Local charities benefit as Ministry Health Care employees lose

During the first three months of a new program designed to help Ministry Health Care employees lose weight, almost 6,000 pounds were lost. But as employees lost weight, several local charities benefitted.

Ministry’s program, “A Healthier You” utilizes the Tangerine Wellness Program to help employees lose weight. This nationally-recognized program is now in place at many large corporations and achieving results. And the results at Ministry were very successful. 32 percent of Ministry employees enrolled in the program initially. During the first quarter 1,343 participants lost a total of 5,937 pounds. This reflects an average weight loss per employee of almost five pounds.

To encourage participation and competition, teams were created across the system to challenge each other. At the end of the first quarter three Ministry facilities were cited for the highest number of pounds lost during this phase of the program. Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Howard Young Health Care, and Saint Clare’s Hospital were recognized for their success. Each team selected a local charity to support with their efforts.

The Lakeland Area Food Pantry and the Vilas Food Pantry will each receive $1,250 as the result of the efforts of Howard Young Health Care employees. Both of these local food pantries provide much needed assistance to their communities and will benefit from their support.

”Community support is so important in the success of the food pantry and we are thankful to the Ministry employees for choosing us as a recipient of their hard work and dedication,” said Pam Winkelman of Lakeland Area Food Pantry.

“We recognized a need to improve the overall health of our employees,” noted Cheryl Zima, Vice President of Human Resources for Ministry. “We are using the Tangerine approach to assist with weight loss realizing that a healthy weight is an important part of maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.”

The program brings great benefit to the organization in such things as a healthier workforce, less absenteeism, reduced health care benefits costs, greater continuity of care as a result of less absenteeism, and improved patient care.

The program also has benefits for the individual to participate beyond those of better health. Employees receive $5 for each percent of weight loss they achieve through the program. This incentive is cumulative and carries into subsequent quarters. During the first quarter successful participants combined received nearly $21,000 from the program’s individual incentive approach.

During the next quarter of the program hospital cafeterias and vending machines will begin offering healthier food options for employees. By October, cafeterias will offer 50 percent of their menus following American Heart Association FIT guidelines for healthy eating. Employees and visitors who choose healthier options can participate in a punch card program that offers free meals for regular participation which amounts to approximately a 20 percent discount in cost.

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