Health Links (HL): Why is the health and safety of your employees important to you?
Vail Valley Medical Center (VVMC): Health and safety are integral to who we are as a healthcare facility. When our employees are engaged and a part of our health and safety conscious environment, it resonates with our patients and community and fosters positive thinking and positive outcomes.
HL: What does your workplace health and safety program look like? Do you offer both components to employees?
VVMC: We have an Occupational Health department that works with the wellness program initiative to develop programs that can improve the health and safety of our employees. Together we have done biometric screenings for employees and promoted challenges around exercise and healthy eating.
HL: How will you/do you know your program is successful?
VVMC: We constantly measure health and safety metrics and continue to make adjustments to better serve our employees. Most recently we added SafeFit®, a preventative musculoskeletal wellness program conducted through our Howard Head Sports Medicine physical therapy group for employees to treat aches and pains before they become chronic.
HL: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get your program started? How did you overcome them?
VVMC: When we started in 2012, our participation rate was less than 20%. Our challenges were communication and providing an incentive that motivated employees to participate. Over the past four years we've tried a number of methods to increase participation. Finally, after tying our medical premiums to our health plan, we are at about a 75% participation rate!
HL: Does your health and safety program help give back to your community?
VVMC: We are a small community hospital that is very connected. As the third largest employer with over 850 employees, many of whom are local, VVMC’s wellness programs are positively impacting a large portion of the community.
HL: What tip/advice would you give to a business that is considering starting a workplace health and safety program?
VVMC: In the beginning we generated a lot of enthusiasm by working with our employees to create the program. By conducting an employee interest survey, we learned what interested employees most and how we could meet their needs. Although today we tie our program to our health insurance plan, we still engage employees throughout the year with cost conscious challenges started back at the inception of our program. For example, our most popular challenge focuses on healthy eating around the holidays.