Valley wellness programs boost employee health, lower costs

Valley wellness programs boost employee health, lower costs

Friday, January 19, 2018   |   Category: Media Coverage


Sonora Quest Laboratories, which services hospitals, physicians and managed care organizations throughout Arizona, also offers wellness programs to its 2,600 employees. The company, a joint venture between Banner Health and Quest Diagnostics, participates in Banner’s health benefits, including its wellness program.

Lorraine Field, Sonora Quest’s chief people officer, says this relationship provides her company a lot of leverage, due to the size of Banner, which has around 41,000 employees.

“They offer a lot of wellness programs, the type of which are typical at big companies,” Field said. “If you do your biometrics every year, which are tracked, you get a contribution to your health savings account, which is a benefit offered through the health plan here. You get a discount, for example, if you’re a non-smoker. So, they really try to emphasize people staying healthy and participating in healthy things.”

Throughout the year, various programs that encourage activities such as walking and adequate water consumption are available. The programs are run by Banner Health coaches, who offer prizes to participating employees.

Most importantly, the coaches reach out and offer help to employees who have chronic illnesses. Sonora Quest also offers discounts for weight-loss programs, such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.

Though Field says she can’t speak directly to the wellness programs' ROI because they are administered by Banner Health, her sense is that insurance claims are going down due to these programs.

“Typically, you see that trend when companies put an emphasis on wellness,” Field said. “You see a return in the form of reduced claims.”

Sonora Quest tracks absenteeism, and the company's levels are pretty good although Field says she can’t directly correlate that with the wellness program. However, she notes that employee engagement in the program is high, which is surely a net positive.

“I think that providing opportunities for employees to be healthy and stay healthy is important to a workplace culture,” Field said.

Read full article