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Updated 8:00 AM March 9, 2009
 

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Employees turning out for MHealthy Wellness Assessments;
slots still available

Sebastien Korner didn't think twice about signing up for an MHealthy Wellness Assessment.
Nurse Katie Scott, left, discusses MHealthy Wellness Assessment results with Shelly Carpenter. (Photo by Scott Soderberg, U-M Photo Services)

So on a recent morning he went to the Michigan League for the 25-30 minute screening, which involves measuring height, weight, waist circumference, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure and concludes with a personal review of the results with a health professional.

"It's a very simple process and everyone is very nice," says Korner, a programmer analyst for U-M Libraries. "I don't go to a regular doctor often, so this seemed like an easy opportunity to get some statistics on my health," he says.

The MHealthy Wellness Assessment program is designed to create a culture of health and wellness at U-M. Active faculty and staff on all three campuses are encouraged to take part in a free, confidential evaluation offering participants the opportunity to get an accurate picture of their personal health and an individualized plan for improvement.

Time slots are still available for wellness assessment appointments, which continue through April 24.

Benefit-eligible participants who complete the MHealthy Wellness Assessment will receive a $100 taxable cash incentive through payroll. GSIs, GSSAs, GSRAs, research fellows and non-benefit-eligible faculty and staff may participate in the program but will not receive the cash incentive.

So far, more than 14,000 employees have signed up, and 3,500 have already completed the assessment.

"We're very pleased with the turnout," says LaVaughn Palma-Davis, senior director, Health and Well-being Services, University Human Resources. "The assessments are going very well, and the evaluations are excellent. We are committed to getting everyone through in 30 minutes and that's happening."

Employers across the country recognize that prevention is key to improving health status and health care costs, Palma-Davis says.

"This is a hot topic on leadership agendas across the country," she says. "We need to focus on prevention. Now employers are taking the bull by the horns and putting programs in place to help in that area.

"If we are going to succeed in creating a culture of health, we have to engage people. A lot of people."

The assessment includes a health questionnaire, a 30-minute wellness screening and a results review session with a health professional, during which each participant will receive a personal health report and information on resources for health and lifestyle improvement. Based on results, participants may be given the opportunity to work with a personal health coach to achieve health improvement goals.

To ensure privacy, the University has contracted with a third party vendor to provide the assessments. To further protect anonymity, health information gathered in the process also will be processed by the vendor and only will be provided to the University in unidentifiable summary form, to help leaders understand the overall health of faculty and staff, and to develop future wellness and health improvement programs.

While waiting his turn to review his screening results with a health specialist, Korner says that the monetary supplement is a bonus, but not his only motivation for coming for an assessment. "I was kind of curious to see how things are (with my health), so I would have gone even without the $100 incentive," he says.

Debbie Olejniczak, who works in Utilities, says she has come to previous assessments as well.

"You don't really have the opportunity to do something like this unless you go to the doctor's office," she says. "I feel better now knowing that things are good," she says.

To find out more about what will take place during the assessment and how to register, go to www.mhealthy.umich.edu/programs/wellness.

How to get assessed in 30 minutes or less

Here are a few time-saving steps when preparing for a MHealthy Wellness Assessment:

• Take the online health questionnaire prior to the appointment

• At the end click "Save and Finish Later"

• Bring the self-assigned StayWell ID and password from the questionnaire to the appointment

To sign up for an MHealthy Wellness Assessment and find out more about the $100 pre-tax incentive eligibility requirements, go to www.mhealthy.umich.edu.

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