Michigan Insurance Provider Receives AHA Recognition

Blue Care Network of Michigan--which is the HMO affiliated with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan--was recently named as a gold-level Fit Friendly Company in the American Heart Association's 2007 Start! challenge, which recognizes companies that demonstrate commitment to promoting exercise and good nutrition in the workplace.

The recognition is the result of an employee health and fitness program, titled Wellness Works!, that BCN instituted earlier this year in its offices across the state.

The program made several changes to promote wellness in BCN's work environment, including:

  • At BCN's Southfield offices, the cafeteria vendor lowered by 25 percent the price of 10 healthy items, including vegetables and fruits, and raised the price of its 10 unhealthiest foods.
  • Many candy bars in BCN vending machines vanished, replaced with healthier choices.
  • A six-month competition encouraged employees to walk and take part in a weight loss challenge. A total of 817 employees, or 65 percent of the BCN workforce, participated in the challenges. They walked 344,725 miles--equivalent to 14 trips around the Earth--and lost 2,100 pounds.
  • Pedometers were provided to all employees signed up for the walking contest.
  • Employee health fairs have been held every six months.
  • Automatic blood pressure machines are now in all BCN facilities.

"Wellness Works! helps our employees maintain and improve their health," said Pam Reinert, BCN director of quality management. "Wellness Works! also helps us walk our talk. We're proving that what we encourage other companies to do can be done: offering employees physical activity support, creating healthy eating options and promoting a culture of wellness."

For more information on AHA's challenge, visit www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3040778.

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