|Nebraska recognized for workplace wellness|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Friday, 14 January 2011 22:00|
Dear Fellow Nebraskans
By Nebraska Governor
We have good news to share about the state’s wellness program. This year, the State of Nebraska will receive the Well Workplace Award presented by the Wellness Council of America for its wellness program for state employees. Nebraska is one of only two state governments to win the award.
Developed in 1991, the award program is a rigorous set of criteria used to recognize the efforts of organizations with successful results-oriented wellness programs. The State of Nebraska scored high on capturing senior level support, creating cohesive wellness teams, collecting data to drive health efforts, developing an operating plan, choosing appropriate interventions, creating a supportive environment, and consistently evaluating outcomes.
The Well Workplace Award has four levels: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The State of Nebraska was recognized at the gold level, which acknowledges comprehensive programs that are producing results.
Our wellness program is known as WellnessOptions, which was introduced last year to help promote and maintain wellness among state employees. It compliments a wellness-oriented health insurance plan that is also available to employees. One of its most attractive features is 100 percent coverage for preventative screenings such as annual exams, mammograms, immunizations and other regular screenings.
The response from state employees has been outstanding. Our current enrollment in both the wellness plan and the wellness insurance package is 25 percent, which is an outstanding level of participation for a new program.
To date, 4,690 of state employees receiving health insurance benefits have enrolled in the wellness program. This year the program was expanded to include employee’s spouses, with an additional 1,670 spouses participating in the State of Nebraska wellness program.
Areas of progress for state employees include an 11 percent improvement in employees reporting increased physical activity and a 19 percent increase in employees getting preventative screenings. More participants are also eating more fruits and vegetables, with fewer participants reporting tobacco use, stress and depression.
In addition to providing options for state employees to be healthier, we’ve increased our efforts to promote wellness at work during the last three years.
The Governor’s Excellence in Wellness Award was created to recognize employers for their serious commitment to employee well-being by recognizing Nebraska employers that have developed successful models for encouraging wellness at work. Many businesses and organizations have made significant progress. To date, 96 Nebraska companies have received the award.
Prevention and wellness efforts in the workplace have produced higher productivity, better employee satisfaction and helped control health care costs. I am very pleased with the success of our wellness program and I am even more pleased that state employees are embracing this program. We are working to create a culture of wellness across the state, which includes walking the walk as a major employer in Nebraska.