The Business Coordinator for Worksite Wellness Development at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services talks about motivating people to better health.
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How large of a role should the government play in improving healthcare? Theresa Lovely: Well we feel in Kentucky, it's a very important role especially in connecting government with employers and other agencies like we have with chamber of commerce to work together with organizations to impact the health. How can employers motivate employees to improve their health? Theresa Lovely: I have done a lot of work with incentives in a private cooperation so you can get created with those from small items to large ones. Financial works best. We respond this to money of about at least $250 they found to do major changes. So in Kentucky with the Governor's Office of Wellness we started with simple incentives; T-shirts and the water bottles and things like that with the state wide walking program and work with companies with really large incentives also. So there are all types of incentives that work. What are you hoping to learn from this congress? Theresa Lovely: Well, I have some background in the consumer-driven health plans, we were -- the company I was with was an earlier adapter of the programs in 2003 and so when we did our research in 2002 and implemented the program, if you did a search on the internet you found almost nothing and now look we're here with the conference and all of these folks that's fascinating to me to see where it's gone. The company I was with was very successful in reducing their healthcare cost about 19% of the first year. What I was most excited about as the Wellness director for that company was we improved health. So we show that you can reduce cost and improve health with the consumer directed health fund. So that was very exciting for us and showed the potential I think for companies. Could we have held a congress like this five years ago? Theresa Lovely: I wish it had a band, because we spend a year as an organization I was on a task force of seven people; two financial analyst, three HR, a directors, an IS person and I was the Wellness director so we spent a year to get to the consumer driven health fund model and implement it in 2003.So I would love to -- have gone to the conference like this. What does the future hold? Theresa Lovely: I think the companies have to realize that they have to invest in health at this point, that it's the focus on health plans and health plan designs what we have seen in the past. But to either get addressed the health we think that, that will take care of healthcare cost and we've learned so much, especially in the last 10 years of what works and what doesn't and so we know we can lead them in the right direction, that's what a lot of my work is in Kentucky to lead companies to the programs that they work for them. So we can help them now where they don't have to do like we did, where you are just trial-and-error and you are not sure what you are doing will work. We know more about what will work and we are finding ways to get those resources, and that information to them. So there is not a reason that a company can't have an employee wellness program at this point. We have been focusing on smaller companies, we used to do that, it was the larger and medium size and now we found ways that we know we can have companies of less than 50. So I believe that every company regardless of size, regardless of type can have an effective wellness program.