, and blood pressure measurements may be provided by on-site wellness screenings or your health care provider to be added to the HRA. The HRA and wellness screenings are tools to determine risk factors.

Once you have completed an HRA and a wellness screening, you will receive a financial incentive, a personal health report, one-on-one telephonic coaching for certain risk factors, and additional print resources. Your spouse is also eligible to participate and receive the incentives.

Participation is voluntary and supported by Purdue leadership. An introductory kit will be mailed to your home in January with additional information.

What does this mean for me as a supervisor/manager?

You will play a vital role in reaching our goal of 70 percent participation. There are a number of areas where we need your support.

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Start spreading the word about the initiative with your colleagues, direct reports and spouse. Advise them to keep watch for the introductory kit in January.

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Invite WorkLife Programs to discuss the initiative at your next department meeting or request an article for your newsletter. Call 49-45461 or e-mail worklife@purdue.edu.

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Inform your staff that you will support flexible scheduling to allow them to participate.

Thank you for partnering with us to promote the health and productivity of Purdue employees.

- Erin Lukesh
WorkLife Programs

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LeadingEdition is an electronic newsletter for Purdue University supervisors.  It is produced and distributed by Purdue University Human Resources four times annually.  If you have questions, comments or suggestions relating to the newsletter, please call 49-41679 or email us.  Thank you.