As Haywood Regional undertakes the challenge of getting county employees in shape as part of a new wellness initiative, this is the team on the front line who will make it happen.
At the helm is Haywood Regional CEO Rod Harkleroad, who is the liaison with the county and will report bimonthly on the progress.
The wellness program is something the hospital is doing for its own employees, Harkleroad said.
“We’re shifting to a model within LifePoint where we are collecting data on employees as part of the disease management process,” he said. “We’re not forcing anyone to be part of it, but we are saying, ‘here’s what’s going on with you.’”
With both the county and the hospital being among the top employers in the county, it is a good opportunity to show whether a comprehensive wellness program can pay off for all parties.
The program is called Fit Together, and here is the hospital team that will be on the front lines.
As the nurse navigator for the Haywood Regional Fit Together team, Jamie Cavacos will be the key point person who will reach out to each employee on the Haywood County self-insured healthcare plan.
In addition to making contact with each plan holder at least quarterly, Cavacos will prepare a regular blog or newsletter, help individuals find their way through the healthcare system and consult with them after lab work comes back.
“My goal is to allow them to become a healthier person where they feel comfortable achieving goals,” she said.
As the director of Haywood Regional’s Health and Fitness Center, Scotty Setser will be overseeing the fitness component of the county’s wellness initiative the hospital team is implementing.
Through an in-body fitness test, county employees will be able to track their progress as they take advantage of the many options available at the center.
Personal trainers and others working with county employees will help them tailor a program to fit their needs.
“When we did the EMS training, we rode around with the group, saw where they were eating, how they were lifting, and started training on lifting movements,” Setser said. “It really paid off.
The point person at Haywood Regional Medical Center when it comes to eating is Lauren Teague, business process improvement manager at the hospital, who is also a dietician.
Her efforts will be especially focused on those with chronic diseases and help individuals understand the relationship between food and their health condition.
Considering the county attributes a significant portion of its 37 percent health care expenditure increase to diseases such as diabetes and related illnesses, there will be no shortage of individuals on the county health plan who could reach out for dietary counseling.
As the director of urgent care and occupational health at Haywood Regional, Grace Yearick became a part of the Fit Together team to oversee the clinical aspect of the program — the part where county employees are offered annual lab assessments, blood pressure checks and biometrics.
The hospital’s mission is making communities healthier, Yearick said.
“Healthier employees are more productive,” she said. “This program can help with retention. When part of the benefit package is a chance to go to the fitness center, get blood work, and have a consulting service, it can reduce employer costs.”