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Q&A with 2016 Bronze Level WorkWell MA Award Winner, Flexon Industries

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Wednesday, December 14, 2016


2016 WorkWell MA Bronze Award Winner, Flexcon Industries
Interview with Kim Smith

Tell us about yourself and your organization. 
Flexcon Industries, a member of the Swan Group, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of pre-pressurized diaphragm tanks used in water storage applications. Focusing on quality, innovation, and customer service since 1989 they have positioned their products at the forefront of the industry. Flexcon is the first company to offer a stainless-steel water connection on a well tank, a union connection, the first flow thru tank for constant pressure systems, and the first diaphragm composite tank.

I am the Administrative Assistant/Wellness Coordinator and, along with Vicki Scopa, run the wellness program.  We organize seminars, challenges and bring in vendors from the health and wellness industry. We also handle all program communications including newsletters, postings and emails.

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for team you/your team?
We have worked hard to organize and maintain our wellness program so this means a lot to us and shows us that our efforts are worthwhile.  Vicki and I both do this in our spare time so winning an award is validation that our program is on track and working. 

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
Wellness programs are important because it reflects on the company. It shows that they care for their employees, not just for the work that they do for the organization, but also on a personal level.  The program is not enforced and it’s not a numbers thing, meaning it doesn’t tie back to our insurance. No one is punished or rewarded for participating or not in the program, rather it is done to engage employees and help them on all levels.

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
Our ongoing programs include the healthy snack of the month, we are involved in the Nourish to Flourish program, and we have a weight loss program called Weigh-to-Earn. 

We don’t currently have anything new planned but we are hoping that in conjunction with our new insurance broker we will be trying out some new programs.  We would like to bring in a vendor each month for a workshop or class for our employees to take advantage of such as a fitness classes, an ergonomics class, a nutrition workshop, etc.

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 
We believe the program is good for morale. Giving people knowledge and ways to help them be healthier is the first component and then some of our wellness challenges bring everyone together so it’s great for employee morale and engagement.

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 
The healthy snack of the month is unique because we provide our employees with different types of food that they might not normally eat. In the past, we have given out different kinds of fruits, veggie cups and we recently have teamed up with Snack Nation, who will be providing us monthly with unique options such as plantain chips, sweet potato chips and other healthy alternatives.  We have a diverse group of people so we try to find things that are beneficial for everyone.

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc) 
Just myself and Vicki, who is our Document Control/Wellness Coordinator.

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
Keep it simple to start. If you make it to elaborate to begin with it is hard to keep up.  But don’t give up – you might get a lot of resistance in the beginning but it will pay off!


Tags:  AwardsMassachusetts  Employee Engagement  Flexcon  HR  Human Resources  Q&A  Wellness  wellness ambassadors  Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards  WWCMA 

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Q&A with 2016 Silver WorkWell MA Award Winner, Pegasystems

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Monday, December 12, 2016


2016 WorkWell MA Silver Award Winner, Pegasystems
Interview with Crystal McDermott

Tell us about yourself and your organization. 
Pegasystems (Pega) develops strategic applications for sales, marketing, service and operations. Pega’s applications streamline critical business operations, connect enterprises to their customers seamlessly in real-time across channels, and adapt to meet rapidly changing requirements. 

Pega is a global company with offices in 19 countries, serving many of the world’s leading and most sophisticated Enterprises.  

Together with Eve Gao, Pega’s Benefits Specialist, I develop and support robust benefit offerings to our North American employees, including the wellness program.   Some of our wellness programs are offered to our employees worldwide.  

Congratulations on being a WWCMA WorkWell Massachusetts awardee. What does this mean for you/your team?
This recognition is yet another objective measure of the success of our program.  We hear regular feedback from our employees and their families about the positive effects that our wellness program has.  This honor demonstrates that our program measures up against all of the best and brightest.  We are thrilled to receive this honor and share this success with our employees who strive every day to improve their lives and make Pega an amazing place to work. 

Why are wellness programs important for your organization?
While the tangible benefits such as an increase in preventive care and physical activity are clear, the team building and improvement to organizational health are less easily quantified, but equally beneficial.  These programs serve to both improve the overall health of our employees and their families while at the same time helping to create an atmosphere filled with comradery, healthy competition and a strong focus on positive outcomes.  

What wellness program(s) have you implemented? Any new initiatives planned?
Currently our wellness program, PegaUP!, is constructed of three parts including physical health, financial health and mental and emotional health.  We regularly engage employees in various initiatives around physical health, encouraging increased activity and preventive care. An example of these include our global fitness challenges, an engaging Health Risk Assessment for employees and spouses, onsite yoga and HIIT classes.  Pega has also implemented a fun points-based system for earning a cash-incentive; “the more you do, the more you earn”.  

Supporting our employees financial health has included seminars on planning for Medicare, Retirement planning and Eldercare.  Programs to help with stress relief, time management and onsite massages help to manage our employee’s mental and emotional well-being.  In the coming year, we will continue to focus on all of the above as well as investigating expanded options in the area of mental and emotional health as well as planning for retirement. 

What impact is/are they having on your organization and employees? 
We have received direct feedback from employees that significant and sometimes serious issues have been caught early as a direct result of the employee engaging in preventive care. We’ve had numerous employees’ state that because of our wellness plan, this is the first time in years that they had an annual physical, dental or vision exam.  

These are the type of results that make us the most proud.  When an employee, inspired by the wellness program, makes the decision to take better care of themselves, the program is having a clear and measurable effect on the life of the employee and by extension, the Pega community.   

Additionally, many of the initiatives result in employees coming together to compete with or against each other in healthy challenges.  This creates opportunities for individuals to meet and build even stronger working relationships.  These benefits extend beyond wellness, creating a cohesive Pega team.  

Are there aspects of your wellness program that make it unique that you would like to share? 
We feel our PegaUP! wellness program is unique in that we focus on total well-being.  While we offer many wellness programs to encourage a focus on physical activities, we also offer other initiatives focused on financial well-being and emotional well-being.  We think this is important to help our employees feel “emotionally fit” which has had a positive impact on our company culture.  

Who are your wellness champions? (CEO, division leader, HR leader, an employee, etc) 
Our entire leadership team supports our wellness activities.  Our greatest wellness champion is our CEO and Founder, Alan Trefler.  Alan has always supported our wellness activities and continues to support us offering a new Fitbit to our new hires.  This gets employees engaged from Day One!   

There are wellness champions throughout the Pega community including many of our top leaders.  A Vice President regularly attends our on-site yoga classes, many take advantage of our on-site biometric screenings, and others encourage their teams to participate in the wellness challenges.  In each of the functional areas of the wellness program, there are many different members who help us to promote the initiatives and encourage other employees to engage to improve their own well-being.   

Any words of wisdom for organizations starting a new program? 
Start small.  Focus first on low hanging fruit. Deliver initiatives that your employees are immediately interested in.  As you earn credibility with your employees, you can then introduce more challenging and niche programs.  

Communicating to your employees is critical.  Be prepared to say your message numerous ways and times.  Most of all, remember that for many people, health can be a scary thing and something they can easily put off in place of work, family and other distractions/stresses in their life.  By making your program fun, and interesting, you have a great opportunity to engage your employees in initiatives that will improve their overall health and well-being while creating a positive company culture which can strengthen your company.


Tags:  AwardsMassachusetts  Employee Engagement  HR  Human Resources  Pegasystems  Q&A  wellness ambassadors  Workwell Massachusetts  workwell massachusetts awards 

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What is Telemedicine?

Posted By Melissa Matheson, Tuesday, August 16, 2016
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation report of 2015 employer-sponsored health insurance covers over half of the non-elderly US population, for a total of 147 million people. A report published by the Institute for Healthcare Consumerism suggests that health care costs use up to 50% or more of a company’s corporate profits. Of these, the indirect costs of poor health that include absence of work and decreased productivity can be up to 2 to 3 times the amount spent on direct medical costs.  As companies become more engaged in their need to decrease costs associated with providing healthcare to their employees, emerging telemedicine platforms are rapidly evolving as a potential vital tool to control costs, improve access to care, and reduce absenteeism. 

By engaging telemedicine enabled care, employees avoid the disruption of having to take time off to receive care for conditions which can be generally managed via remote access. Telemedicine services can take several forms: real-time video or telephonic communication including text interaction between patient and physician, remote monitoring of patients such as those with chronic illnesses, medication adherence tools, and other remote web and mobile applications to assist with management. 

Approximately 74% of employers plan to offer telehealth services to their employees in states where telehealth is permitted. This represents an increase of approximately 48% from 2015.   37% of employers in 2015 expected to offer their employees telemedicine consultations to offset costly emergency room or physician office visits. By 2016 – 2017 an additional 34% expected to offer telemedicine consultations as a viable alternative. A potential $6 billion in savings could be achieved by employing telehealth services in the workplace.  

Telemedicine is certainly at the forefront of medicine, but several issues must be addressed and process redesign in the creation of new delivery care models including those in the workplace must take center stage:
  1. The declining number of primary care physicians as well as increasing wait times for physician visits and the demand for same day visits are helping drive telemedicine and telehealth to the forefront of innovative solutions to offset these problems. However, fragmentation of care continues to be a concern especially for consumers frequently using alternative sources of care other than their primary care physicians. Additionally, telehealth services pose a significant threat to disruption in the continuity of care for patients, especially those with chronic conditions such as diabetes.  

  2. Contracting directly with vendors such as Teladoc, MDLive or Doctor On-Demand permits corporate entities to establish preferential pricing solutions to help offset costs of providing care. Telehealth providers generally employ either proprietary or private Electronic Health Records (EHR’s) in the process of providing care. The patient data incorporated and integrated into the health record remains with the vendor’s EHR. It is important to understand how the employee have easy access to their medical history as well as have the tele-visit encounter transferred to their primary care physician. What will happen to data access if the vendor goes out of business? How are requests for the information gathered during the telehealth encounter dealt with by the vendor? Who owns the data of the encounter and what safeguards are in place to protect patient/employee confidentiality and monitor HIPAA privacy compliance? Undoubtedly, telehealth vendors like all providers have a need to not only obtain data, but also analyze, track, and interpret data to help achieve the performance goals. 

  3. Furthermore, what safeguards are in place in the event of misdiagnosis or delay of treatment? Are the vendors of telehealth services solely at risk or are employers also at risk in the event of malpractice litigation? 

  4. Accessing a provider through a web or mobile service may not be the preferred option for every employee population. How does the vendor plan to communicate the service, increase adoption, and drive engagement

Telemedicine offers a solution for employees to obtain care in the workplace and at home without disruption of normal activities. While telehealth can expand the reach of medicine and potentially reduce the cost of certain services for many, it is still an unstructured field with many different approaches to care. 

Article written by: Mario Moya MD
Mario Moya MD is a native of Del Rio, Texas and has been in private practice in the Philadelphia area since 1995. He currently works providing vascular services in the outpatient setting in multiple states and holds unrestricted licenses in 21 states.  Dr. Moya earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin and subsequently pursued his medical studies at the University of Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico on a scholarship program. He completed Surgical and Internal Medicine Internships as well as Radiology Residency at Mercy Catholic in 1994 followed by a Fellowship in Vascular and Interventional at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas. Committed to lifelong learning, he is currently enrolled as a student in Brown University’s Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership. Dr. Moya became interested in population health management and the use of telemedicine as an adjunct in the proactive management of chronic conditions such as Diabetes.  As a physician, he is passionate about being at the forefront of new models of care that employ evolving virtual technologies with true medical home care services providing greater access to care for management of chronic conditions in underserved areas. 


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Tags:  Employee Benefits  Employee Engagement  HR  Human Resources  Telemedicine  Wellness Programs  Worksite Wellness  Worksite Wellness Programs 

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The Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts (WWCMA) is the preeminent, independent and objective resource for health promotion in the workplace and champions wellness programs to help employers encourage healthy employees, healthy families, and healthy communities across the Commonwealth.