September 17, 2018 - 6:05 AM EDT
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Three Companies Recognized with C. Everett Koop National Health Award Honorable Mentions for their Efforts to Improve Employee Health and Achieve Business Results

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- As attraction and retention of top talent becomes an increasingly important priority for businesses, workplace wellness programs are gaining traction among employers. But these programs need to demonstrate that that they can improve workers' health, reduce spending and achieve positive business outcomes. Since 1994, a non-profit known as The Health Project has been awarding annual prizes to organizations with proven health improvement and cost savings programs through its prestigious C. Everett Koop National Health Award.

To apply for the award, organizations submit data to a volunteer group of experts who form the review committee for The Health Project. Applicants must show quantitative evidence that the company's health promotion programs produced significant improvements in both workers' health and business outcomes.

Today, The Health Project announced that three companies were selected by a panel of judges for Honorable Mention recognition in 2018.

The 2018 C. Everett Koop Award Honorable Mention designees are: Kaiser Permanente, LG&E and KU Energy, and MaineGeneral Health.

Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente is recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. In 2010, Kaiser Permanente launched Healthy Workforce, its national workforce wellness program for employees, with the aim of creating the healthiest workforce in the health care industry by fostering a culture of safety, health and well-being among its more than 216,000 employees.

In 2017, the focus on wellness shifted toward a more holistic approach of well-being by incorporating new areas of focus outside of physical and mental health, including financial, community, social and career wellness. The health and well-being programs and initiatives developed by Healthy Workforce have resulted in high employee engagement; for example, over 80 percent of the employees completed their biometric screenings. The results of the health impact evaluation found that Kaiser Permanente employees are more engaged in their health and perform better over time than a benchmark comparison group on a range of health indicators.

LG&E and KU Energy provides safe and reliable electricity and natural gas to its nearly 1.3 million customers and is committed to ensuring the well-being of more than 3,500 employees and their family members at more than 50 facilities throughout Kentucky and Virginia. While the company's wellness culture has evolved over three decades, the existing holistic well-being program is in its fourth year of operation. Known as "Healthy for Life (HFL)," it includes an online portal where employees and spouses engage in well-being challenges to earn points toward incentives.

Since Healthy for Life began, participation rates have consistently reached 90 percent or higher. Safety is the number one priority at the company, and the recordable incident rate decreased from 1.29 in 2013 to 0.97 in 2017. In addition, the company has witnessed a meaningful drop in employee tobacco use coinciding with reductions in medical spending and increases in adult wellness visits. Today, LG&E and KU employees are among the industry's top safety performers with many national awards attributable to low injury rates far below the national average.

MaineGeneral Health is a comprehensive non-profit healthcare system with a mission of enhancing the health of people in the greater Kennebec Valley of Maine. The system employs 4,504 workers across 31 locations. Although self-insured, there have been no health care plan design changes or increases in the employee portion of the health insurance premiums for the last four years, which reflects the organization's commitment to the health and well-being of employees and their families and the positive impact of health and well-being initiatives.

MaineGeneral's health promotion and wellness program is branded "A Healthier You," with a mission to promote healthy living by providing an environment and organizational culture that supports good health. Since 2014, program participation rates increased from 46 percent to 84 percent, and employees' health risk profile improved with a 50 percent reduction in high-risk, and a 17 percent increase in low-risk individuals. With health care spending for those engaged in the wellness program trending in a positive direction and overall spending remaining flat, MaineGeneral has calculated potential savings in medical costs that exceed $1 million.

"The C. Everett Koop Award recognizes organizations that have excellent evidence-based programs that improve employee health and well-being.  But, to win recognition, employers need to provide solid evidence that their programs have improved health outcomes and produced meaningful business results," said Ron Goetzel, PhD, President and CEO of The Health Project.

This year's application was expanded to accommodate the industry's trend towards a more holistic approach to workplace health. The application welcomed metrics that support Value-on-Investment (VOI) in addition to the more traditional Return-on-Investment (ROI) standard.

According to Seth Serxner, PhD, Vice President of The Health Project, "As the value proposition shifts from a pure ROI model to a more comprehensive VOI framework, employers see health management as less of a cost containment strategy and as more of human capital and business performance strategy that helps them attain business objectives such as top line growth, greater productivity, better employee engagement and high levels of customer satisfaction."

However, like last year, the board determined that there was no winner of the Koop Award in 2018, even though many of the applicants offered robust programs with innovative components. Reviewers determined that outcomes data fell short of the rigorous evaluation requirements expected of a Koop Award winner. Nonetheless, all applicants received detailed feedback from the reviewers and were encouraged to re-apply next year.

Because of the rigorous standards required for documenting health improvements and cost savings, fewer than 65 organizations have been honored with this prestigious award since the organization was established, with Dr. C. Everett Koop, the former Surgeon General of the United States, as its honorary chairperson.

The awards will be presented on October 3rd, 2018 at the annual Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Forum in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. More information about the C. Everett Koop National Health Award and award-winning health promotion programs are available at

The Health Project, Inc. (The Health Project, "THP"), is a tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation formed to bring about critical attitudinal and behavioral changes in addressing the health and well-being of Americans. THP's mission is to seek out, evaluate, promote and disseminate the lessons learned from exemplary health promotion and disease prevention programs with demonstrated effectiveness in influencing personal health habits and cost-effective use of health care resources. The C. Everett Koop National Health Awards are given each year to worksite, community or provider programs which have soundly documented improved health and decreased medical costs.

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SOURCE The Health Project

Source: PR Newswire (September 17, 2018 - 6:05 AM EDT)

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