HR program gives employees insight into health status

The old saying “knowledge is power” rings especially true when it comes to health.

For the second year in a row, Penn is helping faculty and staff harness that power with its “Be in the Know” program, a wellness campaign that aims to give the University community better insight into their current health status—and earn a monetary incentive for doing so.

“It’s about faculty and staff members gaining more knowledge about their health so that they can then maintain good health and, if it’s appropriate, build better health,” says Marilyn Kraut, Human Resources (HR) director of Quality Worklife Programs. “If you feel well and are energetic, that can perhaps make you more engaged with the University.”

The campaign offers an incentive of $100, less applicable payroll taxes, for individuals who participate in the program within the appropriate deadlines. All full-time and part-time, benefits-eligible faculty and staff are eligible to complete the program in a few simple steps.

First, participants must register for and complete a free, confidential biometric screening, performed by AREUFIT Health Services, between Oct. 28 and Dec. 6. The screening consists of a series of quick tests that measure key indicators of overall health: blood pressure, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and blood sugar. Participants can also choose to submit results from screenings conducted by a personal physician.

During the appointment, AREUFIT health educators will discuss the biometric screening results, what they mean, and how they could be improved or maintained.

Coinciding with the launch of HR’s new wellness portal, participants will be asked to complete the program in January by logging into the portal and answering a series of questions about their health history. The portal will then provide a personalized health assessment report, which will provide even more personal information about potential health risks and possible therapeutic actions.

“The wellness portal is going to have a lot of exciting information on it, and hopefully the health assessment will help familiarize people with it when it rolls out in January,” Kraut says. She says all screening results and health assessments are completely confidential, and that Penn will never see any individual results, only aggregate data to use as the basis for new health promotion programming.

Participants who have successfully completed all steps of the program can expect to receive the monetary incentive in their paychecks in Spring 2014.

In 2012, more than 4,200 faculty and staff members participated in the “Be in the Know” program, and Kraut says past participants are encouraged to get involved again this year.

For more information on how to register for a screening or how to submit a physician’s report, visit the HR website.

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