#1 Harris Health System

#1 Harris Health System

Harris Health System

Jan. 19, 2023

Ranking: #1

Headquarters: Bellaire, Texas

Full-Time Employee Count: 9,323

About: Harris Health System is a fully integrated, community-focused, academic healthcare system dedicated to improving the health of residents in Harris County, Texas, through quality care delivery, coordination of care, and education. The system includes community health centers, same-day clinics, three multi-specialty clinic locations, a dental center and dialysis center, mobile health units and two full-service hospitals. In addition, Harris Health System recently took over Correctional Health from Harris County.

Q: What is the most unique benefit offering currently in place? If you were to talk about your program with someone who does not work there, what would you share about your program that would make them want to join your team?

A: One of our most prominent benefits is the free medication for participants in our Livongo Diabetes and Hypertension Programs. Participants in these two programs can earn free medications by testing glucose or blood pressure at least four times per month to ensure appropriate care.

These incentives also reduce costs associated with prescription drugs and increase medication adherence among our population. We achieved 96.2% medication adherence in program participants, compared to 87.4% in non-participants. Strong medication adherence leads to increased quality metrics, lower care gaps, and fewer inpatient days and ER visits. Overall, healthier, engaged, and positive employees contribute to our culture of well-being.

Our program is comprehensive and data-driven. We are able to track health outcomes based on participation, whereas many other organizations have significant limitations. Fortunately, we have a lot of control over our program and trust from an organizational perspective, which allows us to understand the effectiveness of our initiatives and make data-driven decisions. This approach has dramatically increased the respect wellness has within our organization.

The overall culture of wellness at Harris Health and freedom amongst the Employee Wellness team are awesome. Leadership is onboard and supportive of employee well-being, and we have high participation in our programs and activities. It’s ingrained in our culture and everything we do. Our team also has the freedom of creativity to try out new ideas, tailor schedules and topics to employee feedback, and modify our program when needed. We have a comprehensive wellness program, which allows team members to get a broad level of experience in which to grow and develop. It also allows our program to continue to stay fresh and evolve.

Q: How are you addressing the mental health crisis in the United States as COVID-19 continues to pose a threat?

A: We are addressing mental and emotional health through education, special events, relaxation rooms, counseling resources, and management training. We offer a variety of workshops and classes each month and have focused topics more on mental and emotional health. This year, we added a new workshop series that takes an inspiring word and brings it to life to inspire hope, motivation, and garner self-improvement. We also offer our well-powered living class series, which focuses on mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being to help people focus on the things that matter in life.

This year, we hosted our annual Relaxathons. These special events offer creative activities and massages for employees to relax and have fun. In an effort to provide a quiet space for employees to take a break and decompress, we also helped build relaxation rooms across the system.

Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides individual counseling for a variety of needs including financial, legal, counseling, work-life, and organizational services. The EAP is available 24/7/365 to all employees and their families. EAP counselors provide onsite assistance for critical incidents and support employees with grief and traumatic events. EAP professionals also provide monthly webinars on various topics, including caregiver burnout, resiliency, trauma, and dealing with the impacts of COVID-19. In addition, Cigna provides behavioral health resources, which include access to support, lifestyle coaching, and educational tools. Medical plan members have access to mental health virtual care and apps, such as Talkspace, Happify, and iPrevail. Cigna also offers extended resources for autism, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and more.

Leadership is important in overall well-being. Wellness provides education to management and new employees through management and new employee onboarding to instill a culture of health.

Q: What statistic best captures the success of your program’s effectiveness in the past 12 months?

A: It’s hard to choose just one statistic that best captures the success of our wellness program since we have such a comprehensive program and perform a thorough program evaluation yearly. Building a culture of health and having employees feel that their employer cares about them are the foundations of a best-practice program; we are happy to share the following statistics that represent our workforce and program:

●  89.72% of employees believe that Harris Health System cares about their health and well-being, a 3.43% increase from the prior year

●  88.75% of employees believe there is a culture of health and wellness within Harris Health System, a 2.17% increase from the prior program year

●  89.16% of employees are satisfied with the Wellness Program, a 3.26% increase from the prior program year

At Harris Health System, one of our main targeted interventions is diabetes management. There are enormous opportunities in helping participants with diabetes live their best lives and manage benefits costs. This past year, we had 55% of our employees and spouses with diabetes engaged in our Livongo Diabetes Management Program.

Q: Provide a testimony from one of your employees.

A: “I started using the Livongo program almost immediately after it was rolled out to Harris Health System’s employees in 2017. This benefit has been life-saving in fostering the management of my diabetes. I have been able to monitor my diabetes with the assistance of around-the-clock coaches who text me, immediately, to render assistance if there is an issue with my glucose numbers after testing. They make recommendations and follow up to ensure I am on the right path. I am also encouraged to call at any time if I have questions, or just need to speak with someone. Additionally, the meter offers suggestions on what to eat and shares exercise tips among other things.

One of the things that I absolutely love is that my medication is paid for if I just test my glucose once a week. Normally, I’d pay over $150 monthly for my medication. I am more aware, because of the education and encouragement I receive via coaching calls and the educational circulars emailed to me. The circulars help me make better food choices. I get great ideas for exercising and even partake in challenges. This is definitely a benefit that is commendable! Additionally, I have also spoken with a couple of my peers who shared their excitement about the wellness programs that are rolled out. They especially talked about the short informational wellness classes offered at the various pavilions and how it has helped them incorporate the given tips to better their personal well-being.”

“I am most excited about the lives transformed by our wellness program. Today I was taking the stairs and came across an employee that told me two times per day that she walks from the first floor to the eleventh. I am so proud of the progress our people are making, and the culture that has been created. Healthy employees produce better health care outcomes!
Our focus will be on keeping employees healthy through education and activity. We have to keep chronic conditions under control.”
– Omar Reid, Chief People Officer

Learn More and Apply

Are you a Healthiest Employer?

Discover insight into your population’s health and wellbeing.

Take the Healthiest Employers Assessment to measure how your wellness initiatives stack up.

Nominate Your Organization