Health Benefits for Hospital Employees: A Cautionary Tale

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media , April 8, 2013

What about the remaining 19%? According to SEIU, these workers couldn't make it to required biometric screening appointments because of conflicting schedules since many of their workers have families, work night shifts, take public transportation, etc.

When I asked the hospital why these employees weren't participating, the answer pointed to a disconnect in communications. "I don't know. You'll have to ask SEIU. It's a great deal and they should use the wellness program and I don't know why they didn't," says Deborah Shawver, APR, Director of PR/Marketing Communications at PSPH. "I just find it really hard to believe that they couldn't make it to a wellness screening. There were so many opportunities over a very long period of time [two months] with almost daily emails about it. … So there were a variety of options, and at some point, you have to participate in the plan."

If you want employees to participate in reducing costs, take steps to make sure your priorities and theirs are aligned. Otherwise, you may be learning about them later, yelled at you from across the picket lines.

"The message in healthcare over the years is that we're asking employees to absorb increases as well as asking them to use our own providers through plan design. So the message is, 'Use our providers, and costs for you are going up,'" says Dizenhouse. "But employers have to emphasize that 'We're going to take care of you along the way.' That means recognizing the changing landscape in healthcare and being proactive about integrating it into healthcare programs for your employees."

Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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