INTRODUCING THE HEALTHIEST 100 WORKPLACES IN AMERICA
Wake County Government
Wellness Program Success Credited to Ability to Manage Chronic Conditions and Gaps in Care
November 4, 2021
Headquarters: Raleigh, North Carolina
Full-Time Employee Count: 4,200
About: Wake County Government is a local government entity that employs approximately 4,200 employees to serve over one million citizens. The organization’s mission is to improve the economic, education, social well-being, and physical quality of the community.
Angela Crawford, Director of Human Resources, provided the following information to highlight WakeCounty’s impact on their employee population.
Q: What specific element of your program is moving the needle for your well-being program and positively affecting your employees' health?
A: No single element of Wake's program is responsible for moving the needle alone. Rather, it is the collection and thoughtful promotion of holistic benefits, resources, and information tailored to meet the unique needs of our multi-generational and diverse workforce. Wake's employees and their families are receptive to our support because we continuously work to maintain a culture of care and trust.
Wake also provides monetary incentives for members who receive the recommended annual preventive care based on their age, sex, and other health factors, such as chronic condition status. Through Wake's partnerships with our health plan carrier, employee health center, and diabetes management program provider, Wake provides individualized condition management coaching to help employees better manage their chronic conditions (including behavioral health) by closing gaps in care, maintaining a relationship with a healthcare provider, monitoring their conditions over time, and managing their medications.
Finally, Wake maintains a multi-modal communication strategy to reach our employees and their families with information and resources to support their health and wellbeing over time, which includes a focus on prevention and management of chronic conditions most prevalent in our population.
"Wake County’s approach to the health and well-being of its employees is built on the philosophy that each employee is unique and valuable. I am proud that the County’s benefits program is designed to meet our diverse workforce needs and achieve outcomes that ensure the employees are successful while on the job and in life."
– Emily Lucas, Chief Financial Officer
Q: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, how did your organization work to create a "Pandemic Plan" and what factors did you take into consideration when making these decisions? What effects of this plan are still in motion today and/or in the foreseeable future?
A: Wake implemented an “Alternate Work Site” policy that required the organization to move to remote working to the greatest extent possible. Wake had three priorities – Respond to the threat of COVID-19, maintain county operations, and protect the health and safety of our employees. Due to robust information technology infrastructure and telework policy, approximately 50% of employees moved to remote work. For those employees that could not work remotely, we worked to establish social distancing practices, provided sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, and implemented engineering controls to reduce this risk of COVID-19 spread between employees and our customers.
Many working remotely expressed interest in continuing to do so beyond the pandemic, citing numerous benefits such as improved health and well-being and enhanced productivity and creativity. Rather than revert to pre-COVID norms, Wake leaders chose to use lessons learned from COVID adaptation to reimagine future operations and created the Wake 2.0 Initiative.
A cross-departmental Work Group leads the Wake 2.0 effort. The goals of Wake 2.0 are to ensure outstanding service delivery and high customer satisfaction, maintain and improve productivity, enhance talent recruitment, retention and professional growth, nurture the health and well-being of employees, support working together to achieve connection, culture and collaboration, and reduce the County’s carbon footprint.
Q: What makes your well-being program stand out? Relatedly, what statistic best captures the success of your program's effectiveness in the past 12 months?
A: Wake places great emphasis and value on helping our population manage their health at every stage of life, and across the broad spectrum of health. Wake believes that a sustained relationship with a primary care provider/medical home is central to that, which is why Wake incentivizes annual physicals, offers a multi-location worksite clinic that provides primary care, and continuously educates our population about the importance of a primary care provider relationship.Throughout the challenging year of 2020, many employers saw a dip in utilization across the board—including primary and preventive care services. Wake is proud to say that not only did we avoid that negative utilization trend, but Wake actually increased our annual physical rate and overall preventive care screening rate from 2019 to 2020, and remained above our data analytic platforms’ book of business normative values for these utilization metrics.
“At Wake, wellness isn’t a buzz word. During the COVID-19 pandemic, while most organizations were cutting funding to wellness programs, Wake continued to invest in the health and well-being of its employees. As a result, our member engagement remained steady and we experienced a 5.4% decrease in chronic health conditions. Telehealth utilization increased 486% and 77% of our members completed preventive care visits. We couldn’t be more of our leadership engagement and support and of our employees who truly live a culture of wellness.”
– Trinija Martin, Deputy Human Resources Director
To view the rest of our top 10 winners, check out our Healthiest 100 blog posts here!
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