SOURCE: National Business Group on Health

March 16, 2006 11:37 ET

National Business Group on Health Announces Winners of Its President's Awards

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 16, 2006 -- The National Business Group on Health today announced that ICI and Baptist Health South Florida have been awarded its President's "Best in Class" Awards for their outstanding performance and overall excellence in Health Benefits Communication and Comprehensive Health Improvement.

ICI, one of the world's major specialty products and paints businesses, was awarded the President's "Best in Class" Award in Health Benefits Communication for its Integrated Health Care Education Program. Baptist Health South Florida, the region's most-preferred not-for-profit healthcare organization, received the President's "Best in Class" Award in Comprehensive Health Improvement for its Wellness Advantage Program. The awards were presented today at the Business Group's annual Business Health Agenda Conference in Washington, DC.

"The Business Group recognizes and honors employers that are leading the way with paradigm-setting health care benefits programs and services that moderate the growth in costs and improve the quality of health and life of their employees," said Harry Spencer, Chairman of the Board of the National Business Group on Health. "ICI and Baptist Health have demonstrated excellence in their commitment to providing 'best in class' health benefits and services."

ICI's Integrated Health Care Education Program was created to transition employees from Preferred Provider Organization to Health Reimbursement Accounts, encourage proper health care utilization, and promote shared responsibility. Among the six goals it identified were to increase both employee understanding of health care benefits and perceived value of the program, promote migration to the new Core Plan; and correlate behavior change with the communication campaign.

ICI's innovative communication program includes in-person and Web-based seminars, personalized telephone counseling, face-to-face meetings, and a benefits-website. Although only just initiated with plan enrollment for 2006, ICI's program has already proven successful. Tracking of employee behavior revealed that the majority of ICI employees believe they have a better understanding of the tools and resources available to them, the reasons for changes to the plans, the factors they need to consider to choose the right plan, and how the plans work.

Baptist Health's Wellness Advantage is a comprehensive program of health related employee services designed to achieve the organization's mission of having "the healthiest workforce in America." To that end, the program includes services such as: employee fitness centers at its five hospital locations; health resource centers providing free health education programs delivered by physician experts; exercise classes, walking clubs, and weight control programs; health risk assessments for cardiovascular disease and diabetes with free counseling with a registered nurse; and smoking cessation and Weight Watchers reimbursement programs.

The Wellness Advantage program is having a positive impact throughout the organization. For example, more than half of its 11,000 employees have joined the onsite fitness centers and thousands of others have participated in walk-a-thons and community runs. A recent survey of employees revealed that a majority of them have been motivated to make healthier choices through one of the programs offered by Wellness Advantage.

"Leading employers in the U.S. remain committed to helping their employees with health benefits coverage and programs to improve their health and the health of their families. These employers know that one of the most important ways to control costs is to help employees and their families get and stay healthy," said Helen Darling, President of the National Business Group on Health.

About the President's Awards

The Business Group annually awards individuals, organizations, or programs that encourage the efficient use of health care resources in addition to improving quality and affordability; encourage excellent practices that are started by or involve large employers, or have a proven track record of increasing value in health care through superior purchasing practices or have developed approaches, methodologies and tools that enable outstanding health benefit management practices.

About the National Business Group on Health

The National Business Group on Health, representing 242 mostly large employers, is the nation's only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to finding innovative and forward-thinking solutions to large employers' most important health care and related benefits issues. The Business Group identifies and shares best practices in health benefits, disability, health and productivity, related paid time off and work/life balance issues. Business Group members provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information about the Business Group, visit www.businessgrouphealth.org

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