About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Schedule Your Biometric Screenings Early

With Memorial Day behind us, you and your employees are probably looking forward to well-deserved summer vacations. The last thing on your mind is the fall -- but at WCS, we're always thinking about fall. It's when most of our clients offer biometric screenings.

Even if you've offered screenings before, it pays to start early. Our Program Managers are experts at guiding clients through the planning process, but there are quite a few details to consider:

  • Will you offer fasting or non-fasting screenings? Fingerstick or venipuncture?
  • When and where will the screening be held? Is there space reserved?
  • How many participants do you expect? Do you know last year's participation?
  • Do you plan to offer health education with a registered dietitian?
  • Will off-site options be available for those who can't attend the screening?
  • Will the data be uploaded to third parties or other wellness vendors?

Whether you're organizing a biometric screening for the first time or the tenth time, don't wait. Start planning today. The key to a smooth implementation is careful preparation -- and a screening partner with extensive experience. If you're still looking for the perfect screening vendor, drop us a line. We happen to know one with more than a decade of experience!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Getting Accurate Results: Fingerstick vs. Venipuncture

As a biometric screening vendor, we're often asked whether we recommend the fingerstick screening method -- requiring only a few drops of blood from a fingertip -- or the venipuncture method, which involves taking a vial of blood from the arm.

Fingerstick offers several advantages that make it our most popular screening method. First, most people find it less invasive and painful. But perhaps more importantly, results are available immediately. That means we can provide health education at the screening when participants are most receptive.

On the other hand, venipuncture does offer a wide range of screening options. So if you're interested in testing thyroid levels and the like, venipuncture may be your best bet.

One consideration that does not need to be part of your decision-making is accuracy. The Cholestech LDX, our fingerstick testing equipment of choice, is used by doctors and hospitals every day. But don't just take my word for it. In clinical tests (PDF), the LDX provided results that were in close agreement with a commercial laboratory.

It's important to work with a vendor who understands both fingerstick and venipuncture, and we're happy to offer both options for our clients. But if you're concerned about accuracy, rest assured that both methods are equally reliable.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Financial Wellness On the Rise

Some years ago, we designed a wellness program for a small regional bank: biometric screenings, health coaching, wellness challenges, an online portal -- all the elements you'd expect to find in a wellness program. Then one day our client contact asked an unusual question: "Do you offer financial wellness?"

The concept was new to us, so we asked him to explain. "Don't you agree that financial health can have an impact on physical health?" he asked. "After all, if you have trouble managing money, you're probably stressed. And that could lead to other health problems and reduced productivity at work."

As it turns out, our client contact was ahead of his time. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that a number of companies have begun offering classes on retirement planning and mortgages alongside seminars on healthy eating and exercise. It's part of their overall wellness strategy.

Today's workers have to manage their professional finances (retirement plans, health insurance), along with mortgages, college savings, debt management, and much more. It's a source of real stress. If you agree that wellness means achieving balance in the areas of physical, emotional, and environmental health, then financial wellness simply makes good business sense.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New Surgeon General Seeks to Promote Wellness and Prevention

We're happy to report that Vivek Murthy has finally been confirmed as Surgeon General of the United States. His confirmation was delayed by politics, but his qualifications are exemplary and we're glad he's now at his post.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Murthy emphasized the importance of promoting wellness and prevention in the workplace. "[M]ake activity a greater part of the work day," he said. "That includes shifting meetings, whenever possible, to walking meetings. That involves encouraging folks to take the stairs whenever possible, and leading by example, from the very top of the organization down."

As a practicing physician, Murthy treated many patients who suffered from preventable conditions. He's now a strong advocate of prevention. "[Many doctors] realize that if we had a system that could care for people better, that was actually more focused on prevention than our current system, that we may be able to prevent a lot of the illness, the suffering, and the health care costs that we see in our current world," he said.

As Surgeon General, Murthy sees himself as "an educator, as a convener, and as a catalyst." Let's hope he brings his strong commitment to wellness and prevention straight to Congress!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

EEOC Issues Preliminary Ruling on Wellness Programs

We've blogged since last year about several lawsuits that have led the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to clarify the rules governing wellness programs. By now, most of us are now familiar with the HIPAA-based rules that came into effect at the beginning of last year, but the situation is still evolving.

As the Wall Street Journal explained last week, current rules cap penalties for outcomes-based programs at 30% (or 50% for tobacco use). The EEOC proposes applying the same limits to participation-based wellness programs. Comments from the public are being accepted until June 19, after which a final ruling will be made.

Although we're monitoring the situation very carefully, I'm hopeful that the EEOC's final decision will add clarity. After all, no one wants to run afoul of the law. The more guidance the relevant agencies can provide, the better for everyone -- employers and wellness providers alike.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

3 Tips for Successful Off-Site Biometric Screenings

Today I've asked Aaron Yost, a Data Manager in our Health Informatics department, to offer a few tips for setting up a voucher program. Although on-site screenings are best for a number of reasons, they're not always feasible for every employee. Aaron offers three tips for making off-site screenings a success.

1. Allow enough time.

Employees who receive a screening in the workplace generally need to travel no more than a couple flights of stairs. The screening comes to them. But participants using off-site vouchers must first locate the nearest screening venue, then make accommodations to be screened during business hours or on their own time. When setting deadlines, be generous. There isn't a universal rule as each client population is unique, but a week may not be quite long enough. A month is usually more reasonable.

2. Consider all the options.

WCS offers several off-site screening options for participants, starting with physician forms. Employees simply ask their physicians to complete a simple form with their biometric data and fax it to WCS for processing. WCS also works with several nationwide lab partners that offer voucher programs for our clients. If possible, give employees more than one path to a screening.

3. Make off-site options a priority.

All employees, whether remote or based in a regional office, equally deserve a chance to know their numbers. Office-based employees sometimes think of vouchers as a backup -- an alternative in case they can't make the on-site screening. But for remote employees, a voucher may be the only chance they have to be screened. Accommodating all employees, regardless of geographic location, shows that you care about the well-being of the entire company.