4 Questions Featured

8:00pm EDT May 26, 2010


David P. Crosby joined HealthAmerica as president of the Eastern Pennsylvania region in February 2009. He is responsible for marketing, sales, account management and medical management initiatives, as well as for government programs and provider contracting and servicing. Crosby has worked in the health industry for 25 years. Prior to joining HealthAmerica, he served as president and CEO of HealthPlus of Michigan, a position he held for five years. He joined HealthPlus in 2000 as vice president of sales and marketing.

Q. How do you develop a wellness program? And how do you decide what elements are part of the program?

The first place to start is with the CEO. To implement a meaningful program, the CEO has to agree to the steps that will be needed for research and implementation. You’ll need data — perhaps from a health risks assessment, workers’ compensation reports, employee knowledge and interest surveys, and other sources — to look for root causes and establish long-term means of encouraging change.

Q. Whom do you put in charge of the program?

A wellness team comprised of employees should be part of the data-gathering process and determining subsequent interventions for health and wellness.

Q. How do you get employees to buy in and use the program?

Because employees are driving the process, you are more likely to get buy-in for new policies, worksite modifications, and any rewards and incentives. It’s human nature to feel more comfortable about decisions over which we have some control. Communication has to be honest, and it has to explain the reasons why an initiative is — or is not — being pursued.

Q. What are some effective ways to monitor a wellness program for results?

The best way to measure the effectiveness of a workplace wellness program is to tie its success to quantifiable objectives. Most employers focus on improving productivity, a component of which is reduced absenteeism. The other goal is lower health care utilization, which can be measured through a utilization review with your health or workers’ compensation insurer.