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Insights from top workplace wellbeing and onsite care vendors

Insights from top workplace wellbeing and onsite care vendors

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During the current crisis, we all face uncertainty, disruption of our normal schedules and increased stress which can eventually affect our health.

Employers trying to bring solutions to their employees have to consider the many health offerings they sponsor that are already in place. What modifications to employee wellbeing and wellness programs might be needed? How will delays in member compliance impact your incentive structure? Is your onsite health clinic prepared to care for members in a virtual setting?

Buck’s Health Intelligence Practice interviewed industry-leading vendors in the health promotion and onsite clinics, and collectively this is what they told us.

Biometric screenings

Many employers are taking a “wait and see” approach to biometric screening. If biometrics are not scheduled until the summer or fall, many have decided no changes need to be implemented at this time. Some employers have postponed screenings until later in the year, hoping to be able to preserve their program and incentive structures. A number of employers have begun to cancel biometric screenings for 2020.

Wellness activities

Where possible, employers are shifting wellness activities (and related tracking) to their wellness portals. Many are extending deadlines for meeting wellness requirements, especially where incentives or surcharges are in place. If the COVID-19 crisis continues to the point that physician visits are not a sound option, employers will have no choice but to waive any incentive-related requirements. To date a small number of employers have already decided to waive all 2020 wellness requirements altogether.

Fitness

Physical activity is critical for a healthy body and mind. Employees may take advantage of the many online resources offered through their employer health plans, wellness vendors, and local/regional/national public resources. For those who belong to a gym or work with a trainer, many now offer online classes and coaching. This is also a perfect time to connect virtually with friends and family to challenge one another to an exercise routine.

If employees do not have access to a wellness portal or virtual fitness through their employer, there are many products available online. Some programs and vendors are available at no cost or reduced cost during the COVID-19 crisis.

Nutrition

Employers should remind employees about resources for healthy nutrition that may be embedded or available through your health plans, wellness vendors, and even employee discount programs. Some have updated their employee home pages to include links to additional resources such as vendor sites, e-books, webinars, videos, and other mental and physical health resources.

Mental health

The focus on mental health services is more critical than ever. Wellness vendors and health clinics are uniquely positioned to assist members with mental health needs and offer referrals to EAP and behavioral health programs if indicated. Many patients already have a relationship with the healthcare professional in the clinic or their wellness coach, and are more likely to discuss all health needs, including anxiety and depression. Some of the mental health services being provided include virtual supports, “coping” tip sheets, stress management webinars, and information sharing groups.

Employer-sponsored health clinics

Employee health centers are playing a pivotal role in helping employers maintain the health and safety of their workforce. Thankfully, most health clinic vendors have robust technical infrastructures in place for digital and virtual care.

Most clinics are also able to communicate directly with patients via their patient portal, email, by phone, and text messaging. Some are working to stay open for “in-person” visits where it is safe to do so and still permitted by local and state guidelines. They also provide telephonic and virtual visits for screening and triaging symptoms, behavioral health counseling, and health coaching. Those without the ability to provide COVID-19 testing are referring patients to local health departments.

The new normal

Our interviews with these industry leaders were overwhelmingly positive. Vendors feel they are in a position to pivot the conversation about next-step strategies now, and as the pandemic comes under control. We will have a new normal, perhaps with a greater appreciation for our mental and physical health.

The Buck Health Intelligence practice is here to help guide the conversation now and in the future. Please let us know how we can assist by contacting us at 1 866 355 6647 or talktous@buck.com.

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