Smart Benefits: Newport Preservation Society Wins On Wellness

Monday, May 28, 2012


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The Preservation Society of Newport County doesn't just preserve historic mansions... it takes excellent care of its employees as well. Photo: Preservation Society of Newport County.

Turns out the Preservation Society of Newport County, best recognized for preserving and showcasing the Newport Mansions, knows a thing or two about employee wellness, too.

The Preservation Society’s wellness program recently earned the top spot – beating out almost 50 companies nationwide – in UnitedHealthcare's Well Deserved Award, a national challenge aimed at bringing attention to small businesses that are successful in implementing long-term wellness strategies.

An Award-Winning Array

The Preservation Society first rolled out its wellness program in 2006, along with a Health Savings Account, in an effort to better engage their employees in the healthcare process. “It's been a long-term commitment and something we remain loyal to," says Trudy Coxe, CEO & Executive Director of the Preservation Society.

The program is branded Preserve You and, while voluntary, there’s heavy emphasis on participation. To drive it, employees can pick from a menu of broad-reaching activities organized around education, self-assessment, physical activity and prevention. The results speak for themselves: participation in most of the activities remains steady at between 65-100 percent year after year, much higher than industry norms of 40-60 percent.

Rewards that Reward

Employees who complete all program requirements within one year receive Health Savings Account incentives. Health assessments and screenings, onsite yoga, educational classes, annual primary care physician visits and self-directed exercise programs all offer employees opportunities to earn the rewards.

"It's more meaningful on health improvement if employees are motivated to participate in multiple activities throughout the year," explains Human Resources Manager Jan Doda, who’s charged with the program’s success.  "Our job is to offer a program that is engaging to the employees and meets their interests over and over again.”

Improving Participation, and Health

Close to 70 percent of employees qualify for the HSA incentive, and the rise in participation has lowered health risks. Today, more employees are low risk for high cholesterol and diabetes than the national average for the US population, and there’s been steady migration from high and moderate risk into these populations.

"Many small employers shy away from wellness programs because they aren't sure how to measure success," Doda adds. “Not only do we support employees to help them reach their goals, we’ve been consistent in measuring participation and employee risk status each year to ensure they’re achieving them.”

One thing is certain: the Preservation Society of Newport County knows how to preserve its assets, and employees are among the most valuable.

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Amy Gallagher has over 19 years of healthcare industry experience.  As Vice President at Cornerstone Group, she advises large employers on long-term cost-containment strategies, consumer-driven solutions and results-driven wellness programs. Amy speaks regularly on a variety of healthcare-related topics, is a member of local organizations like the Rhode Island Business Group on Health, HRM-RI, SHRM, WELCOA, and the Rhode Island Business Healthcare Advisory Council, and participates in the Lieutenant Governor’s Health Benefits Exchange work group of the Health Care Reform Commission.

For more health and business coverage, watch GoLocalTV, live every day at 4pm, and on demand 24/7, here.


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