Giv­ing in­cen­tives …

Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Letters - Pamela L. Long Fa­cil­ity safety of­fi­cer Prov­i­dence St. Peter Hospi­tal Olympia, Wash.

Our fa­cil­i­ties now give gift cer­tifi­cates for em­ploy­ees who do their an­nual ex­ams like Pap smears, mam­mo­grams and a health screen­ing on­line (“Se­nate bill’s well­ness pro­vi­sions spur dis­crim­i­na­tion wor­ries,” Mod­ern Health­, Jan. 3).

This way you are not dis­crim­i­nat­ing for those who had the ex­ams and some­thing was found, or for those who spend more an­nu­ally be­cause of chronic health is­sues. I be­lieve that this is a great way to give em­ploy­ees an in­cen­tive to stay healthy and use the early-de­tec­tion process by get­ting an­nual ex­ams.

Years ago, we had in­cen­tives to not use more than a cer­tain dol­lar amount, use seat­belts 100% of the time, re­duce or quit smok­ing, keep an ex­er­cise log, etc., and the com­pany gave us a few hun­dred dol­lars if we met eight out of 10 re­quire­ments to keep healthy or live health­ier. But some peo­ple couldn’t meet the cri­te­ria be­cause of chronic ill­ness or dis­abil­ity.

Once we changed to the newer pro­gram listed above, all staff could par­tic­i­pate and it gives peo­ple an in­cen­tive to look at what they can work on to im­prove their own health no mat­ter what ill­ness or dis­abil­ity they have. In turn, com­pa­nies save money through aware­ness and early de­tec­tion.

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