Slice of Life Program Shows Positive Results

By Catherine Bass and Dr. Adam Long

New Hampshire Local Government Center (LGC) has invested heavily in worksite health and risk management since 2004. This long-term strategy was targeted to reduce costs associated with employee and retiree risk and modifiable health behaviors. Reduced healthcare consumption may shrink short-term costs but, if it’s at the expense of long-term costs from poorly controlled chronic conditions, then LGC and its member groups would be even less well off.

The LGC’s Slice of Life health management program has been an “upstream" strategy to impact the beliefs and behaviors that cause unhealthy outcomes in the first place. As representatives of Gordian Health Solutions, LGC’s partner in providing health management solutions like the GET HEALTHY Personal Health Analysis (PHA) Questionnaire and health coaching opportunities, we are pleased to report that this strategy is paying off!

The LGC HealthTrust members participating in Gordian interventions are reporting greater productivity than their non-participating counterparts. Participating members also show lower healthcare claims trends than their non-participating counterparts.

What follows is a brief review of the Slice of Life program and some of its measurable outcomes, plus success stories from satisfied employees.

Population Health Improvement

The LGC’s staff and board understand the need for population health improvement efforts to assist LGC HealthTrust members in adopting healthier lifestyles. Doing so helps head off population health decline and control health cost trends. For this purpose, LGC offers its Slice of Life health management program in partnership with Gordian.

The program features a confidential PHA, which provides participants and health coaching staff with pertinent information about each participant’s health status. These data are useful in creating health awareness for participants, identifying areas of strength and opportunity, and providing baseline information for tracking health changes over time.

Personal health coaching is a second component of the Slice of Life wellness program. Participants have the opportunity to work directly with a health coach, who assists them in setting realistic, behavior change goals. Health coaches also provide ongoing support, education and motivation through regular telephone contact.

The LGC currently has 14 health and risk management representatives working directly with members in the field. Having in-person contact with members allows LGC staff to clearly communicate all aspects of the Slice of Life program and obtain feedback, which is used for program design improvements. It also provides LGC with a chance to build positive relationships with member groups, providing a level of trust and support that encourages employee participation. This collaboration creates a sense of ownership, or championship, for the program. Champions at the group level play an important role in the success of Slice of Life offerings by way of their greater reach, influence, enthusiasm and support for the program among their peers.

Gordian has worked with LGC to create an intensive communications campaign to keep members informed of the diverse Slice of Life programming available to them. Program components, requirements and incentive information are communicated each year during the Slice of Life’s roll-out period via welcome packets, customized brochures and e-mail blasts. In addition, related posters and payroll stuffers are distributed to member groups in order to keep them up-to-date and involved with the Slice of Life program. Articles highlighting the Slice of Life program and member success stories are included in quarterly newsletters and magazines distributed to LGC members throughout the state. The LGC’s website also contains program information and connects members seamlessly with available services.

Does Wellness Work for You?

In keeping with recommendations by the Health Enhancement Research Organization’s Employee Health Management Best Practice Scorecard, LGC made the following choices when designing its Slice of Life program:

•Set measurable goals for the program
•Used a PHA to target interventions
•Implement a behavioral change wellness program spanning all health risk levels
•Offer the program to all adult segments of covered population (for example, employees, spouses and retirees
•Provide incentives to drive participation

It also set specific goals related to PHA participation and health coaching enrollments. Goals and annual results are shown above.

Incentives have consistently been tied to PHA completion but not health coaching. The LGC hopes to make some incentive dollars accessible to members who engage in coaching during the 2010 program year.

Here is breakdown of LGC’s return on investment from its worksite health and risk management efforts over the past two years:

•Participant claims savings over control:
$8.61 per member per month (PMPM)
$20.06 PMPM

•Participant productivity savings over control:
$240.85 per employee per year (PEPY)
$230.69 PEPY

•Program savings to program cost ratio (return on investment):
$1.43-to-1
$2.40-to-1
2-Year Total: $1.92-to-1

What’s the Bottom Line?

For 14 years running, LGC has observed medical coverage rate increases between 12 and 23 percent. But, for every risk pool it has created for the population-at-large it has served since July of 2007, lower trends have occurred.

As we get ready to roll out another year of the Slice of Life program, please consider its benefits and encourage your LGC HealthTrust medically-covered employees to participate. Help wellness work for them—and your group!

Catherine Bass is a bio-statistical research analyst at Gordian Health Solutions, an integrated health management company and LGC’s partner in providing the GET HEALTHY Personal Health Analysis and Health Coaching programs. She holds degrees in exercise physiology and public health and is a doctoral candidate at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Adam Long is Gordian’s vice president of research and lectures nationally on health promotion. He received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. For more information on LGC’s health management offerings, e-mail risk&health@nhlgc.org or call 800.852.3358.